Lab to Market Commercialization of Climate Technologies

Join us for a fireside chat about the ins and out of commercializing lab technologies in the fight against climate change. We’re joined by Megan Holcomb, COO at Labstart. We’re diving into the important role lab technology can play in addressing climate change, the opportunity this current moment in time presents, and how people can engage in the process.

This will be an incredible opportunity for those interested in developing solutions in the climate space, entrepreneurs looking to augment their technology profile or anyone interested in the dynamics of commercialization and go-to-market strategies for lab technology.

In This 1-Hour Session, We Covered:

  • How to work with and engage with national labs
  • The opportunities presented by the national lab infrastructure
  • How LabStart engages with this ecosystem
  • Pathways to commercialize lab technology

About the Speakers

Sedale Turbovsky, CEO & Co-Founder, OpenGrants

Sedale Turbovsky is the CEO and co-founder of OpenGrants, a venture-backed startup focused on building modern infrastructure for funding. He has been an entrepreneur since childhood. After honing his leadership skills as an outdoor guide in his younger years, he started his professional career as an independent consultant focused on delivering data products and digital strategies to enterprise clients in South America.

Megan Holcomb, COO, Labstart

Megan Holcomb is the COO at Labstart. She is a climate scientist and collaboration architect with 13 years in federal and state agencies. She is an expert in high-conflict consensus building, disaster planning, and community-led alliances.

LabStart is building accessible pathways for underrepresented entrepreneurs to bring climate technologies from lab-to-market. A trove of valuable, scalable climate technologies continues to sit dormant – untapped and hidden behind research institution walls. To unlock these ready-innovations in a way that generates equitable market opportunities for underserved communities, LabStart matches market-ready tech with talented entrepreneurs selected from the front lines of climate change.

LabStart is a team of entrepreneurs, national lab researchers, commercialization consultants, investors, and programmatic experts. They fund full-time entrepreneur-minded fellows to discover, build, and launch startups based on technologies developed in premier research laboratories.

Read the Transcription

Please note, this transcription is automatically generated and may contain some spelling and contextual errors.

Sedale Turbovsky: Welcome everybody. I’m the CEO and co founder of Open Grants. And we are going to get started in just a minute. We’re going to let folks come through the Come through the virtual doors, so to speak, and get all spun up. But yeah, once again, my name is Sedale Turbovsky.

I am the CEO and co founder of open grants and just super excited to have you all here. We’re going to be discussing lab to market commercialization of climate technologies. For those of you who have not attended our webinars before, or just as a reminder. This will be recorded. It will be published over to over to YouTube and on our blog.

And it will be available afterwards. We’ll send a follow up email with links to the recording, as well as any good and useful links that come up during our conversation today. So we are super excited to be here with Megan Holcomb, who is the COO and head of technology at lab start and I’m going to let Megan introduce herself and then we’ll get into our discussion today.

Megan Holcomb: Thanks for this opportunity to chat with you and your open grants world here. So I’m Megan and I am a part of the small and mighty lab start team. Lab start is a nonprofit that really came together and was built to help streamline the commercialization of climate technologies. So we’ve emerged from a few pilot cohorts and we’re now launching our full program in 2024 with a year long cohort, but really our team.

Set out to reimagine the lab to market commercialization process in a way that opens accessibility. Inclusion really makes it more friendly for entrepreneurs to engage with this process and helps accelerate innovations out from our research institutions, labs national labs, universities or otherwise.

And. I’m happy to go into a little bit of my background. I think it’s worth as far as framing this conversation I do not actually consider myself an expert in the field of tech transfer or commercialization but I came into this realm I Thank you. Have spent a lot of time in high conflict and high risk negotiations and really building consensus and collaboration and institutions where it didn’t exist before.

So this has been a really fun project to engage really up until now in my career, most of my work has been in the context of trans boundary topics where there’s You know, either entire states or countries that are reluctant to admit or are forced to better manage resources and really refine their institutional processes.

So there’s, we’re going to get into the fun nitty gritty of all the institutional framework around tech transfer, but it’s very translatable and I’m comfortable in these kind of Overly regulated spaces. And so that’s where I’m coming from. My two team members are also on the call here deep and Troy and they may engage in the Q and a session of, questions pop up that they’re best equipped for.

So yeah, where do you want to start today? Awesome.

Sedale Turbovsky: Thank you so much. Yeah, I will start just with a note for all of our wonderful participants that we do have chat quite locked down for everyone’s safety and convenience. So if you do have questions, please just use the Q and a we will be answering and doing a Q and a session towards the end of our discussion.

But feel free to drop those in at any time. As mentioned, there’s some great team members on the call as well, who can answer some of those ahead of time. So if you have any burning questions, Just dump them in the Q and a and then we will get to them or the right person and the appropriate person will address them.

