UMN Celebrates 200th Startup, Top Ranking for Tech Transfer

200 UMN Startup Companies Launched [rocket ship icons]; picture of Jaime Modiano with a german shepherd;  #1 in Tech Transfer among heartland universities

Professor Jaime Modiano’s startup Knine Biotech is the University of Minnesota’s 200th startup launched since 2006. Knine is using artificial intelligence for early cancer detection in dogs.

The University of Minnesota announced that it has launched 200 startup companies since 2006, a significant milestone in its work to scale and commercialize ideas and inventions from labs and research facilities on its five campuses. The milestone reflects the University’s role as the largest single creator of startup companies in the state, with nearly three-fourths of UMN startups locating in Minnesota. 

These startups, which commercialize University of Minnesota ideas and inventions, have an impressive rate of success, with nearly 80 percent still active today and with 10 companies either acquired or having gone public since 2017. The University spun out a record 20 startup companies in FY 2021 alone. Learn more in this short video:

The University’s 200th startup is Knine Biotech, founded this spring, which is using artificial intelligence for early cancer detection in dogs. Knine is based on research by Jaime Modiano, professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine; Taylor Depauw, a former researcher in the Modiano lab and current PhD candidate in the Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology program; and Ali Khammanivong, a researcher and data scientist at the Masonic Cancer Center. Like most of the University’s startups, Knine Biotech’s innovation relies on access to cutting edge ideas in research, in this case in cancer biology and data science, available only at a major research university.

The announcement coincided with a report released recently by the group Heartland Forward that ranked the University of Minnesota Twin Cities first for technology transfer within the heartland, a 20-state region, and fifth among all US public universities, based on tech transfer metrics that included startup creation, STEM degrees and scholarly works cited by patents. While the University performed well across all metrics, among all US universities (public and private) it ranked fourth in licenses and options issued, ninth in invention disclosures received, and 10th in startups formed.

“Research and technology transfer are fundamental to the University’s mission and are key drivers of collaboration and economic growth in Minnesota and our region,” said Interim Vice President for Research Michael Oakes. “This 200th startup milestone and recognition from Heartland Forward reflects our commitment to research excellence and innovation. We couldn’t be more proud to be ‘Driven to Discover.’”

Read the full news release