BYU Column: BYU tech leads to one of the fastest growing companies in America
Students walk to and from the Wilkinson Student Center on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo during the first day of the Fall 2020 Semester on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald
Brigham Young University is well known for being a key player in tech startup.
Over the past decade, four companies with BYU ties have achieved unicorn status — startups that hit the billion-dollar mark before going public.
The next one might be on the way. Coreform LLC, a startup created from and fueled by BYU tech, is the fastest growing simulation company in America, ranking No. 594 in the Inc. 5000 list. The company grew out of the research of BYU professor Michael Scott and builds engineering simulation software commonly used in the automotive and defense industries.
“A major application of our software is computer models that crash cars virtually rather than in real life,” Scott said. “The software allows engineers to build and run those simulations faster and more accurately than ever before with fewer expensive physical prototypes.”
Coreform is the latest example of intellectual property created through BYU faculty research and then, through the work of the BYU Tech Transfer office, licensed to a startup company. BYU ranks No. 4 in the nation among the best universities for technology transfer, according to the Milken Institute.
Scott serves as a senior advisor to Coreform and a number of his BYU graduate and undergraduate students have also taken roles with Coreform, which is also the 15th-fastest growing company in Utah. In addition to achieving commercial success at Coreform with technology spun out of his lab, Scott is also ranked in the top 0.1% of researchers in his field.
Coreform CEO Matt Sederberg, a BYU grad, said the special relationship with BYU is mutually beneficial. Sederberg himself launched an entrepreneurial effort through BYU’s business plan competition (T-Splines) that was later acquired by multinational software giant Autodesk. Sederberg left a position with Autodesk to lead Coreform starting in 2016.
“The dynamic between Coreform and BYU is really exceptional,” Sederberg said. “The PhD work and research happening at BYU can be shaped by actual industry needs and those students then form a great talent pipeline for us.”
Scott added: “We’ve been able to mix the research impact and the commercial impact and also maintain a pretty unique mentored learning environment for students. BYU is the only university I’m aware of that would be open minded enough to see the value of our unique strategic relationship. It is really to their credit that they could capture the vision of what we are trying to do.”
Coreform software is used, globally, by hundreds of customers across many disciplines, including automotive, consumer products, and nuclear energy. They also have ongoing projects with a number of government entities, including the Department of Energy, the Navy and the Army.