What We Bridge

America’s investment in research universities began in 1862, when the Morrill Act established our land grant college system. That investment has paid enormous dividends. According to some economic historians, America’s ascendency to an economic superpower – distancing itself from Britain and Europe by the early 20th century – grew out of our Morrill Act investments in heartland universities.

Today, America’s heartland research universities account for the lion’s share of our academic research productivity:

Most of America's Research Happens in the Heartland

America’s research universities account for a disproportionate share of startup new value creation – important in its own right, and a pretty good proxy for the societal impact of innovation:

University Innovation Creates Disproportionate Value

Percentage of market value of venture-backed NASDAQ IPOs, by source 2015-17

University Innovation Creates Disproportionate Value

University Innovation Creates Disproportionate Value

Percentage of market value of venture-backed NASDAQ IPOs, by source 2015-17

University Innovation Creates Disproportionate Value

However, all that good research in the heartland, is at a real disadvantage compared to research in the tech hubs, when it comes to investment and growth:

Double Whammy: Heartland Series A Science Startups are Valued Lower...

Median Pre-Money Series A Valuation – Healthcare

Double Whammy: Heartland Series A Science Startups are Valued Lower

Double Whammy: Heartland Series A Science Startups are Valued Lower...

Median Pre-Money Series A Valuation – Healthcare

…And Attract a Lot Less Money

Median Capital Invested at Series A - Healthcare

And Attract a Lot Less Money

…And Attract a Lot Less Money

Median Capital Invested at Series A - Healthcare

And Attract a Lot Less Money

This shouldn’t be true.  The schools in the tech hubs are amazing – Harvard and Stanford and Berkeley and MIT are true national assets.  But the scale of the heartland research effort means that America has more than that research capacity, again, in the heartland:

Heartland Research Universities are Home to at Least 7 Stanfords' Worth of Great Senior Researchers

National Academy of Science Members

National Academy of Science Members

At Research Bridge Partners, we bridge those great researchers in the middle to the resources that they need to drive their innovation into society to create prosperity and sustainability.

This shouldn’t be true.  The schools in the tech hubs are amazing – Harvard and Stanford and Berkeley and MIT are true national assets.  But the scale of the heartland research effort means that America has more than that research capacity, again, in the heartland:

Heartland Research Universities are Home to at Least 7 Stanfords' Worth of Great Senior Researchers

National Academy of Science Members

National Academy of Science Members

At Research Bridge Partners, we bridge those great researchers in the middle to the resources that they need to drive their innovation into society to create prosperity and sustainability.

Not coincidentally, the nation’s elite commercialization universities sit in the middle of the densest concentrations of entrepreneurial capital and translational talent in the world. For every $1 dollar of research conducted by Bay Area universities, Silicon Valley venture capitalists have $15 dollars available to exploit commercialization opportunities. The situation is similar in New York and Boston, which respectively boast $4 and $5 in VC dry powder for each $1 in university R&D.

It’s a different story in the middle of the country, even though the heartland has some of America’s premier research universities. The University of Michigan has only has $0.20 in VC dry powder per $1 dollar in R&D. Even in Austin, Texas – a strong technology center and home to The University of Texas – there is only $0.70 in VC dry powder available to commercialize each university research dollar spent.

It’s the same story with business talent. Startup clusters like Boston and Silicon Valley have large stables of experienced entrepreneurs and executives readily capable of providing business-side expertise to science-based companies. For example, Partners’ Healthcare Innovation, Harvard Medical School’s hospital group’s commercialization program, employs about 80 people (and a $170 million internal fund) to help commercialize the university’s research. More importantly, those 80 leverage more than 10x that many executives in greater Boston.

These barriers make it difficult, if not impossible, for regions in the middle of the country to reproduce the concentrations of wealth and talent in the nation’s startup clusters. We bridge the universities and innovators and innovations in that “big middle,” to the commercialization capabilities on the coasts.