STAR campus attracts 12 promising startups

STAR campus attracts 12 promising startups


Check out the following article posted by The News Journal regarding the STAR Campus:

A dozen of the region’s most promising entrepreneurs will launch their businesses at the University of Delaware’s STAR campus over the coming weeks, thanks to one of the state’s largest investments in startups in several years.

The companies are the first tenants of the Delaware Technology Park’s new 10,000-square-foot incubator at UD’s science and technology campus. Called DTP@STAR, the new space will officially open Friday with a private event attended by university officials, researchers, business leaders and some of the state’s most notable politicians.

Focused on a wide range of industries, the startups include companies launched by UD faculty and ex-Duponters, along with out-of-state entrepreneurs and existing companies looking to transition into new fields.

“We’re very lucky this space became available when it did,” said Hajime Sakai, who founded the startup Napigen after losing his job as head of genetic discovery at DuPont Pioneer in January. “If this wasn’t here, we probably would have had to move to Philadelphia because there’s not much lab space like this around.”

Funded through a $3 million loan extended by the state in early 2015, DTP@STAR aims to keep early-stage companies in Delaware by providing them with access to prized “wet” labs, along with office space, ready support from UD students and proximity to some of the best researchers and scientific equipment in the state.

But if everything goes right, they won’t be staying there long.

“That’s not a bad thing,” said J. Michael Bowman, president of the Delaware Technology Park. “The goal here is to help them catch fire and grow to the point where they’re able to move to their own location and then do it all over again with the next business to come along.”

That’s the model Bowman has been using since DTP was launched in 1991 in a single building off Wyoming Road. Today, the park consists of five buildings that house about 50 companies. Over the years, the park’s tenants – including 25 that “graduated” to their own locations – have created more than 16,000 jobs.

DTP has become so popular among startups in the bioscience and tech spheres that it no longer has any vacancies. That means there is very little space left in Delaware where entrepreneurs looking to stake a claim in the hard sciences can find affordable lab space to test their theories and scale up into thriving businesses.

“My angst began to grow about three years ago about what we could do,” Bowman said. “And then along came STAR.”

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