In a bid to spur more startups out of the University of Southern California, the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation said Wednesday that it has awarded $498,700 to six research projects. The USC Stevens Institute--which was founded with significant funding from Mark Stevens, the venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital who is a USC alum--said the six projects were selected from 31 proposals, which were submitted in the summer of 2011. The Institute had 50 members of the Los Angeles business and academic community choose nine finalists, of which the six have moved on to the next stage of development.
Projects included in the awards included a project involving route planing for smart phones; a robotic system for rapid construction of homes using 3-D CAD designs; a tissue analysis system for colorectal cancer diagnostics; decision support software for drug dosing; a system for repairing cleft palate; and a high-frequency, high-resolution ultrasound system for ophthalmic imaging.
USC's effort, the Ideas Empowered Program, is funded by James C. Blair, General Partner at Domain Associates; Ken Klein, USC Trustee and President of Wind River; David Lane, General Partner at ONSET Ventures; Andy Rappaport from the Rappaport Family Foundation and a General Partner at August Capital; and Mark Stevens, USC Trustee and General Partner at Sequoia Capital. USC Stevens said that so far, two of last year's program participants have become startups: Cred.fm, a music-based social networking game, and Fluid Synchrony, a developer of micro-implantable pumps for drug delivery.