Office of Partnerships and Innovation

 

The first quarter of 2019 was busy for the OPI!

Winter is now behind us but we are pleased to report on the OPI’s activities during the Jan-Feb-March (JFM) period.

If you’ve missed any of our past blogs, you can catch up here:

Spotlights:

The conclusion of CAIP

Since July 2014, Queen’s Office of Partnerships and Innovation (OPI) has been collaborating with Invest Ottawa, L-Spark Corp., and local partners Launch Lab, the Southeastern Ontario Angel Network (SOAN) and the Queen’s Business Law Clinic, to strengthen the regional innovation ecosystem and to accelerate the growth of high-potential entrepreneurs, startups, and SMEs in Eastern Ontario. OPI’s InnovationXL programs and services, which were partially funded by the NRC-IRAP under the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), officially concluded on March 31, 2019. Under the CAIP mandate, OPI and our local partners engaged with more than 550 companies, providing 18,000 hours of support through various incubation and acceleration programs. Approximately 25% of these companies attracted funding or raised investment ($225M collectively) and created or retained 800+ jobs. OPI has been pursuing new funding opportunities and expects to launch updated programs and services, to help companies effectively launch, grow, and scale, in summer 2019.

Happenings in and around the OPI during the first quarter of 2019...

  • On March 20, 2019, OPI attended L-SPARK's SaaS (Software as a Service) Showcase in Ottawa. The SaaS Showcase is a celebration of Eastern Ontario region startups and an opportunity to connect face-to-face with members of the tech community. The SaaS Showcase is a graduation event for the L-SPARK Accelerator cohort and also brings together the tech and startup ecosystem from the Ottawa region to celebrate SaaS-related successes. Mero Technologies, a startup incubating at Innovation Park and a graduate of OPI’s GrindSpaceXL accelerator program, was selected by L-Spark to pitch at the event.
    • Mero Technologies  provides powerful analytics designed for property managers, by coupling its smart sensing technology with existing equipment. Sensors monitor facility supplies, traffic, and waste, telling property managers what’s needed where, sooner. Mero Technologies is a graduate of several Queen's programs including the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre (2016), OPI's DiscoverXL (spring 2017) and GrindSpaceXL (fall 2017). The founders are both Queen's students - Nathan Mah graduated from the Smith School of Business Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship in 2017 and Cole MacDonald graduated from the electrical engineering program in 2018.
    • Rillea Technologies, another graduate of OPI’s accelerator program and a company that has received services from OPI and partners since 2016, presented their chemical management app at a booth at the showcase. Rillea Technologies uses software to help organizations develop a sound chemicals management system easily, quickly and cost effectively.
Nathan Mah of Mero Technologies pitching during the SaaS Showcase in March.
  • The Research Partnerships Unit (RPU):
    • On January 16th, the RPU partnered with URS and the library to deliver a Resources for Research workshop titled, “Building Your Research Engagement and Impact Profile”. The RPU shared strategies for researchers to effectively engage with potential partners and existing stakeholders to fully demonstrate the value of their research.
    • Throughout the JFM quarter, the RPU helped to advance discussions and-or collaborations with several organizations (including BMO, BidSettle, Bioenterprise, Bombardier Transportation, Distributed Compute Labs, Feihe, Frulact, IBM, IPG Photonics, KPM, Novelis, Roche, Tecta-PDS, and Zenyatta, among others), and consortia (including AGEWELL, the BioAnalyics Consortium, CEMI, CPHIN, CUTRIC, ENCQOR, NGEN, and the OAC, to name a few).
  • The Research Contracts Unit (RCU) received and commenced review of 259 new files and/or agreements in the JFM period. During this same timeframe, the RCU team finalized negotiations, and signed or closed 246 files and/or agreements on behalf of the research enterprise and community at Queen’s.
    • On February 13th, the RCU delivered a workshop for the Resources for Research at Queen’s series titled, “Laying the Groundwork for a Successful Research Agreement”. This workshop focused on how researchers can facilitate a smooth path to signing of research contracts.
    • In response to increasing demand for services from the RCU, increasing complexity of research contracts, and attrition of RCU team members, the OPI developed a strategy and proposed recommendations to increase the capacity of the RCU in 2019-20. For more information, please see staffing updates below.
  • The Technology Transfer Unit (TTU) received 35 disclosures from May 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. Our office filed approximately 64 separate patent applications from May 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.
    • Members of the TTU team were pleased to participate in the DDQIC Ignition Week event during the week of January 14th. In particular, a session was held in support of the Foundry Program which matches Queen’s technologies with entrepreneurs under the terms of an Express License. Held at the recently opened Mitchell Hall, several technologies were pitched to a group of students and community members:  Dr. Phillip Jessop presented an overview on a novel ‘Switchable Solvent’ technology and an OPI team member presented an overview on a ‘Rechargeable Backpack’ and a ‘Swim Power Meter’ – each technology is either patented or patent pending.
  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystem Unit (RIEU) incubated 41 companies during the JFM quarter and delivered the final DiscoverXL program, designed for very early stage ventures looking to validate a business concept. Eight companies participated, including ARtefactVR, Cold Plasma Group, Safeglo, Changent.io, Nubbl, Bench.dog, Tika Therapeutics, and Quotezine. Ventures participated in interactive sessions, on March 5th and 26th at Innovation Park, where they learned about defining and discovering customers, developing a value proposition, finding or designing a product prototype, and estimating the market opportunity.
    • In addition to the delivery of DiscoverXL and OPI’s participation in the SaaS Showcase, the following are samples of events organized by the RIEU for its clients at Innovation Park to start off 2019:
      • Sales coach Les Magyar visited on February 8th for one-to-one sales coaching with four incubating ventures. He returned on February 22nd to present “Kick Starting your Sales Engine”. The goal of this workshop was to have participants leave feeling ready to make their initial sales or to restart their sales engine. One-on-one sales coaching sessions were offered following the workshop as well as on March 8th and March 22nd.
      • Mark Asfar from Momentum Law visited Innovation Park to present “Financing 101: ‘An introduction to Financing Mechanisms and Best Practices.” Following the workshop, Mark also provided 1:1 meeting times with those companies interested in learning more about laws as they apply to business dealings.
      • On March 5th, Sarah Muma, a former GrindSpaceXL participant, visited OPI from Microsoft and presented a Lunch and Learn session, “Innovation & Entrepreneurship from a Microsoft Perspective, Microsoft for Startups Programming and an Introduction to Microsoft Azure Cloud Services.”
      • On March 7th, serial entrepreneur Julia Krolik from Pixels and Plans shared her journey to becoming an entrepreneur with several of our entrepreneurs and staff in a casual coffeehouse style workshop setting. Julia started Art the Science, graduated from the GrindSpaceXL program with her second company Theory Jar, and is currently an incubating client at Innovation Park with her third company, Pixels and Plans.
      • On March 21st, Website Design Kingston presented “Bringing Awareness on the Cheap” which focused on what CMS platforms to use, how to develop strong content, how to use SM as a business, and the Google ecosystem.
      • RBC presented “Banking 101” which focused on banking relationships and financing needs for early-stage OPI and Launch Lab startups on March 28th.

