The total population of SBIR-STTR Awardees over life of the program now exceeds 31,989 entities of which some 9,793 are currently Program-Active
, Arguably the largest single concentration of technical talent, those having been funded include many now well-known corporations and others having made - and even more who are now making - technical contributions of major significance.
For the previous 25 years, decision to apply for SBIR research funding was far more loosely determined that it is today. The initiative being primarily that of the individuals involved - person or firm. With important focus on PI status at the time of award - versus at the time of application - it was estimated at one point several years into program operation that perhaps as high as 20 percent of the awards funding were being used
- to open the doors of the receiving entity for the first time
- and/or to bring onto the staff someone whom the small firm could probably not otherwise afford.
Our data suggests that while the latter may still be applicable, with fewer awards being made the number coming new into the program has dropped to levels not previously seen over the life of the program: see chart here.
In the near term, though there are awardees in our records marked
- "Lost Trace" - particularly among those early-involved and having very limited SBIR participation: 1,557 of them
- "No info available" despite considerable digging to include principals of the firm: another 2200+. Most were also SBIR-active in the earlier years but these also include several hundred in receipt of award within the past 8-10 years but, apparently - on the part of some, by careful choice - opt to fly under the radar
- "Out of Business" - where we know for sure - or "Out of Business(?)" where management just seems quietly to have closed the doors - sadly, a far more common occurrence in the past 5-6 years. Sometimes this involves a firm having been acquired - and we pick that up later - or simply has changed it's name - a very common occurrence which we also maintain as part of the the awardee record. In almost all cases, we will at least have some level of useful information about the firm.
However, in addition to our full and current record of every SBIR-STTR award along with other federal funding (post (and other) SBIR contracts, earmarks and plus-ups), other research funding sources (foundation, contract R&D funding etc.) our systematic compilation of data relevant to assessment of the business condition of each awardee includes
VC investment in SBIR awardees
IPOs and subsequent trading
Mergers and Acqusitions
Business partnering and collaborations
Patent issuance activity
In- and Out-licensing
Patent issuance activity