Kinect Capital was originally known as the Technology Innovation Center by Dr. Wayne Brown and Bradley Bertoch. It was renamed Wayne Brown Institute® after Dr. Wayne Brown died unexpectedly in 1988. Dr Brown, the former Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah and founder/co-founder of multiple investor-backed companies, including Kenway Engineering (HK Systems), TerraTek (Schlumberger), Native Plants (Agridyne Technologies). As a leading authority in technological innovation and entrepreneurship/commercialization, Dr. Brown led the launch of the Utah Innovation Center (the world’s first venture accelerator/incubator), now Kinect Capital, and served as co-architect with Roland Tibbitts of the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
In addition, Dr. Brown led Utah’s State Science Council where he spearheaded legislation to create the Utah Technology Finance Corporation (now Innoventures) and Utah’s Centers of Excellence program (now TCIP), while also successfully negotiating with the U.S. government to obtain military land for the establishment of the University of Utah’s Research Park. VCO Board members created Utah Ventures (now Pelion Partners, Utah’s first venture fund), SLC Angels, Salt Lake Life Science Angels, and the Park City Angels which is one of three most active angel groups in the country. VCO’s expertise was integral in the creation of Zions Bank’s venture debt program, the Salt Lake County venture debt fund revolving loan fund, and the MountainLands Revolving Loan Fund.
The Kinect Capital mission is to improve the human condition through technological entrepreneurship by helping new entrepreneurs create the next generation of industry leading companies.
Our vision is to empower emerging and diverse entrepreneurs to create technologically and commercially sustainable companies that increase high-quality jobs and new economic opportunities in under-served regions of the US.
Formed in 1983 as an educational 501(c)3 non-profit, Kinect Capital (or VCO®) was the first venture accelerator and has become the most efficient, cost-effective economic development organization in the United States.
VCO continues the legacy begun by Dr. Brown by educating entrepreneurs and company executives through its Cooperative Venturing® program, mentor-based training in the art and science of becoming attractive, viable investment-worthy companies, the essence of commercialization.
To date, Kinect Capital has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs, with over 850 companies participating in the organization’s annual Investors Choice® Capital Conference, the oldest venture capital conference in the U.S. Held each February, Investors Choice attracts hundreds of Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, and Strategic Investors to Utah for the opportunity to hear the investment pitches of dozens of vetted and mentored firms seeking outside capital.
On average over the last 5 years 60%+ of companies at this event have raise capital by year’s end, and the total has been $40+ million. Since 2009, VCO alumni companies have realized over $10 billion in investor payouts via M&A Public Offering transactions, including such firms such as Omniture, Sonic Innovations, Myriad Genetics, and Ancestry, High West Distillery among others.
And on a national basis, Kinect Capital has launched tech commercialization programs in Alabama, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New York, and Texas.