CSU Ventures helps inventors find their feet


Collegian | Gregory James

The Colorado State University Administration Building Sept. 9, 2019.

Isabel Brown, News Reporter

The Colorado State University Ventures team brings opportunity to students and faculty to develop technologies and paves the way for future innovators.

CSU Ventures, which is a division of the Colorado State University Research Foundation, is primarily responsible for protecting the intellectual properties of the CSU System, according to the Ventures website.


Steve Foster, managing director of licensing and compliance, wrote to The Collegian that “CSURF exists to enable the protection (patents, trademarks, copyrights) and transfer (licensing) of innovation into the global marketplace for the benefit of people, animals and the planet.”

As managing director, Foster oversees the licensing of innovations. He keeps a portfolio of innovations and can maintain the relationships he develops with faculty throughout the process.

This resource provides a great chance for researchers and other members of the CSU community to ensure their products are protected.

Foster wrote that CSU Ventures works with innovators from all over the CSU System. Currently, there are over 700 active inventions, almost 800 patents and 50 startup companies.

“Like most research universities, there are many great ideas and innovations that take place on campus,” Foster wrote.

Foster explained that involvement with CSU Ventures begins with working with the office to submit an innovation. This can be done easily through the inventor portal on the website. CSU Ventures also works with external partners, allowing for subject matter experts to help with the process.

Another resource found on the website is the FUEL Grant — part of the LAUNCHPAD FUEL program, which helps CSU innovators access funding to speed up the commercialization of their innovations. This program consists of two components: the grant and commercialization workshops, which help with customer discovery.

The website describes the LAUNCHPAD program, which was developed in 2018 and works with founders from the beginning step through to the launch of the company. Since 2007, over 60 startup companies have been launched by CSU Ventures, according to their website.

The CSU Ventures website provides an outline for how licensing is accomplished for the invention. Through collaboration with the innovator, they begin by marketing it and finding companies they know that might want to use the innovation. Once the company is found, CSU Ventures begins to negotiate the license.


This resource is very helpful for those who are unsure where to start when it comes to licensing.

According to the CSU Ventures annual report for 2021, there were 96 inventions disclosed, 198 patent applications, 62 issued patents (of which 35 were international), five startup companies and $4.07 million in license revenue.

The annual report also outlined the Innovative Excellence Award, “presented to CSU researchers whose innovations have been transferred to industry or are exhibiting a high potential for commercial success,” according to the report. It is an award that shows the value of the inventions made by those involved with CSURF and the CSU Ventures chapter.

“We are eager to work with anyone who has a great idea that has potential to fill an unmet need,” Foster wrote.

Reach Isabel Brown at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @isabelbrown02.