OTCV UMass Startup Initiative

OTCV (formerly CVIP)  in the President’s Office established in 2012 the OTCV UMass Startup Initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to assist faculty and the OTCV/OTM offices with the commercial development of important technologies discovered on our campuses through the formation of new companies based on University technology.

Initiative Background and Objective

The Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property in the President’s Office has instituted the UMass Startup Initiative (UMSI) to foster the creation of startups at UMass. This program augments other funding initiatives which currently include the OTCV Technology Development Award and the UMass Co-Investment Equity Fund.

We believe the creation of additional new companies will benefit the University in several important ways which include increasing the University’s entrepreneurial activities, increasing the rate of commercialization of our early stage technologies and contributing to the University’s economic development efforts. In addition, we are aware that many of our investigators have expressed strong interest in seeing the technology developed in their laboratory reach the marketplace through the startup route.

The UMSI will make five thousand dollar ($5,000) grants available to the UMass campuses to prepare business plans that address the commercial potential of inventions disclosed to OTCV. The business plan will be prepared by an external consultant with relevant commercial experience working closely with the key investigator of the disclosed invention. OTCV will assist with the selection of the consultant. The business plans will be used by OTCV to determine the feasibility of a startup and after that determination OTCV will assist in seeking management and then investment for the new companies.

Initially the awards will be available on a request basis. All applicants will be asked to submit a brief application describing the technology, its commercial application and the rationale for creating a startup. Selection of the awardees will be made by OTCV with the assistance of an external advisory group.

Eligible Technologies

To be eligible:

  1. The technology must have been developed primarily at UMass.
  2. The technology has to have been previously disclosed to OTCV with a OTCV Invention Disclosure form.
  3. At least one leading researcher must be a UMass employee or graduate student enrolled in a UMass degree program, and named on the Invention Disclosure.
  4. The technology must have significant commercial potential.
  5. The technology would be best commercialized through a startup rather than by licensing to an existing company.
  6. Technologies cannot already be covered by a license or subject to option unless the business addresses a new market not covered by the license.
  7. The status of any patent, copyright or other IP protection at the time of the application is not critical.
  8. A startup based on the technology has not been previously formed.
  9. Technologies from all disciplines will be considered.

Criteria for Selection and Award Grant

The Initiative will give preference to applications for technologies that are novel, have significant market potential and are best suited to commercialization through the formation of a new company. Specifically:

  1. The technology must be novel.
  2. The technology must address a demonstrated market need.
  3. The technology must address a market of sufficient size that will justify further investment in the future.
  4. The technology must lead to products or services that are a significant improvement over the competition or products/service under development.
  5. The technology commercialization is best accomplished through a startup.

Use of the $5K award will be limited to development of a business plan for the technology and its application as described above.

Applying for Awards

Applications must be submitted by an investigator at UMass. Your OTCV/OTM Case Manager is available to assist. The application must contain the following information:

  1. A cover page with name of the Principle Investigator, department, campus address, email, telephone number, title of the technology and the Invention Disclosure number (ie UMA 10-12). If possible attach a copy of the Invention Disclosure.
  2. A description of the market need or problem being met by the proposed product and services.
  3. Your estimate of the addressable market size.
  4. A description of the solution including a brief description of the technology and the products and services that can be developed.
  5. Description of the existing state of the commercial market including identifying any competitors.
  6. Any information you may be aware of pertaining to the technology’s advantages over existing technologies/products/services.
  7. Any other information you may have on the specifics of forming a new company. For example, potential management team members, funding sources or your experience with other startups.

For more information contact mbernier@umassp.edu or your campus OTCV/OTM office.