İstanbul Şehir University Technology Transfer Office started out its journey pursuant to the first strategic plan of the institution in 2010 and it was officially established in 2011 when it was awarded the Istanbul Development Agency (ISTDA) grant. Up to this time the office institutionalized the processes regarding TUBITAK, EU, ISTDA, INDUSTRY and PUBLIC projects, and founded the Incubation Center incuba.city. As of 2016, the office reached a portfolio of 23+ million TL with 100+ projects in total within 5 years.
During its establishment process, in line with documents such as EU Science Policy documents and BTYK (Supreme Council of Science and Technology) decisions, the University gave priority to establish a Technology Transfer Office in its 1st strategic plan. In accordance with this strategic plan, ŞEHİR TTO has started out in 2010 with one coordinator (Önder Mutlu Yılmaz), 1 specialist (Dr. Dilem Hızlan), 1 project assistant (Mine Duru), 1 academic advisor (Prof. Çetin Kaya Koç), and 1 sectoral consultant (İhsan Taşer).
When the project named “ŞEHİR TTO Establishment”, which was presented upon the first call of İstanbul Development Agency opened in 2010, was deemed successful, the office was officially founded. This first grant reinforced the infrastructure of the office and became the first process in which ŞEHİR TTO 4-module pattern was tested. Within this 12-month project, the first Talent Management and Project Management Portal among Turkish TTOs was developed and it provided a solution to link together the industrial needs and academic talents. The office went beyond all performance objectives and successfully completed the project.
During its foundational phase, ŞEHİR TTO provided support to the university with research and reports regarding the infrastructure work such as the opening of new departments, creating a curriculum, building new campuses and laboratories, and it undertook the mission to increase the scientific and industrial projects of the university. Within this period, the project application and management processes of the institution regarding TUBITAK and ISTDA have been institutionalized, and the projects increased in number thanks to this support.
By 2012, the number of the active projects was 24, and the total budget reached 2 million TL. In the 7th EU Framework performance report of TUBITAK between 2007 and 2012, ŞEHİR was among the top 10 universities in Turkey in the ranking based upon project number per academician.
Thanks to our gradually increasing scientific outputs, projects, and the existence of TTO, ŞEHİR ranked the 50th university in 2013 Entrepreneurial and Innovative University Index, the first of which was announced in 2012. As a result, it was entitled to submit a grant application to TUBITAK’s call designed to support the TTOs. ŞEHİR TTO, with its own business model, took place among the technology transfer offices supported by TUBITAK for 10 years in its first year of application., and was among the top 5 foundation universities awarded this grant in that very year. This success in 2013 had several impacts such as an increase in number of staff and development of its infrastructure. In 2014, the office had 8 personnel, and ŞEHİR ranked as the 36th in the 2014 Entrepreneurial and Innovative University Index as it moved up 14 ranks, the greatest upsurge among Turkish universities so far.
By 2014, TTO has managed 40 projects and a project portfolio over 8 million TL in total. The same year, the office has cooperated with several international institutions both for educational and professional knowledge transfer, and the technology transfer processes have been formed and refined by the whole team as a result of the past 4-year experiences. In 2015, following these matured processes, ŞEHİR TTO began to furnish services for academicians, students, industries, and entrepreneurs under 5 pillars of focus.
As of December 2016, we reached 100 projects and a portfolio over 23 million TL. Moreover, as ŞEHİR TTO, we have started the first Technology Transfer Office Acceleration Program (TTAP) in Turkey as an investor in Turkey’s first Technology Transfer Fund of 30 million euros. Nowadays, we look to future with hope, thanks to our services enhanced with the following tools: www.teknolojiturkiye.com.tr, which is our tool for receiving applications to TTAP, and www.techin2b.com, which connects the inventors, industries, and TTO professionals as the first private Technology Management & Validation Portal in Turkey.
TTAP is an acceleration program based on Steve Blank’s “Lean LaunchPad Methodology” and University of Texas at Austin IC2 Institute’s “Technology Commercialization Program” with adaptations to Turkey’s particulars. Eligible applicants are academicians with patented/patentable inventions, maximum 5-year old growth-seeking technology-based SMEs, and technology start-ups.
It is a boutique style 2-phase acceleration program in which patented/patentable technologies, which we select through our two-tier selection process, are given one-to-one trainings and continuous mentorship on value proposition, product-market fit, technology and market validation, creation of the best business and revenue models, financial forecasts, investor readiness and other related fields. Through mentorship, they also receive business development support to make their first sale or increase their sales.
As of last quarter in 2016, in less than 18 months, more than 20 technologies have been accepted in the TTAP, 4 of which either received funding or in the signing stage thereof, from the local investor ecosystem. Efforts of fundraising for the remaining technologies continue through both local and international investors.
Our recent grant application “Invest Istanbul” to ISTDA is awarded funds to select technology-based start-ups from Turkey, train them through our special acceleration program and take them to London for pitching opportunity to investors in London. This program will start early 2017 and details will be announced from our websites.
As ŞEHİR TTO, we believe the flow of main sources for innovation in our country should be university-based just like in the developed countries, and that technological and social innovation is of great importance for the development of our country. With our team that believes in the model we have established for this purpose, we move forward on our path, open to any kind of cooperation, creating and sharing values with other similar TTOs, university research centers, industrial and public institutions so as to affect the history of our country in this regard.
We would like to thank all members of ŞEHİR family and our distinguished Rector for their support to establish a profound technology transfer office in a short time while continuing various other vital operations in a young university like ŞEHİR.
İstanbul Şehir University
Technology Transfer Office Director