Along with our partners, VentureLab supports a wide variety of early-stage funding and educational programs to help bring your research-based startup to life.
Georgia Research Alliance
GRA is a nonprofit organization that works with the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. GRA has a commercialization grant program dedicated to spinouts based on research from Georgia universities. The $50k Phase 1 and $100k Phase 2 grants, awarded to the university, are intended to help researchers reduce market and technical risk as they work towards commercialization of the technology. GRA also offers a Phase 3 loan of up to $250,000 that is made directly to the spinout company once it has launched. Projects receiving GRA grant funding are also eligible for the GRA Venture Fund, which makes equity investments in GRA-funded companies after extensive due diligence.
The GRA process begins with preparation of the Phase I Pre-Proposal, a brief document explaining the invention and the team’s initial plans for commercialization. Successful applicants will be invited to meet with GRA staff and subsequently submit a full proposal.
If you’re interested in GRA funding for your startup, check out the pre-proposal template and GRA’s guidelines for use of funds, and then contact us to get started.
|Pre-Proposal Template||Guidance for Use of GRA Funds|
|Phase I Template||Phase II Template||Phase III Template|
The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program was founded in 2011 with the twin goals of increasing the quality of startups emerging from NSF-funded basic research, while teaching NSF researchers about entreprepreneurship and how to recognize opportunities for commercializing their research. Georgia Tech is the home for I-Corps South, one of seven regional nodes for the I-Corps program.
The national I-Corps program includes a $50,000 grant and a six-week customer discovery boot camp. A lineage to NSF research (or participation in an approved regional program; see Atoms and Bits below) is required to qualify. You apply to national I-Corps as a team consisting of a PI (usually a professor), an Entrepreneurial Lead (typically a graduate student), and a volunteer industry mentor. Teams submit a one page application followed by two or three short conference calls with the program managers. A decision is made within a few weeks. Over forty teams from Georgia Tech have completed the I-Corps national program.
Two to four new I-Corps cohorts start each quarter in January, April, July, and October, so applications are on a rolling basis.
For more details, review the application template with VentureLab’s tips for I-Corps success, and then contact us for help.
|Applying and Preparing for National I-Corps|
The I-Corps South Node brings together the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee Knoxville to develop the southern regional network of NSF’s I-Corps.
I-Corps South introduces research labs, colleges, and universities throughout the Southeast to the evidence-based entrepreneurship methodology and courseware, ultimately increasing commercialization outcomes in each of the participating states. The I-Corps South Node has the potential to reach more than half a million graduate students, and many thousands of the nation’s research faculty.
Atoms & Bits
Atoms and Bits is a Regional I-Corps Program hosted by I-Corps South and sponsored by the National Science Foundation. It’s a 6-week program for teams of 2-4 people interested in commercializing research. Teams must apply and be accepted in order to participate.
The course consists of a 2-day kickoff workshop, 4 weekly meetings, and a 1-day concluding session. It combines in-class lectures with out-of-class learning. You will develop your business model by “getting out of the building” and interviewing people; therefore, participants will need to commit at least one day a week on top of class time to succeed in this program.
Successful participation in Atoms and Bits makes teams eligible to apply for the national I-Corps program, even if team members have not received NSF funding in the past. To get started, submit your application for an upcoming cohort.
CREATE-X offers a series of programs targeted at undergraduate Georgia Tech students interested in establishing a solid foundation for their startup based on evidence-based entrepreneurship. The first program, Startup Lab, is a for-credit course in which students learn how to systematically vet ideas and validate market need. In Idea 2 Prototype (I2P), also a for-credit course, students get faculty mentors, guidance, and seed funding to build functional prototypes of their ideas. The capstone of the CREATE-X program is Startup Launch (formerly Startup Summer), an intensive program in which teams go from a developed idea or prototype to a fully launched startup. Successful teams are eligible to receive $20,000 in funding from an outside investment fund.
Although VentureLab works primarily with graduate students working on Georgia Tech-owned inventions, we’re enthusiastic supporters of CREATE-X and often provide support and guidance to teams after they’ve completed that program.
The annual Career, Research, Innovation and Development Conference is hosted by the Graduate Student Government Association and Graduate Career Development and Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. Graduate students can attend panel discussions on a range of career-focused topics, including the entrepreneurship sessions led by VentureLab staff and local startup founders. A poster competition with travel grant prizes is a highlight of the program.
VentureLab also sponsors the CRIDC Innovation Competition, in which graduate students give presentations making the case for the commercial potential of their work as they compete for $2000 travel grants.
3 Minute Thesis
The 3MT program challenges Ph.D. candidates to present their thesis work to a non-specialist audience in three minutes—with only a single, static slide and their presentation skills to help them! The international competition, which originated at the University of Queensland, was offered for the first time at Georgia Tech in 2015. Participants get workshops and one-on-one coaching from the staff of Tech’s Communications Center, and winners of the competition receive travel grants up to $2000.
VentureLab is pleased to support 3MT, as the ability to communicate complex topics clearly is critical to success for cutting-edge, research-based startups.