Mutant Logic, a new startup software company based on technology invented at UC Davis, has been launched thanks in part to help from UC Davis' InnovationAccess unit. The company recently completed an exclusive license from UC Davis to commercialize the technology and take it to market.
Starting a company from scratch is a daunting task. In addition to negotiating the license, InnovationAccess aided Mutant Logic by making key introductions and finding venues for them to get in front of potential investors.
"Mutant Logic is a great example of UC Davis InnovationAccess' focus on supporting startup companies emerging from the campus," said David McGee, executive director of InnovationAccess.
InnovationAccess, part of the Office of Research, provides services connecting research to the marketplace, focused specifically on protecting and commercializing intellectual property, and fostering entrepreneurship within the campus community.
Mutant Logic, headquartered in El Dorado Hills, is developing software to check the design of integrated circuit chips. The idea is to help semiconductor companies reduce the time, cost and risk of circuit design projects, and deliver better, error-free integrated circuits to the market, said Ben Mok, one of the founders of the company and a master of business administration student at UC Davis' Graduate School of Management.
Mok and co-founders Brian Hoblit, also studying for an MBA at UC Davis, and Jorge Campos, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering, took part in last year's Little Bang business plan poster competition, run by UC Davis InnovationAccess, and the Big Bang! business plan competition, run by students in the Graduate School of Management.
While competing in the Little Bang competition, they were introduced to a key adviser and investor, Jim Schraith, who was a judge in the competition. Schraith helped them find an office location and initial investors, and recruit a chief executive officer, Bob Bennett.
Through InnovationAccess connections, they presented at the Sacramento Venture Forum hosted by Golden Capital Network in El Dorado Hills in May 2006, and were one of three local company presenters at the December 2006 High Tech Direct conference in Sacramento.
Campos, the scientific founder of Mutant Logic, was a business development fellow at the Graduate School of Management in 2005-06. In the yearlong program, doctoral students in the sciences and engineering gain hands-on experience in developing new business ventures by taking courses alongside MBA students.
McGee said Mutant Logic's founders took full advantage of the wide range of UC Davis resources supporting entrepreneurship. "We worked closely with them to patent the invention, license it rapidly and under realistic terms for a startup company, and introduced them to critical expertise in our region," he said.
"Mutant Logic's successful startup is a great example of the UC Davis entrepreneurship model. It's one that we'll replicate many times as we expand the impact of UC Davis-originated entrepreneurship within our region."
InnovationAccess actively manages a patent portfolio of 841 inventions reflecting the diversity of the campus's research base, and seeks opportunities to commercialize these via licensing, with 485 active licensees. UC Davis has also seen an upsurge in startup companies emerging from campus research and technologies, with nearly 20 companies founded since 2005. The InnovationAccess team is comprised of more than 20 professionals with PhDs, JDs and MBAs with significant private-sector experience.