Name: Marta Zgagacz
Title: Director of Licensing
Years at Venture Partners: 7
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
A: I’m a bit of a globetrotter. My family was always on the move, exploring new countries, meeting people, camping by the beach, or hiking with skis on our backs looking for a snowy trail. The wanderlust never left me.
I moved to U.S. when I was in high school and went on to study physics at Rutgers. I actually decided to apply to their physics program after I read the famous book by Leon Lederman. I was instantly fascinated that we know so much about this invisible particle just by observing its effects on our world. I was excited to later meet him when I was working at the Collider Detector at Fermilab, where we were looking for the Higgs Boson. We had a big party for the 20th anniversary of the experiment, where he asked me who I wanted to be when I grew up and told me a joke—I knew I was in the right place!
Q: What led you to this career and working at Venture Partners?
A: While I was studying physics in grad school, I met a few university researchers who wanted to start a company around their invention. I didn’t know at that time that technology transfer even existed! We started the company, negotiated a few licensing agreements and eventually took it public. After I left the company, I traveled around the world and loved it so much, I wasn’t sure I wanted to come back. Still, it was a natural transition to go from working for a university spinoff to working at a university with researchers to help them commercialize their inventions, armed with all the experience I gained while being in their shoes.
Q: What is your role at Venture Partners? Tell us more about what you do.
A: My team and I work with CU inventors to help them commercialize their inventions. Whether you just have an idea or a fully-fleshed out technology and want to start a company, reach out to us! We have a ton of resources regardless of where you are on the journey. It’s never too early to start learning about the value proposition for your technology and how we can help you along the way.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job and what do you like most about working on the Venture Partners team?
A: Can I expand my favorites to three? (1) brainstorming ideas for technologies developed by our amazing inventors, (2) solving puzzles, (3) negotiating agreements and sending the technologies off into the world. I think we have an amazing team—everyone has some superpower! We are all such individuals, but complement and strengthen the team in our unique ways. We have a lot of fun working together.
Q: What’s the one thing you wish you had brought with you on your trip around the world?
A: I wish I had a Kindle during my travels. I found myself hauling around piles of books in my already overstuffed giant backpack. It was customary to pick up books that were left behind at guest houses, then leave them at the next guest house after you were done. If you ran into a gold mine of things you wanted to read, it was tough fitting it all into a backpack!