The UMass Lowell River Hawk New Venture Fund is a model for university cultivation of start-up activity through early venture-style support.  Not only does it provide a path for university-owned innovation to become a start-up, but additionally we will provide enhanced mechanisms, support and resources for external start-ups within our incubator and related programming system, as well as businesses seeking to do business with the university.  This in turn grows the overall number, quality and culture for start-ups at UMass Lowell.

To address gap financing, NVD established and actively manages a $500k seed fund. As syndication is vital to secure adequate funding for our spin outs, NVD maintains strong ties to the regional angel network and regularly interact with investors from HubAngels, Mass Medical Angels, Golden Seeds and eCoast Angels. The River Hawk Fund is a member of the Angel Capital Association and participates in the ACA New England Leadership group. NVD staff have venture capital relationships that can be utilized to support portfolio companies as they mature as well.

For more information on River Hawk Fund, please contact Arlene Parquette at Arlene_Parquette@uml.edu.

Investment Criteria

The following criteria define the investment board focus in making investments:

We accept applications from faculty and student start-ups throughout the UMass system. Additionally, we will consider investments in companies that are presently part of the larger UMass Lowell community. This includes opportunities from our incubator projects, UMass Lowell alumni that are engaged in our incubator projects, and businesses utilizing UMass Lowell research and service capabilities including sponsored research, research service agreements and the core research facilities.

In addition, The River Hawk New Venture Fund looks for:

  • A scalable business model;
  • An addressable market of at least $150,000,000+;
  • Limited capital expenditure requirements to make substantial commercialization milestones that will aid in securing follow-on financing;
  • Opportunities that can be accelerated with support from outside angel investors, fund partners and advisors once development milestones and market analysis is complete; and
  • Concepts that are in industry sectors where UMass Lowell expertise and external network can aid in long-term success.

The companies in which we will consider an investment should meet these additional criteria:

  • Proof of Concept and a path to prototype or working prototype,
  • Exit opportunity is plausible within five to seven years,
  • At least two team members identified. For university spin outs, this can include a key student that can transition with the technology and a mentor or active staff adviser.

For Life Science companies, additional criteria include:

  • Protectable intellectual property


Open Access Technology

  • Open Access Technology has an online platform for data visualization. Users, regardless of their data experience, can render visualizations for any available data. It can also handle multilevel modeling for more in-depth analytics.

Cyta Therapeutics

  • Cyta Therapeutics is working on a new medical application of nanotechnology. It’s making a polymer-based nanogel, which will help physicians administer targeted therapeutics. It will make drug delivery more precise, efficient and effective.

Access Vascular Inc.

  • Vascular access devices, such as catheters and ports, are crucial to certain medical treatment plans. However, they can place patients at risk of complications, ranging from infections to occlusions. Access Vascular is creating materials-based technology to reduce these risks for people with long-term vascular access devices.