A HISTORY OF LEADERSHIP IN THE EQUITY FINANCING OF BUSINESSES
For over three decades, the Wayne Brown Institute (WBI), a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, has been a premier resource for both entrepreneurs seeking funding and for investors who want to help promising young companies achieve their potential. WBI has become the most efficient, cost effective, economic development organization in the country.
MISSION: The Institute’s mission is to improve the human condition through technological entrepreneurship for the purpose of creating new wealth, jobs, and tax base. WBI was the first organization of its kind to accomplish this by transferring knowledge, experience, contacts and capital from the world’s leading business and financial organizations to promising companies. Formed in 1983 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization, the Institute was the first venture accelerator and has become the most efficient and cost effective economic development organization in the country – a leader in technology commercialization and building the high-tech capacity of Utah and the intermountain west region with programs in both Utah and Idaho.
HUMAN CAPITAL: The Institute has a dedicated team in the Board of Trustees supported by a passionate staff. Current and past WBI Board members co-founded: UV Partners (Pelion Partners), SLC, Park City, WBI, the Salt Lake Life Science Angels groups, the MountainWest Capital Network, National Business Incubation Assn. (NBIA), and many others. They have also worked closely with Zions Bank in the creation of its venture debt initiative, and refocused Salt Lake County’s Revolving Loan Fund into a highly successful venture debt fund. Nationally, the Institute has launched tech commercialization programs in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, New York, Illinois and Idaho.
HISTORY: WBI was founded by the late Dr. Wayne Brown who held positions in mechanical engineering and had served as Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah. In addition to his academic postings, he was a founder of Kenway Engineering (HK Systems), TerraTek, NPI (Agridyne Technologies), the Utah Innovation Center (the world’s first venture accelerator/incubator) and Utah Ventures (now Pelion Partners, Utah’s first venture fund). By virtue of his academic, government, and business background, Dr. Brown was a leading authority in technological innovation and entrepreneurship (commercialization). Many of the world’s science/research parks, innovation centers and incubators have their roots with Dr. Brown. In addition to his many accomplishments, he affected the role of government in innovation and entrepreneurship as the architect with Roland Tibbitts of the national Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Later as head of the State’s Science Council he spearheaded legislation to create the Utah Technology Finance Corporation (UTFC), and Utah’s Centers of Excellence program. He successfully negotiated with the U.S. government to obtain military land for the establishment of the University of Utah’s Research Park. His knowledge, experience and passion live on in the Wayne Brown Institute, its staff, its investor led Board, and its countless supporters.
RESULTS: Today, the Institute continues this legacy by educating companies through mentor-based training in the art and science of becoming attractive and viable investments – the essence of commercialization. To date, the Institute’s over 500 Utah alumni companies have raised over $8.5 Billion in financial transactions. According to a recent study in 20091, WBI Utah Alumni companies posted $1.3 billion in sales, employed 6,600 Utahns directly and over 15,000 indirectly, generating almost $50 million a year in State taxes. Each year, Institute mentors (some 250) donate between 5,000 – 10,000 hours, allowing the Institute to provide nearly 1% of the venture quality deal flow in the U.S. This has been accomplished through establishing value-added relationships between entrepreneurs, capital providers, and key professionals who specialize in equity capital-backed businesses. These education-based offerings allow entrepreneurs to commercialize their business by successfully presenting their opportunity to investors. According to a third party study, 70% of WBI Alumni companies raise capital and 80% are still in business after 10 years.