Arin McKenna
Rep. Ben Ray Luján (in white) questions Descartes Labs co-founder and CTO Steven Brumby about tech transfer issues at a recent visit.
Luján gets a primer on tech transfer

When Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-District 3) visited Descartes Labs earlier this month, his questions focused on what could be done to improve technology transfer from national labs such as Los Alamos National Laboratory to private industry.
Descartes co-founder and Chief Technical Officer Steven Brumby made several recommendations based on his own recent experiences with that process.
In December 2014, Descartes obtained a license to use lab-generated technology that Brumby himself had helped develop.
Brumby called the time it takes to get a tech transfer license “absolutely crucial.” The current process can take up to a year.
“If you’re trying to start up in an area where there are competitors, you can’t afford to have the lab taking a year to make a decision on the license. That’s enough time for other people to go close on initial funding round and then actually get to Series A,” Brumby said.
Descartes was unable to raise venture capital money until the license was secured.
“They weren’t prepared to trust us that the license would close in a timely way. They wanted to see the license up front,” Brumby said.