The companies listed in Section D.2 were 10 of 12 companies who were contacted in the effort to obtain a targeted set of 10 cases. Of the 12, one company, Alderon Biosciences, Inc., of Durham, NC, declined the request for an interview without saying why. A second company, Triangle Research and Development Corporation of Research Triangle Park, NC, was contacted by phone and a review requested. The company principal was in the process of moving, making a site visit impractical. Although he was willing to discuss his company’s SBIR experience by phone, insufficient information was obtained to develop a full case study. The 10 companies listed all agreed to participate in the study and provided extended in-person interviews (generally from 1.5 to 2 hours in length) and usually also provided lab tours and company reports. All but three of the interviews were conducted at company headquarters. Three were conducted in Reston, VA, at a Navy Opportunity Forum.

The selection of the 12 companies contacted was not random. The companies were selected to provide companies of different age and size, pursuing different technologies, located in different parts of the country, with differing forms of ownership, and with some, although varying degrees of, commercial success. Some of the companies are university spin-offs; some are company spin-offs; some are neither. Some received many SBIR grants; some relatively few. Some continue to obtain a high percentage of their funding from government sources; others have reduced the percentage to low numbers.

The 12 companies who were asked for an interview were drawn sequentially from the following four lists:

  1. A list of 12 companies designated “stars” by the NSF SBIR Office was compiled at the request of the interviewer. The list showed companies sorted on the basis of whether they had received no Phase IIB grants, only one Phase IIB grant, or multiple Phase IIB grants. At the request of the interviewer, the companies were also selected to provide variation in state location, company age, years to first SBIR, sales volume (with categories ranging from $1 million-or-less to more than $10 million), and to provide at least one minority or woman-owned company. The “star” designation was said by NSF SBIR administrators to mean that the NSF Program Managers expected the companies eventually to achieve “better than average success.” The following six companies were selected from this NSF list of 12: Faraday Technologies, Immersion Corporation, ISCA Technologies, National Recovery Technologies, NVE Corporation, and T/J Technologies.

  2. A list of 47 companies that had received NSF SBIR grants and were showing associated commercialization results was compiled at the request of the interviewer by the NRC research team member with responsibility for

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