Swift Startup License Program
The goal of the SWIFT Startup License program is to stimulate the creation of new companies by University of Kansas (KU) researchers as founders, by licensing KU inventions. To promote innovation and entrepreneurship, KU Center for Technology Commercialization (KUCTC) is offering a simple, ready-to-use license agreement for start-up companies based on KU’s intellectual property.
Summary of the Program
The SWIFT Startup License agreement (pdf) has a back-end loaded deal structure with no upfront payments, no annual minimum fees, no minimum royalties, one low flat patent royalty rate and a success fee at the time of an exit/liquidation event. This would allow start-up companies to invest time and effort in developing the KU technology. The Swift Startup License will minimize contract negotiations enabling KU faculty and researchers to concentrate on the development of products. The Swift Startup License will be structured to make it more attractive to prospective investors. Following are the proposed general terms:
- Exclusive license grant with rights to sublicense
- Licensor will pay for up to $20,000 of past patent costs (those incurred by Licensor prior to the Effective Date of the License Agreement). Licensee will pay for past patent costs incurred by Licensor in excess of $20,000, and all future patent costs (those incurred after the Effective Date)
- No upfront fees and no annual fees
- Financial and diligence milestones based on a detailed business plan
- No equity for KU
- A fixed 2% patent royalty rate on sales of any product(s)
- No minimum annual royalty payments
- A sliding sublicense revenue starting at 35% that steps down to 15% over five years
- A 1% “success fee” when the company is acquired or goes public
Special attention has been given to streamline the process, reduce upfront legal costs and expedite the contract execution process by KUCTC and Licensee. To qualify for this SWIFT Startup License you must meet the following criteria:
- Be employed at KU (as faculty or non-faculty staff) and a founder of a start-up based on KU intellectual property (IP) and be an inventor of the IP.
- The IP is the basis for forming the new company.
- Attended Startup School @ KU or have relevant business experience.
- Have a CEO (with relevant business experience; not the PI) and an assembled team of advisors committed to the start-up.
- Present the business case (including a business plan and an investor pitch slide deck) to the SWIFT Startup License Committee for approval. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The following steps will need to be completed before a SWIFT Startup License (pdf) is executed:
- Submission of a business plan to KUCTC
- Submission of a business model canvas to KUCTC (Lean Canvas website)
- Present an investor ready pitch deck to the SWIFT License Approval Committee
- Obtain approval from the SWIFT License Approval Committee
- Complete a conflict-of-interest [COIC] approval from the respective COIC committee. This process is independent of KUCTC and is the responsibility of the faculty member.
The primary and first point of contact for SWIFT Startup License at the University of Kansas is the KUCTC Licensing Associate. At the company, the contact should be the CEO or his/her designate. The KU faculty member who is the founder of the company should not be the primary point of contact for the company.
KUCTC Licensing Associates
Yes. In addition to meeting the criteria for a Swift Startup License, examples where the terms of an Swift Startup License would not be appropriate may include license requests that involve
- a patent application that has been filed as a non-provisional, PCT, or foreign filing;
- multiple patent estates that could give rise to distinct product families;
- 2 or more distinct patent families;
- jointly owned intellectual property.