Lawrence earns 6th top spot in The Atlantic Cities List for leading high-tech metros. Who’s driving this upswing in tech-centered business?
Although the Silicon Valley remains the nation’s leading location for venture capital on a per capita basis, there are a growing number of college towns poised to challenge Silicon Valley as hot spots for high-tech start-ups. According to a recent article from The Atlantic Cities, this includes our very own Lawrence, Kan.
Brad Feld, managing director of the Foundry Group and author of the book “Startup Communities,” asked Atlantic’s Richard Florida and the Martin Prosperity Institute to research venture capita and start-up activity on a per capita basis. San Jose (the Silicon Valley) topped the list with 22.6 venture capital deals per capita and $216.9 million in venture capital investments per 100,000 people.
Lawrence’s high rank might have something to do with the many innovations coming out of the KU Center for Technology Commercialization.
Lawrence landed the sixth spot with 5.4 venture capital deals per capita and $40.8 million in venture capital investments per 100,000 people.It ranked higher on Atlantic’s list than both Los Angeles (No. 16 with 1.8 venture capital deals per capita and $131 million in venture capital investments per 100,000 people) and the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA region (No. 18 with 2.0 venture capital deals per capita and $12 million in venture capital investments per 100,000 people.)
Lawrence’s high rank might have something to do with the many innovations coming out of the KU Center for Technology Commercialization. Here, the private and public sectors merge to introduce cutting-edge technology to the market, particularly with regard to biotechnology, medical and pharmaceutical sciences.
The earliest example, according to the university, was in 1967 when Takeru Higuchi was recruited to join the KU faculty. Shortly thereafter, Higuchi (nicknamed the “Father of Physical Pharmacy”) was offered the chance to start a new company in Palo Alto, Calif. He declined and decided to launch the company, Alza, in Lawrence instead. In 1983, Higuchi and his colleagues founded the KU Center for Bioanalytical Research, which helped transform basic research into marketable technologies.
Today, there are a number of KU products available in the marketplace. These include pharmaceutical treatments for HIV infections, hepatitis B infections, fungal infections, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Numerous start-ups founded on KU’s technologies continue to thrive. Two examples are Cancer Survivorship Training, Inc., which provides online and mobile resources to assist health care providers to treat and advise cancer survivors, and DARcorporation, a leading provider of consulting services to the aerospace industry.
Story by Kathryn Jones