You said a few things that I think are really interesting and funny. 1 of oh, you have all this experience in these high conflict spaces and I think that’s a funny way to characterize tech transfer and accurate. So let’s talk a little bit about just like top of top line, like what is tech transfer?

And what are these national labs that you speak of? Because I know that I was a full graduated didn’t graduate but dropped out of college left the whole like academia ecosystem. And I had never heard of any national labs until I started doing work in the climate space as a consultant. So can you just give like a quick rundown of what’s the, what is this lab infrastructure that you speak of, and then maybe a little bit on tech transfer itself.

Megan Holcomb: So there, the US has a whole suite of national laboratories that. Really operate the R and D budget for the feds and throughout the country. There are 17 different national labs that the Department of Energy operates which focus on a huge array of. Basic science and engineering questions.

And these labs have spurred innovation and particular like specific technology developments for over 70 years. So the technology transfer process is a whole, like A whole really encompasses a lot, but it’s really the discoveries that are born or unearthed in these institutions Have a chance because it’s public Dollars, it’s public investment.

It is open research to really leave the lab Leave the research world and then make impacts in the marketplace but that process of moving from Ideation to lab, proof of concept, all of that into the marketplace is not quite fluid after all this time, and um, and honestly the general response that I’ve gotten from colleagues as I’ve started to engage with this process are deep sighs, a bit of like cynical jaded laughter, a lot of tongue in cheek like good luck statements.

So for whatever weird reason I seem to, that seems to fuel me to dig a bit deeper. And There’s two terms I’ll just like quickly define. I think it would be helpful for framing the conversation. But moving research from lab to market is all nested like under this process of technology transfer agreements and technology commercialization and technology transfer are related concepts, but they refer to different stages.

In the cycle of turning research into innovation into product that the market could actually engage with. So the primary objective of tech transfer is to move this laboratory or research innovation into the commercial sector where it can be then further refined and that happens through a transfer of knowledge, intellectual property it can happen through cooperative R and D agreements and it involves, the cooperation of not just a business person and the researcher, but also agency officials called tech transfer officials and other people associated with the lab.

The, so technology commercialization is a different part of the process that is. Longer, probably longer, hopefully than the tech transfer process to actually create value out of the technology by bringing it to the marketplace. And that involves more of creating the new business licensing agreements, partnerships and really anything related to product development, market analysis, business planning, actually building value out of that thing.

So in summary, tech transfer is really a crucial initiation step. Before commercial before the full commercialization pathway and why, like where we’re engaging where lab starts engaging in this process is. Is that actually many stages? So we can probably

Sedale Turbovsky: go ahead. I think one thing to talk about here real quickly is so there’s this tech transfer process that is fraught.

Megan Holcomb: Let’s just say, yeah, we can spend a whole conversation on problems. Yes.

Sedale Turbovsky: And I as a consultant, I played a lot in that space as well. And I think one thing that would be really interesting or compelling for folks listening, hopefully is that there’s something. Like, all so there’s this very fraught, awful process.

Maybe not so awful. Hopefully we’ll talk about that. But like, why would you want to do it? Like, why wouldn’t you just invent your own thing or do your own thing? And I do think, one of the things that I got really psyched about when we were building OpenGrants is we actually started by scraping like all the data that we could find.

And we ended up with this big repository of technology transfer licenses. Which was super interesting to look at because I think a lot of people maybe don’t know or don’t appreciate in the vein of climate or what have you, like any like technological vein, the U. S.

government and the federal government has all these incredible bits and pieces of things that you could use to solve really complex problems. And so if you can set apart, let’s just say it was easy to get them. tHat’d be really neat, right? I think, as an entrepreneur, if you haven’t yet, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, because it is something I wanted to talk about, like, how can entrepreneurs start to get excited about this space?

Is there a place they can go look to look at these licenses? Is this something that LabStart can help them with? Can we talk a little bit about just like that part of the process? Because we’re going to get into the rest of it, but I’d love to help people understand cause I got super excited.

I was looking at this. I was like, Oh man, like you could, I don’t know. There’s these nanotube technologies for better batteries. And there’s like all this stuff for like flight. And there’s so much stuff in these labs.

Megan Holcomb: No, I’m glad you brought that up. I’m curious. I love that you got excited about digging through all of those.

I’m going to share a link that I had ready. That’s a really good resource after this to better understand like what is available to search for. But really, it was like July 2018 that the Department of Energy launched something called Lab Partnering Services, which was Like very overdue, but radical solution.

That was essentially a platform to search every patent. Every specialist in a particular field to even begin to see what are the labs working on? So all of, all of the, billions of dollars that are poured into R and D through the lab national lab vehicle, that, that is, that is an investment in the country’s innovation.

And so all of that, all of those findings, all of that research is available. And there’s a up until this, the search engine it was really fragmented as how anyone could actually follow what lab is working on what topics or what the cutting edge research early is or who works there.

