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New Venture Development

UMass Lowell's New Venture Development provides a path for university-owned innovation to become a startup. We also provide support and resources for external startups seeking to do business with the university.

The New Venture Development is a mix of university resources and equity investment designed to provide a path to, and facilitate more, startup activity at UMass Lowell. We help teams explore and develop potential commercialization strategies, test market assumptions, recruit university and non-university expertise and talent and secure early-stage funding. Funding sources include commercialization grants, internal and external competitions, state and local financing mechanisms and private funding.

This activity paired with strong intellectual property resources, speeds early commercialization efforts and better prepares our university-related startups for other financing opportunities. We also manage the River Hawk New Venture Fund which pools licensing revenue and committed alumni contributions to make pre-seed and seed stage investments into University-affiliated technology.

Stage 1

Targeting

NVD works to develop relationships with teams that are:
  • Interested in competing for a National Science Foundation I-Corps Team grant, President’s Office Technology Development Grant, MassCEC grants, or other commercialization grant opportunities
  • Currently working on a technology that has been secured with a provisional patent filing
  • Participating in NVD Programs like Tech Venture Program or eBITES Lecture Series
  • Identified by NVD staff as having some of the necessary components to be a potential spin-out 
  • Highly motivated to fully explore the start-up potential of their technology, and are willing to work with NVD to achieve the necessary product and strategy development to test their assumptions

Cultivation

Teams at this stage include:
  • Well engaged teams that have self-declared their start-up interests
  • Teams that have completed the Tech Venture Program and continue to be highly engaged
  • I-CORP participants
Activities in Cultivation Phase
  • NVD helps with the drafting of initial executive summary, core value proposition messaging, and introduction to mentors
  • 1:1 meeting with NVD Staff 
Incentives for Teams
  • Sharing of Markets Trend Summaries and Reports relevant to the Project

Assessment

Teams at this stage have completed at least one of the following:
  • Provisional Patent Filed
  • Proof of Concept Demonstrated
  • Completed I-CORPS Team Cohort
  • Have finished work related to outside commercialization grants
  • Start-up potential identified by Office of Technology & Commercialization (OTC) internal IP Assessment
Activities in Assessment Phase
  • In-Depth Market Study
  • Slide-Deck developed for pitching during assessment committee sessions
  • Assessment Committee working sessions
  • Final Report with recommendations from Assessment Committee group
Incentives for teams
  • In-depth market study and pitch development support
  • Invitation to Assessment Committee Meeting to gather feedback from relevant industry experts
  • Team dedicated Mentor and NVD Entrepreneur-in-Residence assigned

Stage 2

Onboarding

Teams at this stage have:
  • Received recommendations from Assessment Committee, and agreed upon a short term action plan 
  • Identified a Faculty point of contact, and at least one other team member to drive project progress
Activities in Onboarding
  • Feasibility testing and development on the project and technology
  • Initial Plan and Milestone Creation using internal resources
  • Identification and Onboarding of an 'Expert' technical consultant who helps create a well-defined milestone & plan document
  • Non-technical program manager (internal from NVD) to assist with: market strategy, product-market fit, and more refinement of the value proposition
Incentives in Onboarding
  • Output of the feasibility study and action plan 
  • Addition of team members including mentors and EIRs as required
  • I-CORPs site grants and resource support
  • Access to other internal grants such as NSF ICORP Micro Seed grants

Resource development

Activities in this stage are personalized to the team, but can include:
  • Hiring a technical expert or early potential business lead to create a well-defined milestone & start-up plan
  • Ongoing NVD support for refining of slide decks, networking, and participation in industry conferences
  • Product development planning
  • IP Planning

Plan execution

NVD provides ongoing support of teams by:
  • Helping teams identify early executive team members
  • Creating a more formalized milestone plan with consensus from external advisors and internal stakeholder
  • Facilitating interaction with investors, getting early feedback
  • Formalizing the startup through entity creation
  • Initiating the process of shortlisting Board of Advisors 

Stage 3

Startup scaffolding

Prior to spin-out, the NVD team acts as in-house executive-level management, providing leadership and strategic direction to small teams. This helps in development of strategic milestones, secure funding, and establish initial outside operations. 

Entry Criteria for Startup Scaffold Phase
  • 1 year plan of defined milestones to address the recommendations from Assessment Committee and Technical Advisors (Product, Technical, Fundraising & Team Development) 
Activities in Startup scaffold phase
  • Development of Resources on Marketing Materials: Website, Executive summary, Pitch presentations, Job descriptions 
  • Checklist for Launch: Team Acquisition, Incorporation, Expert Advisor List

Fundraising

Activities in the fundraising stage include:
  • Opportunity to pitch at the River Hawk New Venture Fund for pre-seed investments
  • Micro Seed Grants through NSF ICORP Site 
  • Facilitation for SBIR and other external grants
  • Supporting fundraising efforts through accelerators and private investments

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