Over the last year, CU Boulder scientists and engineers have developed solutions that address various challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including diagnostics, environmental sensors, supply chain innovations and more. These technologies require entrepreneurial support and acceleration to rapidly be brought to market and address the urgent needs related to the pandemic.
Venture Partners at CU Boulder—the university's commercialization arm—has launched the Pandemic Hyper Accelerator for Science and Technology (PHAST) to support the translation of these CU-developed, COVID-19 innovations into new businesses.
“There is no shortage of good ideas on campus. What often differentiates ideas and impact, though, is the translation and practical application of those ideas,” said Bryn Rees, CU Boulder assistant vice chancellor for research and innovation and managing director of Venture Partners. "That’s the goal of PHAST. We're bringing together leading technologists, entrepreneurs and startup resources along the Colorado Front Range to take COVID-19 solutions out of the lab and into the field."
The six-month accelerator program starts virtually in June. Participants receive entrepreneurial training, funding and mentorship from seasoned Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, altogether worth over $75,000. PHAST also culminates in a Demo Day, which provides a chance for angel investors, venture capitalists and the startup community to see pitches and discuss deal opportunities.
Crucial to PHAST's programming is the partnership formed with local angel investing group Rockies Venture Club (RVC), as the program requires participants to complete RVC's 1-week HyperAccelerator.
"The HyperAccelerator’s purpose is to focus on commercialization strategy and preparation for venture capital investment, which is what these companies need to launch and move out of the labs and become successful businesses," said Peter Adams, Executive Director of RVC. "The Rockies Venture Club’s partnership with the University of Colorado is an important step in the evolution of the HyperAccelerator program to facilitate the rapid commercialization of the impressive pandemic related innovations coming out of CU."
CU Boulder's PHAST program was selected for funding among more than 200 proposals, receiving a $500,000 federal grant and $125,000 local match. This funding is a part of $29 million that will be awarded to 44 organizations across the country as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge.
Last year, the SPRINT Challenge was launched to harness America’s entrepreneurial potential to address the economic, health and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation. Awardees include nonprofits, higher education institutions, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations that demonstrated alignment with their region's economic development priorities.
About Venture Partners at CU Boulder
Venture Partners at CU Boulder brings the university's world-class researchers together with the business, startup and entrepreneurial communities to translate groundbreaking solutions into economic and social impact. As the commercialization arm of CU Boulder and UCCS, Venture Partners prepares campus innovators to bring technologies and ideas to market through IP and licensing consultation, entrepreneurial education, startup formation and support, partnerships, early-stage funding and more.
About the Rockies Venture Club
Rockies Venture Club is the longest-running and one of the largest angel investing groups in the U.S.A., founded in 1985, whose mission is to advance economic development by actively connecting the most promising entrepreneurial companies with angel investors, venture capitalists, and other community members. Every year Rockies Venture Club offers over 140 educational programs, mastermind groups, angel investor forums, and two major conferences for both investors and entrepreneurs.