University co-founded TechAccel wins award for its innovative approach to food solutions
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015
MANHATTAN — A research and development company co-founded by Kansas State University is being recognized as one of the most promising in the nation.
Technology Acceleration Partners, or TechAccel LLC, is a global food solutions company co-founded by Kansas State University in partnership with Michael Helmstetter and significant Kansas City investors. It recently won the 2015 Excellence in TBED award as America's Most Promising Technology Based Economic Development Initiative from the State Science and Technology Institute, a national organization focused on enhancing state-level technology-based economic development for the national good.
According to the award's description, it recognizes organizations that address a specific need in a community or region identified as an obstacle to growth with an innovative approach in design or implementation. TechAccel, is helping bridge a gap that exists for university-developed technologies.
TechAccel specializes in accelerating new technologies through partnerships with companies that develop consumer products. It partners with global companies to identify market needs and the research and development needed to effectively address those needs. Once a partnership is formed, TechAccel co-funds and manages the large, initial financial investment for further research and development of a technology that the partnering company believes necessary to reduce financial overhead and bring the technology to market. The TechAccel strategy helps large companies broaden their research and development capacity, small companies to distribute internationally, and universities and research institutions to more easily bring new inventions into a commercial market.
TechAccel has a specific interest in advancing discoveries related to food production and quality as well as animal health. The Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization — an organization that works with the public and private sector to license technologies — along with private management and investment created TechAccel to help advance promising research focused on feeding the world's projected 9.6 billion people by 2050.
"Kansas State University is thrilled to be part of such a dynamic and exciting company as TechAccel," said Kirk Schulz, Kansas State University president and a member of TechAccel's board of directors. "This is a great illustration of how powerful university-business partnerships can be in addressing the global food system needs for transformational innovation as well as turning research and talent at the university into solutions that help advance Kansas State University forward to becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025."
Judges scored award applicants on innovative thinking and a well-defined action plan. The scoring was heavily weighted on inventiveness and transferability of the ideas and products. TechAccel was noted for developing a model that more easily overcomes the technology advancement gap that has long plagued university-developed technologies.
"TechAccel provides a highly promising, innovative model that helps identify global market needs and transfer transformative yet high-risk technologies that address those needs into the marketplace by partnering with global companies," said Dan Berglund, State Science and Technology Institute president and CEO. "TechAccel's unique combination of private management and co-investment provides a potential archetype for reducing the risk of university-developed technologies to the point that industry partners are interested in moving them from technical feasibility to commercial viability."
In total, four national organizations received 2015 Excellence in TBED awards.
The State Science and Technology Institute is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving initiatives that support prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. The institute began in 1996 as a service to help build technology-based economies. The board of directors is chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who was the inaugural secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.