And you really had to be in a narrow field and track particular. Researchers to follow the like edge of innovation and so now that there’s this incredible resource that any individual if you have a, super nerdy interest in a particular I don’t know, packaging thing or market, whatever it is that market that you’re interested in related to climate, you can go and search.

Through all of these different tags and keywords, innovations that have been patented and are available for license through this service and, I’d recommend there’s also, it’s not just the patents, it’s the the scientists and the labs that you can contact through this page.

So this is a really great place for, to start when people have questions. Either a passion and idea that they’re working on to go search what patents might be available that You can engage in the licensing process to build your business around and build your entire a potential product around these things.

So it ranges from, very small, minor changes to a chemical process to actual. Like tangible products, but it’s a really good place to start to not just spark your own imagination, but also see what’s out there that might be a lot more than an incremental shift in the market, but might be a big impact if someone just finds it and gets excited about it and wants to.

Build a whole business around it.

Sedale Turbovsky: Love that. Awesome. So I think one of the questions that a lot of founders and innovators will probably have is is there any sort of standardization for these like deals and what do they typically look like? Do you end up. And are you going to own the whole thing?

You end up paying a bunch of money. I would love to talk through that first and then maybe get into some of just like the challenges with making that happen, but removing ourselves from the challenges and some of the ways that you could solve them what do these typically look like? And do you have any like favorite examples of companies that have successfully, done some lab to market commercialization?

Megan Holcomb: Yeah, this, this is a, this whole topic is somewhere that I am excited to dig into more. So as far as a bunch of examples, I don’t have anything like top of mind. We can talk about entrepreneurs that we’ve assisted through this process, but it’s, what we’ve found and part of the reason that Lobstart came to be was a realization by working within the DOE commercialization process.

There’s not a consistent way to move through the licensing process from lab to lab. So it is different for each lab in a way that’s. There’s not a, our team talks about like creating a playbook for people to be able to engage that playbook might look different from one lab to another.

And over time, if we, really engage in, these institutions and policymaking, we might be able to streamline like you’re working on with open grants streamline how that all looks to the marketplace. But right now it’s quite different. And there are a You know, the general process of licensing, it’s really, you find a patent the lab discovers something new, creates a patent.

that patent’s identified by someone who has interest in it whether that’s a large company or an individual there’s a negotiation that happens with the technology transfer officers to come to an agreement on how that patent can be used for how long, for how much, and There’s, a lot of the I would say fractured, fracturing or stunted processes that that folks might find when they engage with this is because For a long time, it was so much easier for large companies to engage in this process.

They have a lot more money. They can just say, here’s a million dollars. Let me play with your invention and yeah, we’ll figure it out. And that’s very appealing to the labs. There’s not a ton of incentive built into the process for these tech transfer offices to, to market these patents to really engage.

It’s once it gets to patent, there’s essentially a buildup, this whole library that’s been built up that there’s not a ton of internal incentive in these institutions to move it beyond. So it was really up for grabs on what companies had enough, people resources to even sit there and find them.

And so what lab starts working on doing is creating this protected, essentially a full year paid fellowship to engage in this process and search and find. Technologies that are the market needs right now, the climate innovations that could exist and actually support an individual with enough space and resources to, to see if there’s commercialization potential there, if that makes sense.

So it’s it’s not a immediate aha moment that you see a patent and you know how it’s going to fit in the marketplace. That takes a lot of exploration and for individuals, especially underserved individuals to engage in that process they need the time and the finances to do.

Sedale Turbovsky: Awesome. Now, thank you so much for that rundown. I think So there’s obviously some some misaligned incentives and now we have this, culture where large corporations are just not doing the R and D the way they used to, they’re going and buying startups. They’re just not doing that anymore.

And so there’s this vast unused. Resource of patents and lab tech that’s just not being, leveraged to its potential. What yeah, what are y’all doing about that? I’d love to I think maybe we’ve so we’ve talked about why it’s exciting. And we’ve talked about what those deals might look like, which is

Megan Holcomb: Depends on who you talk to.

Yeah. Yeah.

Sedale Turbovsky: And so finally, like, all right, so I’m a founder, like general what are your general tips for founders and folks who are trying to break into this space? What should you look for? Maybe you’re like. Top three or four like points of like, how do you do this?

Megan Holcomb: Absolutely. And a lot of these tips and tricks are, this is what we’re trying to build into the LabStart model to really experiment and see, do these work.

But I think first and foremost, It’s the same. I just had this conversation on a funding panel this week. It’s it’s not that different from engaging with private capital. You’re working with public agency. It’s about relationship development. You find something of interest and as much as possible engage with.

