CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator seeks creators of new business concepts to be part of their fall cohort in the Iterate program, where startup experts help budding entrepreneurs evaluate and refine their ideas.
The Iterate application period coincides with the Accelerator’s naming five new members to its strategic advisory board, including Maggie Finnerty, executive director of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, and former Oregon Republican Party chairman Allen Alley.
The one-month Iterate program kicks off Oct. 24.
“Being on the strategic advisory board is a great opportunity to work with the state’s leading research university and be part of the bridge to industry,” said Alley. “Oregon’s future depends on harnessing our world-class innovations and bringing them to global markets.”
In its four years of existence, the Accelerator has advised more than 70 program graduates who have generated more than $4.5 million in revenue and gained more than $2.3 million in equity investments, $10 million in grants, and $500,000 in loans or other financing.
Accelerator activities have created more than 50 full-time-equivalent jobs. The Accelerator has engaged with nearly 400 entrepreneurs and startups in the region and interacted with more than 4,500 students and 130 volunteers.
Additional new members of the 15-person board are Julianne Brands of the Oregon Angel Fund; Rita Hansen, chief executive officer of OSU spinout OnBoard Dynamics; and Jennifer Brown-Dennis, dean of the OSU Graduate School.
Brian Wall, OSU’s assistant vice president for research, commercialization and industry partnering, said the board demonstrates the university’s commitment to diversity in leadership.
“Adding distinguished advisory board members such as Maggie, Julianne, Rita, Jennifer and Allen helps us continue the economic progress achieved by Accelerator companies and continues to evolve Oregon State into a 21st century land grant institution,” he said.
The Accelerator, under the direction of Mark Lieberman and Karl Mundorff, helps nascent startups develop and commercialize high-growth, innovative technologies. Through three programs – Iterate, Accelerate and Launch – the Accelerator helps OSU faculty, students, staff and the broader university community advance ideas and conduct research into products and services, guiding entrepreneurs through all phases of the commercialization process.
“Iterate is the top of our funnel,” Lieberman said. “It’s a methodology that anyone can use to understand what entrepreneurial thinking is about and to help answer the question of what comes next.”
“The main thing we teach in Iterate is how to evaluate business ideas,” Mundorff added. “The program helps you figure out whether an idea is worth your time. And almost every team iterates to some variant of their initial idea.”
The Accelerator is part of Oregon State University Advantage, which connects business people to university resources, and it is also affiliated with RAIN, the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network; RAIN is an Oregon consortium of government, higher education and the business community.