By Anna Lynn Spitzer
Irvine, CA, May 16th, 2014 -- A startup company born at Calit2 was lauded earlier this month at a University of California event that showcased the university’s technology commercialization efforts.
Steve Jenks, co-founder and chief scientist at Hiperwall, Inc., was asked to participate on a panel at the day-long “Technology Commercialization Forum: Opportunities for Transfer and Translation.” But even before his afternoon appearance, UC President Janet Napolitano called out Hiperwall in her opening remarks, mentioning the company’s beginnings as a UC Irvine research project, and applauding its current success in the marketplace.
Hiperwall, Inc. was launched in 2008, spun off from NSF-funded research conducted in Calit2’s Visualization Lab. The company produces a software system that converts standard computer monitors into ultra-high resolution display walls capable of showing high-resolution images, HD video, HD streaming content and PC applications simultaneously in a variety of sizes and ways.
The system uses “sender” technology and a user-friendly interface to transfer data from any laptop or desktop PC directly to Hiperwall monitors, which are easily installed in any configuration. “You plug your PC right into the network and you’re done,” Jenks said.
Last year, UC researchers reported more than 1,700 new inventions and launched 71 new startup companies; since 1976, more than 1,800 U.S. patents based on university inventions have been granted, with 719 startups founded on those patents.
The UC event was held on May 8 in Northern California; it showcased ongoing university-wide research, focusing on 20 projects in the “pre-startup” phase and their potential for commercial application.
Jenks participated on the event’s “Building a Product” panel, along with two other former UC researchers who founded or are leading startup companies.
“It was an interesting panel because we all had very different paths to the companies and products, so the panel had plenty of different perspectives,” Jenks said. “Hiperwall has been established the longest of the three but the other companies seem to have very interesting and potentially very valuable products.”
The panel answered questions from the audience about their experiences as they transitioned their research into marketable products. “I praised the Calit2 environment for encouraging technology commercialization, making it very clear how valuable Calit2's support was,” Jenks said.
He added that introducing Hiperwall to a new audience and “having UC President Napolitano mention Hiperwall by name” made the trip worthwhile. “Even though I hate squeezing myself into tiny airplane seats,” the nearly-7-ft.-tall entrepreneur said, “I was happy to participate in the hopes that someone thinking about starting a software company may have had some questions answered or been otherwise helped.”