WINSTON-Paul Briggs, director of the Babcock Demon Incubator at Wake Forest University, is looking for new clients at the small business incubator.
In three years of operation, the center has helped launch 13 companies that have raised nearly $3 million in venture capital and have created more than 40 jobs. These startups are seeking an additional $8 million in financing and have generated close to $1 million in annual revenues. Of 14 companies launched, 13 remain in operation.
But Briggs wants the center, which was created by Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management, to become an even larger catalyst for business in the Triad.
Local tech Wire recently asked Briggs to talk about what’s going right.
What do you see as being the key factors in the success of the incubator?
The key to the Babcock Demon Incubator’s success is the development of the resident companies and the continued success of those companies after they leave the incubator. When a company leaves the incubator, we say they’ve “graduated.” Also, the entrepreneurs involved with the incubator help teach and excite the Wake Forest MBA students about entrepreneurship.
Is the presence of the incubator helping to produce more entrepreneurs and to get researchers thinking more about business applications at WFU?
There is definitely an increase in student interest in entrepreneurial activities. This may be because they actually have a place to go to develop their ideas. This allows some entrepreneurs to move forward and develop their business instead of putting it on hold for a few years. The faculty has certainly benefited from the activity of the incubator in terms of class participation of incubator companies and research of specific problems like a marketing approach for new products.
How do you plan to increase further interest in the incubator and foster more technology transfer?
Currently, we plan to remain at the present size. To grow we need more funding. Also we are looking into relocating the incubator to the Piedmont Triad Research Park. Doing so will give us a new agenda and new goals.
What does the incubator need in resources and funding in order to accelerate growth and awareness?
To move downtown to the research park, the incubator needs substantial funding, in capital cost or operating cost. We would be interested in considering individual and corporate contributions or naming rights. An expansion would also add to our manpower costs.
Are there more entrepreneurs, financial investors and business people expressing more interest in the Triad?
I do not believe there are any more. We have been searching for fast growth companies with a national perspective for our most recent vacancy. We have a better support system for new businesses and I believe a higher percentage will be successful. This may have something to do with the economy. While we’re making progress, we still have a way to go to provide for the entrepreneur, training, financing, and business support in the region.
For information about the incubator, contact Briggs at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenants and Graduates
The Center recently compiled a listing and details about the firms that have incubated at the Center:
Current tenants include: