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U launches Summit Venture Studio, software development accelerator and investment fund

Summit Venture Studio provides capital and experienced talent to develop, launch and scale university software startups and bring products to market more efficiently and rapidly.

The University of Utah’s Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology (PIVOT) Center is pleased to announce the launch of Summit Venture Studio, which focuses on the commercialization of the myriad software applications developed in the university setting.

Summit Venture Studio (SVS) provides capital and experienced talent to develop, launch and scale university software startups and bring products to market more efficiently and rapidly.

Summit Venture Studio, headed by co-founders and managing directors Peter Djokovich and Taylor Bench, applies proven go-to-market strategies to university environments, providing creative and innovative alternatives that help university software-based technologies find a viable path to market. SVS overcomes challenges with commercialization by providing both the necessary talent to transition software into commercial applications and capital to get the product to market.

Driving Summit Venture Studio’s creation was the experience of Djokovich and Bench, combined with insights from the U’s technology transfer office, a division of PIVOT Center. Djokovich was PIVOT Center’s first mentor-in-residence, while Bench managed PIVOT Center’s equity portfolio. Along with PIVOT Center’s leadership team, they recognized what was needed to propel software-based startups; hundreds of millions of research dollars invested in universities each year. Summit Venture Studio will apply techniques from the private sector to the untapped and unrealized software innovations frozen within institutions of higher education to create much-needed routes to profitable commercialization.

“While part of the team at the U’s technology transfer office I walked the university halls and met with hundreds of amazing inventors who generated thousands of innovative ideas,” said Bench. “With hundreds of millions of dollars of research funding going to SVS’s university partners to generate new ideas and solutions, there is a giant unmet need to help get these technology advancements to market. We have chosen to focus our efforts on doing this for the software created by cutting edge researchers.”

“I have led teams that have been successfully innovating global enterprise software here in Utah for many decades. We prioritize SVS’s engagement and contribution to the Utah innovation community by attracting national and global investor capital, attention from corporate licensee partners and the broader technology transfer community and serving as a catalyst for our highly-regarded local Utah talent,” said Djokovich. “For investors, because we know how to successfully scale software businesses, SVS reduces risk and improves return-on-investment by rapidly accelerating time-to-market for potentially profitable ideas.

“And, we’ve established the Summit Venture Studio Solutions Network as a platform for identifying and collaborating with diverse expertise in the Utah community,” Djokovich said. “One of our objectives for our SVS Solutions Network is to discover, utilize and develop service providers in order to support our businesses and potential future founders. A second objective is to also discover, utilize and develop management teams for our businesses as exit partners.”

Summit Venture Studio works with PIVOT Center to discover and cultivate software innovation coming from the U, guiding invention disclosure initiatives and collaborating with software developers to assess their technology and market potential. Software innovations are designed, developed and deployed via dedicated SVS go-to-market teams, including product-market validation and application development, targeted on the creation and launch of new products and companies. Summit Venture Studio also provides software inventors access to its global network of business and distribution partners to expedite commercial growth through its “Discover, Develop and Deploy” framework. Djokovich and Bench have demonstrated that emerging software inventions will generate new software features, new products, startup companies and even spawn entire new categories and markets.

“Summit Venture Studio is an essential element of Utah’s innovation community and will increase commercialization of the abundance of software solutions being developed at the U,” said Keith Marmer, chief innovation and economic engagement officer for the U. “SVS has the leadership to succeed—with tens of millions of users of their collective solutions, Peter and Taylor have innovated powerful recipes for software go-to-market success. Peter is leveraging 40 years of experience building a global software company in Utah and applying lessons learned.”