    Staffing Updates

    The start of 2019 saw many changes within the units of the Office of Partnerships and Innovation.

    The OPI welcomed Gary Larsen

    Gary Larsen joined the RCU on January 14th as a Research Contracts Coordinator, replacing Crystal McCracken who joined the Research Ethics team in October. Gary has a diverse background in drafting and negotiating contracts from his work as a Program Manager at the Wikwemikong Development Commission on Manitoulin Island and, more recently, as a Project Coordinator at the KEYS Job Centre in Kingston. Please join us in welcoming Gary to the OPI team.

    David Bruce said farewell to the OPI

    David Bruce, the Associate Director, Research Contracts & Legal Counsel, departed April 15th to pursue a Senior Legal Counsel role within the Office of the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel. David was with Research Services and the Office of Partnerships and Innovation for 15 years. During his career at Queen’s, David provided critical leadership in negotiating complex research agreements, on behalf of the university and researchers from across all faculties at Queen’s, and in training members new to the RCU. David has also provided valuable input to the development of numerous research-related policies. Please join us in thanking David for his many significant contributions to supporting research at Queen’s.

    Helen Lee has moved away

    Helen Lee celebrated her last day with the RCU on March 15th. Helen has returned to Toronto, and will be re-establishing her career there, while supporting her partner’s career move. We enjoyed having Helen’s legal expertise and will miss her cheerful collegiality.

    David Hyndman has joined one of the startups in our ecosystem!

    We greatly enjoyed working with David during the last seven years. In his role as Assistant Director, Industry Partnerships, and on behalf of researchers and students, David championed or supported the building of many research and innovation collaborations with industry and various not-for-profit organizations. David also played a key role in delivering on OPI’s CAIP mandate, working with many partners, entrepreneurs, startups, and small to medium enterprises in eastern Ontario. David left Queen’s to join FireRein, a Napanee-based startup company that the OPI has provided support to over the last several years.

    Kate Lillicrap has joined the OPI team

    On March 7, Kate Lillicrap started with OPI, in a casual role for four months, to provide continuity of support for some of the projects which David Hyndman had been leading or supporting. Kate recently finished her Executive MBA at Queen’s (2019 Candidate), and has experience with policy development, stakeholder engagement, fundraising and grant-writing. Please join us in welcoming Kate to OPI!

    Thanks for reading!

    If you have a specific question about any of the information above or want a specific topic addressed in a future post, please contact Amanda Gilbert, Communications Coordinator at amanda.gilbert@queensu.ca.

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