The technology transfer officers, the PEI, the researcher to begin to develop a relationship and express your interest in collaborating to bring this invention into really into life. And that starting that process as early as possible gives more runway to build, the basic human elements of trust and open communication, it’s.

It’s something that we, identify is a lot more helpful to build that early on, show that you have interest in having that scientist, even a part of your team from the very beginning as well as having external partners commercialization, people who are actually in the industry, subject matter experts getting people’s feedback way before you invest a lot of time around building a company around this thing that you think you know where it fits.

Because, the number one advocate for any of these technologies is most likely going to be the scientist who invented it. The person who has poured their life, it’s like their idea baby. And. Talk to some people in the lab tech transfer space that really emphasize like how much of a process it is for a scientist to let go of that idea and hand it off to someone.

And they don’t, they’re not, like I said, it’s not super incentivized to do that. And. They, there’s a lot of scientists that I, over time have had, they felt burned by this experience of handing over their invention to some big corporation that Does whatever with it, that they’re feel good, want this thing to help the world in some way and it’s taken and they have no control over it.

So I would say number one is develop the relationships, bring people into your ideation process that are directly impacted, by this. So building a team beyond your. You’re who’s going to help me build this thing. Folks like public, private capital connections that would have an interest in this particular vertical also there’s, yeah there’s an, of course, there’s an advantage to working in a team and the idea of doing this in a cohort, being able to bounce ideas off of each other is something that lab starts really excited to, to move towards a more refined cohort because there’s going to be, Yeah.

moments where you realize actually this IP, this technology is not going to work in the market right now. And so what else is there? So having that explore fail fast mentality and not be really attached to one patent when you’re actually trying to solve a problem, find what patents or combination of patents actually fit best.

Sedale Turbovsky: I love that. Yeah, I think, pivoting around these and exploring the actual application of these processes is huge. And there is such a vast library, as we’ve mentioned, of like tools effectively technologies that are just sitting on the shelf and deeply underutilized. So let’s talk about I’d love to hear a little bit more about the lab start program and how you are helping people, work with this infrastructure that can be at times fraught and full of conflict.

Megan Holcomb: And it doesn’t have to be right, like part of this. So part of LabSTARTS vision is that this can be a more enjoyable process and having some sort of external entity that’s more of a liaison and a buffer between the, the individual like looking at one specific problem and then the lab as a whole having, lab start develop in and grease the wheels on the relationships is is helpful for is going to be helpful in the long run.

Because one individual person coming up a big corporation that wants a patent like they just don’t have that mass and that team behind them. So the fellowship is. The first three months it’s really into two phases but the first three months is more accelerator, like entrepreneurship curriculum to get anyone involved, regardless of their past experience up to speed on the fundamentals of commercialization, entrepreneurship, customer discovery, licensing, the whole thing.

What are you going to engage with in this process? The second phase of the program is. Once an individual has squarely landed with a patent or a combo of patents that they would like to um, license is surrounding that individual by that team that I mentioned with the. Subject matter expert legal expertise fractional support that would actually help them get from this has potential to here’s a commercialization plan that helps me negotiate with the lab.

And lab start is along the that entire process with the individuals. And so there’s, there’s 2 pipelines that we talk about for the program that we’re really focused on, on. Matchmaking. There’s the technology pipeline trying to help vet be a put a lot of energy into finding technologies that are ready and exciting and Investors are curious about and, would like to see move into the marketplace.

So finding the technologies and raising those into the awareness of, hey, consider these. And then the other pipeline is the entrepreneurs that would like to engage in climate solutions and climate tech but may not have. either a full team, an idea, may not even have a company yet, or they’re individuals that have attempted something that they needed to pivot and find something else.

So there’s a recognition that not every startup is going into this 100 percent we can do this for the rest of our lives phase, right? There’s a lot of cycling around ideas and this fellowship is a place to. Sort through where to start. So we’re at a super early stage and the whole scope of climate incubators accelerators and our program would essentially seed someone with the.

Their earliest like stages and starting a company and also have them like surrounded by the support network to do.

Sedale Turbovsky: Awesome. There’s a bunch of, there’s a few good questions in here and I think I’ll start with this one. Only startups that are interested in a technology from a national lab.

Could commercialize and come to lab start, or do you have already created relationships with the labs to pull those. Applications and licenses for technology.

I assume.

Megan Holcomb: Yeah, so we’re, we’re looking to engage with the earliest stage. Individuals or startups that have not, are really looking to commercialize some sort of technology and we’re helping seed them with the, with the short list of potential technologies and also help them through the process of sorting through it on their own.

So we’re not fully limited to. National labs. That’s where we’re starting to explore this. But if individuals in our pilot cohort, for example that’s running right now, individuals are working with university technology. So this entire process is equivalent. There’s an equivalent process in the university world with different levers and different challenges.

