This article is published in the March 2022 issue.

Faculty Startups and Corporate External Research


Chris Ramming, Senior Director of Research and Innovation at VMware, CRA Board member, and Computing Research Association-Industry Steering Committee member, recently presented on Faculty Startups and Corporate External Research during Innov8rs Connect’s Startup Collaboration & Ecosystem Engagement February 15-17, 2022 event.

Many companies grow through a balance of organic (through corporate research translation processes) and inorganic (through the acquisition of other companies) innovation. VMware, a faculty-led startup from 1998, is grounded in insight from academia and now has many decades of experience with organic and inorganic integration.

In his talk, Ramming shared a number of best practices that can help ensure a productive, positive relationship between companies and faculty entrepreneurs. They include:

  • working with the right persona at the right time;
  • knowing when an idea has “graduated” from pre-competitive to competitive research;
  • agreeing on intellectual property regimes that support all parties; and
  • leveraging research relationships for mutual benefit.

VMware, like many companies, values startups that are grounded in  peer reviewed research results. As Ramming observed, if the research community has already done its due diligence and finds an idea compelling, a company can more confidently take that research and continue to move it forward. These positive collaborations with academia are critical in fueling both organic and inorganic growth in companies. It is a win-win!

To see the full presentation, including a number of VMware specific case studies, sign up for Innov8rs Connect here to watch the recording.