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“My grandmother fell down in her bathroom last year and it was 16 hours before anyone knew anything had happened to her,” Wilson says. “But with the Xandem system as we envision it, there would have been a system in place that would have alerted someone in the family that there hadn’t been any moment in the house.”
Sending these types of technologies into the private market has huge rewards for the university. Because the school owns the patents for its technologies, it receives royalty income—generally around 3-4 percent—from startups’ product sales. The university also owns a small percentage of equity in these companies.
Beyond the monetary dividends, which are used to fund future commercialization projects and student fellowships, the university also sees another type of benefit. “These entities provide employment for our students, they are donors back to the university, and they put research back to the university,” Brittain says. That continued research relationship is something that most other institutions miss out on.
“If you really foster something at the [innovation] birth process, you establish good habits of working together, and these companies remain very loyal. If they anchor the company in the area, there can be a really long-term benefit to the university and result in millions of dollars of research.”