But similarly unique to each organization. So there’s no need to actually have I think the question maybe is, do they need to have a relationship with the labs? Answers. No, the individual does not need to have a relationship. That’s what lab starts offering is that doorway that we’ve created those relationships and will make that easier for an individual to engage.

Sedale Turbovsky: I love that. Yeah, I think that’s a huge benefit, right? So that I don’t have to go and find that and build it out and develop it. So another great question here that I think just deserves a good chat as well. Is how do you identify if the patent technology is a good fit for your startup?

What if it looks like a fit on paper during the application and then it doesn’t end up working out?

Megan Holcomb: Great question. That is essentially the point of the fellowship, right? So encouraging an individual in the application process. If anyone here has checked it out, labstart. xyz backslash apply. There we’ve presented a short list of technologies that we’ve essentially pre vetted with the broader community.

And those, Technologies are more than likely not the technology that an individual is going to commercialize, but it’s a starting point to understand tangibly how to go through this product. Market fits and customer inquiry process with something more tangible than I care about this field of solutions.

It might not be, it might be a good fit. And we say on paper, in the patent. Some patents do a much better job at describing the actual impact that technology will have. Some don’t even list the impact at all. So that’s up for an individual in the, during the fellowship to explore in that first phase.

So in the first three months, so we’ll be encouraging and helping people run through this sounds amazing. Is it amazing on by what metrics in the market? Is it amazing? Both impact market and readiness. So there’s not, there’s a big range on the amount of information that’s available around each patent.

So that’s that can be limiting and it’s more of a place to start from awesome.

Sedale Turbovsky: That’s great to know. Another one. If we have a technology and are looking to partner with federal labs, Potentially licensing tech from them. That’s relevant to ours. Is that feasible as well? And maybe another vein that this is is it interesting for applicants to bring their own technology to the program?

Or should you just be like, Hey, I want to solve a problem. I’m going to sign up.

Megan Holcomb: Yeah. I want to say yes. I don’t know if I’m fully, I can let try your deeper chime in here. If you have thoughts on that, but but if there, if you already have a company and There’s some sort of additional technology that’s needed to, to actually implement your solution, whatever it is, it doesn’t necessarily have to be core to your solution.

If you want to engage in the licensing process of At all, then I would say it’s relevant. And we are, a part of our nonprofits goal is to help streamline and demystify this process overall. So we don’t necessarily need individuals coming in at the exact same place. And we can support the engagement with labs in many different ways.

Deepa Lounsbury: The only thing I would add to that and Megan captured the vast majority of it, but as you consider if LabSTAR is right for you, know that we are trying to build the earliest steps. That’s your on your entrepreneurial journey. There are many other accelerators that support incorporated companies with, with, already proven technology.

And teams of people. And if you’re. If you’re off and running with your company and your technology, there might be many more other accelerators that would be a better fit. So we just ask you to, be thoughtful about where you are.

Sedale Turbovsky: Thank you Deepa and for. For the lab start team, if you all wish to come on video when you’re talking you are very welcome to. We didn’t banish you. But no pressure either way. There’s a good a good question here in terms of I think it’s a good 2 part question. In fact are there restrictions on company origin?

And I think alongside that, should you have a company incorporated? If you’re applying for the program, or is this for just individuals to apply?

Megan Holcomb: We are primarily building it for individuals with anticipating that, that most will not have a company incorporated yet. That, if you have a company incorporated, but you don’t actually have your, a business model or a business plan, like you’re still at that earliest possible stage then it would still be appropriate.

So we will help walk people through in the second phase of the program. Incorporating if that’s not something that you’ve done yet. So it’s not a hard yes or no, but it’s again, to build off what Deepa said, just an inquiry of what’s, how early in your process are you? And, specificity around what you’re working on is great, but if, if you don’t actually have, like, any sort of MVP that’s wrapped around a technology and you’re looking to bring that in, then it might still be appropriate.

So it’s an, it depends answer. aNd then I think there was what country of origin, right? That came up. So yeah, this is an interesting one that we’re going to have to navigate as a team there to license typically to license us. National lab technology. You need to be based in the U. S. Or U.

S. Citizen. So there are routes we’re offering in our program for this year that if you we are requiring that individuals are at minimum based in the U. S. for the entirety of the program for the year. So we’re not, we’re just not equipped as a staff to work across, international time zones, all the things but if you want to bring in a university technology that is a workaround from citizens, not being a U.

S. citizen or it’s not hard and fast is the, is what we’ve gotten feedback from the labs on, it’s not, yeah. Absolutely. You have to be US citizen to license this. There’s just extra steps and other considerations. So a clear workaround that we’re proposing is to engage with university technology, which is much more equipped to support international company owners.

Sedale Turbovsky: Awesome. There’s a question here that I think maybe conflates a couple things together which I think is great. It’s what does LabStar do, if anything, with SBIRs in the tech transfer con context? Would love to get your take on that.

