Engineering startup incubator signs first tenant

The UC Davis Engineering Translational Technology Center (ETTC) has signed its first tenant.

PutahGreen Systems, Inc., founded by computer science professor Biswanath Mukherjee, focuses on software technology that reduces internet-scale network router energy consumption by as much as 75 percent.

Mukherjee’s start-up will occupy a portion of the 8,000 square foot space available to tenure track engineering professors whose high-impact, innovative ideas are well past the early research and discovery stage, but need to develop sufficiently to demonstrate proof of concept or financial viability to investors. Tenants have up to 18 months to reach investment viability, paying month-to-month and per square foot occupancy. ETTC is currently working with more than ten other prospective tenants, with one close to finalizing an agreement.

“This is our first success story,” said Bruce White, Dean of the College of Engineering. “We are looking to a bright, productive future for ETTC and the faculty who make use of it to establish their businesses.” White pointed to broad support from the UC Davis community in getting the incubator center started, and noted particularly the guidance and assistance from David McGee, executive director of the Office of Technology Transfer, and Peter M. Siegel, CIO and vice provost for Information and Educational Technology, who was instrumental in arranging a donation from the campus of two large commercial grade routers for the Center.

“But I particularly want to thank Chancellor Katehi for her strong support for this idea that has now become a reality,” White said.

White announced the new ‘incubator’ center last month. The aim is to help UC Davis engineering researchers commercialize their work.

A critical service provided by ETTC is business and technical advice for the professors, their hired staff and the fledgling companies they are establishing. UC Davis alumnus Jim Olson ’72, an experienced entrepreneur and former CEO, volunteered his time and expertise to the establishment of the incubator center. Recently Olson accepted a paid position with ETTC as a consultant, supported by sources other than the College of Engineering general fund. He acts as an advisor, confidante, coach and mentor to the faculty entrepreneurs.

ETTC’s advisory board will provide advice and counsel on operations, fundraising, public relations, and evaluation of start-up proposals. Their leadership and connections in the business, government and technical community will benefit ETTC and the faculty who use it to establish their companies.

Under the leadership of Engineering Dean Bruce R. White, ETTC’s board includes Professor Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering; Peter Van Deventer, President and CEO of SynapSense Corporation; Associate Professor Raju Pandey, in the Department of Computer Science; Spyros Tseregounis, Faculty Coordinator in the Office of Corporate Relations, University Relations; Professor Karen McDonald, in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering; Greg Gibbs, Director of Corporate Relations in the College of Engineering; Professor Prasant Mohapatra, Chair of the Department of Computer Science; and Jim Olson, ETTC Advisor.

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