Auburn partners with southeastern universities to match entrepreneurs with university startups

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Auburn University is partnering with universities around the Southeast to help bring innovative ideas and projects to the marketplace.

They have created the new Southeast Executives-on-Roster, or XOR, software platform that matches entrepreneurial faculty, students and alums with university-affiliated startup companies and management professionals.

“Auburn’s partnership with the other universities for the Southeast Executives-on-Roster program will connect our faculty inventors with entrepreneurs who can help bring their innovations to the public,” said Jennifer Kerpelman, Auburn’s interim vice president for research. “This collaborative effort is a ‘win-win’ situation for Auburn and our partner institutions.”

The project was created during the SEC Technology Transfer Directors meeting in July 2017, followed by the University of Kentucky’s Office of Technology Commercialization leading a yearlong collaborative development process. The result was the XOR software platform developed by Wellspring, a technology commercialization software development company.

By combining the resources of the universities, startup companies will have access to a larger talent pool and have a greater chance of finding funds for executive management and to ultimately succeed. Similarly, the new platform gives entrepreneurs an ability to review a larger pipeline of opportunities.

Already more than 50 select entrepreneurs have registered on the Southeast XOR platform and can search through the profiles of more than 35 initial university startup companies in the system. Auburn’s Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization has helped its faculty and students submit startups seeking management support. In addition, Auburn has prequalified experienced entrepreneurs, including Auburn alumni and members of the local community, to access the system and it continues to seek additionally interested individuals.

“The Southeast is, for the most part, often considered a ‘fly-over’ region for venture capital,” said Ian McClure, director of Kentucky’s Office of Technology Commercialization. “Universities in the Southeast, which are all very familiar with each other as members of the Southeastern Conference, are approaching this challenge together by filling a critical talent gap for early stage companies that could eventually attract that capital.

“While disadvantaged by proximity to the capital and talent pools on the coasts, this group of Southeast universities is building an advantage by acting collaboratively to create a regionally affiliated network of entrepreneurial talent and a platform to match that talent to our spin-out startup companies.”

In addition to Auburn, the universities include Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, Texas A&M University, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, University of Mississippi, University of Missouri, University of North Carolina, University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University.

Entrepreneurs or startups affiliated with Auburn that would like to be considered for inclusion should contact Cary Chandler, director of business development and startups in the Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization, at

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.