This Academic and Corporate R&D Matchmaker will “Astound” You

Birmingham-based Astound has set their sights on supporting R&D in Alabama. This platform is dedicated to connecting academic researchers with companies in order to streamline how industry-funded academic research gets off the ground. Astound comes out of Mark Two Venture Studio – a Nashville-based firm focused on tech startups.

The bridge between academic research and commercialization has long been a hard one to cross. This means many breakthrough technologies struggle to be brought to life. Getting funding is a process with many hoops to jump through. 

Dr. Joel Berry, founder of Astound, describes landing research funding as a “labor-intensive and high-friction” process. Even once the funding is secured, there are further roadblocks and bureaucratic hurdles associated with tracking contract agreements and project status.

Berry said work on the idea really started as a “scholarly exercise” to better understand the market surrounding industry-funded academic research. While Berry and Mark Two have been working on the concept since last August, Astound closed its $1 million seed round from Mark Two and officially incorporated this May. The team plans to fully launch the platform in early 2023.

The team, currently made up of 6 employees, has gone through its long customer discovery phase and is now in the process of testing its prototype platform with more potential corporate sponsors.

The system will provide an automated and confidential system to match university research expertise to corporate R&D needs. With initial focus on the life sciences research community, the company intends to expand to address a broad spectrum of disciplines including engineering, computer science, and agriculture.

With an automated marketplace and smart matching algorithm, the process of finding funding can be made more efficient and streamlined. Partnership negotiations through a templated and simple system will also speed up negotiations.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

Who We Are:

Swanson Reed is one of the U.S.’ largest Specialist R&D tax advisory firms. We manage all facets of the R&D tax credit program, from claim preparation and audit compliance to claim disputes.

Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE and CPE credits for CPAs. For more information please visit us at or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.

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