Megan Holcomb: Yeah, though, a part of this whole year fellowship together will be supporting individuals in uh, applying for federal funding, state funding things like SBIR, engaging with the SBIR program.

There’s, in the tech transfer context, I’m not sure. Exactly what that means, but we would be assisting individuals once they’re, focused on their solution that they’re building a company around in seeding that person, the funding opportunities that are coming up that are appropriate for them and helping them understand how do you apply to grants?

Go talk to Sedale and and yeah. Really seeing what’s a good fit for that individual based on the skills they’re coming in with or the skills that they would need to develop. Yeah, and

Sedale Turbovsky: I’ll speak a little bit more to this because I think one thing that’s important to recognize is SBIR as a program is generally.

It’s a funding program for small businesses doing research S. T. R. On the other hand, maybe more of an appropriate program in the tech transfer concept. And allows you to partner and really go down that like university pathway with university technology. But either way, ultimately, as you’re doing some kind of lab to market commercialization, you’re gonna need to raise money and SBIR can be part of that stack.

For sure. And so there can be there can be some very exciting opportunities to go deeper and partner with agencies. When you reach that point of raising capital some another good question here is an individual who says, I have some really great technology. How would I fit into this program?

So I think, we’ve talked about this a little bit, but I would love to get your take on what I think the real question to answer here is what, at what stage is like the ideal applicant that you’re looking for with the lab start program? Are you looking for people who just are, they’re I want to solve a problem.

Don’t quite know where I’m at. Or are you looking for entrepreneurs? You’re like have an idea, but they don’t have the, like the wherewithal to solve it yet. Like, where should they be in their journey, ideally, and maybe this is a, maybe it’s a depends answer,

Megan Holcomb: but it is mostly because we want to be able to support those that we feel best equipped to support.

And so it’s a part of. Matchmaking the cohort as a whole as well. To see this is our first full recruitment round. The other pilots have been like more discreet, partnered with other organizations. So this is the first like big call to anyone who’s interested in this.

So part of this is going to be matchmaking a cohort that’s at the, a similar stage to one another. I would say individuals that have a passion about a particular solution area that are not like, I think I’d like to start a climate company today. Let me look and see what the options are that have gone further than that or have pivoted from some, background that they realize actually would like to dig deeper in this like solution space or there’s a parallel here to my experience.

You don’t have to have a Pedigree in this technology. We’re definitely looking wider than that. You don’t have to have direct expertise in this technology field. But the, like, relevant experience to feel motivated to start a company and something hard Commercialization is hard. haRd tech is hard, all of these things.

So you have to have that internal fire to really care about an area to want to build a company around it. So it is open. I’m curious if Deepa has anything to add to that as we refine who we’re looking for. It’s also we’re figuring that out as well.

Deepa Lounsbury: Yeah. Back to the to, like, why lab start was even created.

It’s because there are so many different accelerators and incubators and funders who really want great ideas and great people and diverse people applying to their programs, but that you need, But know that you need to have a technology that’s developed a certain degree and a beautiful pitch and a team that’s a rock star team.

We noticed that there are a lot of people that kind of got stuck in the middle. They’re like really qualified people that are motivated and talented, but maybe got stuck. And sorry, the other side of this, there’s All those funders, all those incubators, the vast majority of them are saying our doors are open.

We just need you to get a little bit further before we could before you can even qualify for application. And and, these are, like, the activates the prime coalitions breakthrough energies of the world. So our. Our goal as an organization is to really bridge that gap. So if you can qualify for the activates, the prime collisions, the breakthrough energy of the world, it’s like you should apply to them.

What we’re doing is trying to fill this. We’re at the very beginning of this ecosystem and trying to bridge the gap to the SBIRs, to the to, to this like vast ecosystem. And so I would say the people who are right for people who are saying, I really want to start a company, but I’m not an inventor.

I have what it takes to do all the things. I just need some core technology to attach myself to. And I need some help finding it. Okay. If you say Hey, I’m alone, but I know I can do this. Maybe I need a technology and a coat and a co founder to like to be able to apply for one of those. One of those places.

For you. If you have your eye on a specific technology, but you’re an outsider to an organization to an institution, Thank you. To a national lab to a university. And you’re just like I see a lot of potential in this particular technology.

You had my I’ve been tracking it for a year, but I don’t quite know how to take the steps to license it. Lab start wants to help you license it, so so those are the kinds of people that were and the stage that we’re trying to support because it is generally under supported in our ecosystem.

And we want to help you figure out like we’re the first like we’re the first lap in the mile, there are many others that are supporting your second and third.

Sedale Turbovsky: I love that. Great. One thing I want to throw out there because I’m seeing this sort of light, trend or commonality in some of the comments that are, or questions that are coming in.

