The University of Utah launches Summit Venture Studio
Yesterday, the University of Utah’s Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology (PIVOT) Center launched Summit Venture Studio (SVS), a unique software enterprise for commercializing software applications developed at the university.
SVS provides capital and experienced talent to develop, launch and scale university software startups. It is headed by co-founders and managing directors Peter Djokovich and Taylor Bench. Djokovich, (pictured left above), was PIVOT Center’s first mentor-in-residence, while Bench (below right) managed PIVOT Center’s equity portfolio. Previously, Djokovich was the founder and CEO of Commission Systems since 1994. Bench was Director of New Ventures and Investments since 2012 for the university’s Technology and Venture Commercialization —the previous incarnation of the PIVOT Center.
SVS will apply techniques from the private sector to the untapped and unrealized software innovations frozen within institutions of higher education to create much-needed routes to profitable commercialization. To this end, SVS will collaborate with the university’s technology transfer office, a division of PIVOT Center.
“While part of the team at the U’s technology transfer office I walked the university halls and met with hundreds of amazing inventors who generated thousands of innovative ideas,” said Bench. “With hundreds of millions of dollars of research funding going to SVS’s university partners to generate new ideas and solutions, there is a giant unmet need to help get these technology advancements to market. We have chosen to focus our efforts on doing this for the software created by cutting edge researchers.”
“We prioritize SVS’s engagement and contribution to the Utah innovation community by attracting national and global investor capital, attention from corporate licensee partners and the broader technology transfer community and serving as a catalyst for our highly-regarded local Utah talent,” said Djokovich. “Because we know how to successfully scale software businesses, SVS reduces risk for investors and improves return-on-investment by rapidly accelerating time-to-market for potentially profitable ideas.”
“One of our objectives for our SVS Solutions Network is to discover, utilize and develop service providers in order to support our businesses and potential future founders, said Djokovich. “A second objective is to also discover, utilize and develop management teams for our businesses as exit partners.”
Summit Venture Studio and the recently re-branded PIVOT Center discover and cultivate software innovation coming from the university, guide invention disclosure initiatives and collaborate with software developers to assess their technology and market potential. Software inventions are designed, developed and deployed via dedicated SVS go-to-market teams, including product-market validation and application development, targeted on the creation and launch of new products and companies.
“Summit Venture Studio is an essential element of Utah’s innovation community and will increase commercialization of the abundance of software solutions being developed at the U,” said Keith Marmer, chief innovation and economic engagement officer for the U. “SVS has the leadership to succeed—with tens of millions of users of their collective solutions, Peter and Taylor have innovated powerful recipes for software go-to-market success. Peter leverages 40 years of experience building a global software company in Utah and applying lessons learned.”
SVS also provides inventors of software access to its business and distribution partner network to expedite commercial growth. Djokovich and Bench have demonstrated that emerging software inventions will generate new software features, new products, startup companies and even spawn entire new categories and markets.