Today, my chair has obtained a 500.000 EUR research transfer grant ("EXIST-Forschungstransfer") for funding a start-up in the area of Web application testing. This project has been running mostly undercover for the past two years, and I'm more than happy to see it kick off now.
Right now, the EXIST funding secures the WEBMATE team such that they can prepare for building and monetizing the service. The team consists of three scientists (Martin Burger, Valentin Dallmeier, and Michael Mirold) as well as an experienced IT entrepreneur (Bernd Pohl). In the past months, these four have spent countless hours interacting with potential customers, business angels, and venture capitalists. (If you've seen me in a suit in the past months, that typically was due to one of these activities.) At this point, let's simply say that both the research and financial prospects of automated system test generation are very promising.
From a personal perspective, I will act as mentor and shareholder of our start-up. At the chair, we will use WEBMATE for our own research purposes, though; and if our new techniques work well, we now have a process to bring them to the public (and earn money at the same time). And sure, it feels good to be a professor and an entrepreneur at the same time :-)
To learn more about WEBMATE, see us at CeBIT (Hall 5, D04 for our start up, and Hall 9, F34 for our research), visit our website, or read our papers. If you're a journalist, check out our press release.