I wondered if you could talk a little bit about this, which is that I think at its core, and you correct me if I’m wrong, because this could be a wrong or incorrect statement, but I think at its core lab start. Is really well suited for folks who are, as Deepa just explained, they feel like they’ve got all the things, but they need some technology to leverage to make that happen.

I think for a lot of entrepreneurs who might have their own technologies. There’s probably better or other programs where they might find a better fit. Is that is that a good characterization of like lab start versus the rest of the ecosystem?

Megan Holcomb: Yeah. Yeah. I would say that’s accurate. And we fully intend to make sure that anyone exiting out of lab start is potentially lined up with one of those downstream accelerators so that they’re, that is, that’s more equipped to help a company that’s already, has the wheels turning.

And so there’s. In my big vision of how this all works together it would be beautiful if all the accelerators, behind the scenes were actually helping people move through this, we’re all interested in accelerating many of us climate innovations or supporting entrepreneurs through these challenging stages.

And so LabStart is at this and then there’s many organizations that help with the maturation of that.

Sedale Turbovsky: Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. One thing that’s come up there’s a couple other comments that I see this trend in and I w I would love to get your thoughts on. So it’s my understanding that you can. And I’ve seen it implemented another, like for the Cal test bed program, for example, where you can work with our national lab infrastructure to help test and develop your technology.

iS that true first?

Megan Holcomb: tHere are user facility. So there are user facilities that people can engage with. That I know are available. I am less Like, I know less about those but it is possible. That’s not the direction. I guess that

Sedale Turbovsky: we’re no, I just want to, there’s a general couple of questions that have come up about just like the national lab infrastructure.

Megan Holcomb: Let me, I’ll add a link to the chat. Did you have something to say? Oh, you’re muted there.

Deepa Lounsbury: Sorry. I wanted to confirm that. Yes. I tell test bed is a great program, has 70 plus laboratories that you can test your own technology. That wasn’t developed in house. There are other programs that are spin and activate is also a spin in.

So there are. Other programs that if you have technology that you’ve invented, you know, in your garage outside of the labs that you can utilize. That is, part of the lab start program is figuring out how you validate the technology, but that is but if you already have your technology, there are maybe other programs that would be a better fit for you to go to.

Sedale Turbovsky: I wonder, do you have any, no pressure cause we can dig this up later, but any thoughts on the best way, so say you’re an entrepreneur and you already have your tech, you like, you’ve got your NSF funding, you’re, but you’re looking to partner with one of these labs to do something specific any thoughts on the best way to go about that? And I have some suggestions too, but.

Deepa Lounsbury: I would, we’re, yeah, I’m not like the expert on all the other people’s programs, but there are lab embedded entrepreneurship programs, leap nodes their West gate and chain reaction. Each lab has their own, cyclotron road, each lab has their own leaf node.

And those are specific to year long programs where it is all about integrating into the lab and utilizing the resources and developing a crater with the labs. There are also programs outside of that each lab operate.

Sedale Turbovsky: And I stopped you, you just used an acronym, CRADA, and I think some people will know what that is, but if you could just clarify what that is.

Megan Holcomb: Good question, I forgot what it is.

Sedale Turbovsky: I don’t, I will be perfectly honest with you, I conceptually think I know what it is, but I also don’t know what it is.

Troy Daley: CRADA is a, it’s a cooperative research and development agreement. So typically it’s with an outside entity outside entity to the labs, like a, typically a private entity where basically it’s an agreement to do R and D work together from like typically a private company and the lab.

Typically these are expensive things to do with the lab. So a lot of these are done by much larger corporate companies. But there are programs like Diba mentioned, like LeapNodes, where you can have DOE fund that CRADA for you, where you can be doing, having, it’s government sponsored to do that research and development at the labs.

Sedale Turbovsky: Thank you, Troy. Look at you, man. No problem. Clutch. So awesome. All right. Hopefully I answered some of y’all’s questions. I know there was a few folks who had come in and said, Hey, what, what about our new technology? Like, how is that interesting to the lab ecosystem? We are coming up on just 10 minutes left here.

And I think, there’s a couple of. There’s a couple of additional questions in here that were interesting. Let’s just do a really basic one here. How do we contact Labstar? How do you get in touch? And we’ll send this as links with the follow up email, so don’t worry everyone. Go. How do you contact them?

Megan Holcomb: The primary link that we’d want folks to, that have any interest in this is our open application period right now, which is going to provide a ton of information on this link. I’m going to Since actually, Troy, will you type that to sit down the apply link, but you can also contact me directly with my email.

Which is Megan at lab start dot X, Y, Z, if there’s interest in the program. I would say, please look at our informational. We have a slide deck that really walks through the details of what this fellowship looks like and what we’re offering and providing there’s we’re going to have a webinar at the beginning of January as well to do some more direct questions around the fellowship.

