Examining the University of Washington’s Impact on the Seattle Tech Community

Next Tuesday evening, New Tech Seattle will host its 7th Annual UW Event at the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. This popular event, in partnership with the University of Washington, celebrates the greater Seattle community and will feature presentations from a variety of companies that all have one thing in common – they were all founded by UW grads or professors.

With this in mind, we thought it would be interesting to explore the impact UW has on our tech community. And its impact is impressive. Just last year, Reuters listed UW as the #1 most innovative public university in the world. The Milken Institute recognizes UW as #7 on its list of best universities for technology transfer. And according to the Association of University Technology Managers, UW is also #7 in the nation for the number of startups launched.

The university’s impact on our community is vast. In just the past five years, UW technology resulting in the creation of 79 startups and spinouts. Today, 117 startups in our state currently license UW technologies, resulting in more than 3,230 jobs created at those companies. If that wasn’t enough, UW companies have received $5.7 billion in venture capital funding.

Naturally, these innovations and investments don’t happen on their own. CoMotion at the University of Washington is the collaborative innovation hub dedicated to expanding the economic and societal impact of the UW community. By developing and connecting to local and global innovation ecosystems, CoMotion helps innovators achieve the greatest impact from their discoveries.

CoMotion focuses on four key areas to support innovators at any stage:

  • Guiding UW researchers, faculty and students on their path to potential license, startup or service
  • Delivering just-in-time learning opportunities around all types of innovation
  • Mentorship, funding and networks to improve commercialization success
  • Supporting startup creation, launch and incubation

CoMotion also offers CoMotion Labs, incubators for startups inside and outside the UW community focused on the IT, engineering, life sciences, medical devices, clean tech and AR/VR industries. Across three locations near or on UW campus, as well as a virtual lab in Spokane, CoMotion Labs averages between 60 to 90 startups at any given time.

The startups housed at these locations range from pre-seed to Series A, employing two to 15 people each, and are variously headed by students, faculty and community leaders, with both new and seasoned entrepreneurs represented. CoMotion Labs also provides access to the CoMotion Makerspace where startups can build and prototype their innovations.

The UW and CoMotion clearly play a critical role fostering innovation in Seattle and beyond. Its role and work is catching the attention of companies around the world. We’ve seen the acquisition of three CoMotion supported startups in recent years, including Turi (acquired by Apple in 2016), C-SATS (acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2018) and Universal Cells (acquired by Japanese firm Astellas Pharma in 2018).

We look forward to seeing you next Tuesday evening when we celebrate the UW’s collaboration and partnership with the greater Seattle community!

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