Top 10 Lessons in Starting Companies and Commercializing Technologies, from UW Panel

8/3/09

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enthusiasm about the commercialization process and be able to communicate about the technology at different levels of sophistication.

5. They also need to be willing to put their own money into it, and be willing to fight for success, Ratner said. “You need persistence and passion—then you can do it.”

4. When you have a technology and are taken out to a meal by a money person to discuss it, order good food, Mourad advised. Business people will respect you for it.

3. Biofuels will be important in the future, but not for a few more generations of technological progress, Canin said. Desalination of water, which is prohibitively expensive in energy right now, will also be a good bet for investment.

2. In biomedicine, Ratner and Mourad agreed that improved diagnostics, which can lower health care costs by finding problems earlier, is something to keep an eye on—much more so than extravagant bioengineering research programs.

1. Ultimately, a lot of success comes from just the right mixture of ideas, people, and timing. Mourad pointed out that Napoleon once said he’d rather have his generals be lucky than good, and that really applies to startups as well. “There’s so much luck in everything we do that it’s frightening,” he said.

Eric Hal Schwartz was an intern in Xconomy's Seattle office. Follow @

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