Thank you. And yeah, we are, there’s many. Many ways in which we have a large partner ecosystem to be able to hone in once individuals are selected for the cohort for the right support team for each of those individuals if you are more interested in supporting or engaging with this this whole process on the partner side definitely reach out and there’s lots of room.

Sedale Turbovsky: Awesome. I love that. I’m going to, we’re going to do like a final. Call to action. I’m gonna, I’m gonna flag that for you so that I’m gonna ask you to, if they can take away one thing from this, what should they do? But there’s one other question here that I think is interesting and would love to hear your thoughts.

There’s an individual here who’s talking about, not only do they want to work on, building a solution, but they’re looking to rebuild a team. Thank you. To build that solution. And I wanted to get your thoughts on what, if any, what, if anything, does lab start provide in terms of building your team?

And or if that’s not just not part of what you’re doing, you’re just like arming individuals, companies in place.

Megan Holcomb: Yeah. And I would say this is true of all accelerator programs, like co founder, matching team, finding team members to, to engage on a project together for. And more than I help you here and there, but I would like to build this together is a huge part of the building a business process and we will be supporting individuals in that co founder matching process through a lot of our partners are interested in this as well.

So by giving air time and attention to what everyone in the program is working on will be fundamentally a part of. Who else out there in the ecosystem is interested in this or might be a good match for this individual or complimentary to their skills. So again, a lot of that will be refined once we.

Once we start to engage, with the cohort and see who’s bringing what, who needs what kind of partner, maybe someone is like the perfect actual CTO, the technology person, and they’re not the CEO personality, but they’re getting it started. And so they need to bring in that part or vice versa.

There’s a lot of ways in which making sure that, by the end of the year, individuals find who their team members early team members might be is. Is a huge win.

Deepa Lounsbury: The only thing I want to add to that is that, we know the entrepreneurial journey is nonlinear. And sometimes it does make sense to go back to the beginning.

And if, if you find yourself at the beginning you will have, some scars and and you’ll have a lot of lessons, but we, We would welcome you at lab start. I, I would just again, ask you to make sure that it feels like a good fit for you as well, because sometimes going back to the beginning is only going back to the beginning for a small part of it.

And if you’re not on the journey with everyone else’s at the beginning, then then it’s not a great fit.

Sedale Turbovsky: I love that. Awesome. I think. There’s there’s a few questions. We’ll do a little lightning round and then we’ll do that kind of call to action. Just a few questions on eligibility and So one is are US permanent residents able to apply?

I, folks like a green card. Yes. And then another is there’s someone from the northern Mariana islands, which is a U. S. territory in the Western Pacific Ocean near Guam. Can they participate?

Megan Holcomb: I would say if this feels like a really good fit for you. It’s. We are open to it. This is there’s some like edges around figuring this out, but there will be multiple in person experiences throughout the year.

So it is a hybrid program. So majority of, a lot of the content would be virtual but if they’re able to, support themselves, with travel, that kind of thing extends us as far as being able to support. We have a travel scholarship that’s basically dependent on where everyone’s going to be based across the U.

S., so if you’re not on the mainland, that it may not be a hard no, but yeah, I would be curious of if you would be able to engage and things like the kickoff and open to it, especially if it’s this is exactly what I was looking for. This is what I’m trying to do. We are open to talking to you.

Sedale Turbovsky: Beautiful. Megan and team Deepa, Troy, thank you all so much for being here. This is super exciting what you’re doing. And I hope that everyone who joined in. Had their questions answered if not, we will be sending a variety of follow ups. This will be available as mentioned via youtube blog so You if you registered, you’re getting an email with a bunch of useful links and information.

And yeah, Megan this is your final words of wisdom to the folks on the call here. What should folks do after listening to this? If they’re pumped up, ready to get working? What’s Top two things they should do like right now.

Megan Holcomb: I don’t know, maybe some like jumping jacks to like, keep that energy going.

And also yeah, sit with if you’re ready for this kind of deep dive for a year. Please do check out our website and all of those materials. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly. We really want to build a program that is like deeply helpful for individuals that are engaging with this at the start of their journey.

So that is, this is we’re making sure that the partners and anyone involved in this is also centered around this being a human journey. Not We’re hyper focused on the business. We’re hyper focused on you, you, where are you at? What do you need? And if this kind of support in launching would really transform your journey.

Please apply.

Sedale Turbovsky: Awesome. All right. Y’all heard Megan, please apply. And thank you so much. We will see y’all next month for another 1 of these. If it’s something that you’re into and we will be following up with an email and that’ll have all these links. Will it have your email in it, Megan?

Yep. So it’ll have all the great contact information and we look forward to hearing anybody’s additional thoughts and feedback. Thank you all for joining us today. Have a great day.

Megan Holcomb: Thanks for having us today.