University of Washington Hires Entrepreneur to Run Tech Transfer

6/24/08Follow @xconomy

The University of Washington has hired someone with business chops to run the office that transfers university inventions into the business world.

Linden Rhoads, a serial entrepreneur at Seattle-based technology companies, will take over as Vice Provost for Technology Transfer on August 14, the university said in a statement. Rhoads has been involved in a number of successful startup companies, including ChiliSoft, SingingFish.com, and AdRelevance, according to a UW statement.

Rhoads, 41, who replaces Jim Severson, has an undergraduate degree in geophysics from Smith College and a law degree from the UW. The university points out in its statement that it has helped create more than 235 companies since 1982, and that it collected $38 million for the university through intellectual property licenses in 2007. Yet the business community has long complained about how difficult the office is to work with, and how it doesn’t spawn nearly the number of startups of MIT or Stanford. Even so, the early reviews from business people we talked to about Rhoads are optimistic.

“I have known Linden for many years and have worked on companies with her,” said Robert Nelsen, managing director of Arch Venture Partners in Seattle, and an Xconomist. “She totally gets the interface between basic research and startups. If Linden can’t make this program one of the top programs in the nation, no one can.”

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