Every year Innovus celebrate the outstanding work the Chief Executive Officers and staff of Stellenbosch University's group of companies do.
In his address to the guests, SU's Chief Operating Officer, Prof Stan du Plessis, reminded them about Tom Hockaday's book "University Technology Transfer: What is s and how to do it" and the word SYZYGY – meaning "conjunction, or a pair of connected or correlated things".
"Hockaday argued that launching a company from a University requires Syzygy, that is to say, alignment between many parties: the researchers, the tech transfer office, managers of the company and the investors. The interests of these parties are not automatically aligned and require much work and mutual trust to achieve Syzygy. A vibrant research culture, tech Transfer office, a business incubator, and a University Technology Fund can be crucial in achieving the required conjunction."
Prof Stan said SU is incredibly fortunate to have such high-quality teams in our faculties, at Innovus, at USE, at the LaunchLab, as well as our partners at the UTF. "You allow us to attain Syzygy."
He referred to the pandemic times that tested big and small companies and is grateful that most of SU's companies managed to survive the troubled times.
"As a university, we are delighted to see this growing group of companies. Each of these companies represents a massive social impact from SU, locally and internationally. When we succeed in the difficult task of creating a viable product, or service, or business process out of a research idea, we turbo charge the impact that a research-intensive University can have on society."
Prof Stan also thanked the University Technology Fund for their confidence in the companies they have funded to date. He said that in addition to the UTF investments, the University's Investment Committee has also started investing in later-stage rounds to build the University's own equity portfolio in USE companies.