In just the last three years, more than 86 commercially-promising projects at CU Boulder have received funding through LVC. Through this funding, 39 new startup companies have been launched and collectively, they have raised over $90 million to date in follow-on financing. LVC demonstrates a powerful way to advance innovative research and translate it into impactful business ventures.
Watch the video below to hear from past winners about their LVC experience:
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- The subject innovation must fall within one of the seven defined areas: advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, or technology and information.
- An invention disclosure form for the subject invention must be received by Venture Partners. UCCS investigators are eligible to apply. CU Denver investigators in physical sciences and engineering are eligible to apply. CU Denver investigators in biomedical disciplines and all CU Anschutz investigators should apply with CU Innovations.
- The primary applicant must be a CU Boulder professor, or an eligible UCD or UCCS professor, with a lab.
- If the applicant has received a prior award under AIA or LVC for the same invention that is the subject of a 2020 LVC application, the total amount of funding, including the present application plus the prior award(s), cannot exceed $150,000.
- If the invention is already licensed/optioned, the licensee/optionee company cannot have raised more than $500,000 in investment capital. Where a company has raised over $500,000, the Advanced Industries Accelerator Early Stage Capital Retention Grants is a more appropriate resource.
Want the chance to win a portion of more than $1.25 million in total funding for your innovation? Up to $125,000 (including 8% F&A) is available per award in total costs, consisting of two subcategories:
- Proof of Concept
Up to $100,000 is available for answering critical experimental questions that will help to validate the technology for commercial applications.
- Business Development
Up to $25,000 is available in support of early commercialization activities. Funds may be used for customer discovery, market assessment, startup formation expenses, website development, intellectual property ($10,000 max), travel ($5,000 max) and accelerator fees. If patent expenses are anticipated during the award term, then applicants must include such expenses in the budget, up to the $10,000 maximum. Other business expenses may be eligible upon specific request. Need guidance? Your Venture Partners case manager can provide you with details on IP expenses and suggestions for how to best allocate your Business Development budget.
Funding under the Lab Venture Challenge comes from Colorado's AIA program, Venture Partners and a share of CU Boulder’s IP licensing revenues. The observed funding rate over the last three years was approximately 28%. Project duration can be up to 24 months for physical science awards and up to 36 months for bioscience awards.
State funding requires a match of 25% of the total project costs. For example, an applicant requesting $125,000 in total funds would request $93,750 from the State and $31,250 in matching funds. Matching funds are available from Venture Partners only for CU Boulder applicants. Matching funds may be provided by a partnering company, or by another campus or another department in the case of eligible UCCS and CU Denver applicants. Venture Partners does not provide matching funds for UCCS and CU Denver applications.
Applicants are encouraged to reach out to their Venture Partners contact with any questions about eligibility, and/or to discuss ways in which their applications may be strengthened, especially with regards to the commercialization section of the application.
The AIA program operates within the State of Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. CU receives a pre-allocation from the total available funding.
The Lab Venture Challenge is run internally at CU Boulder and, while it does benefit from OEDIT's AIA funding, is separate from the statewide AIA competition run by Colorado's OEDIT. The Lab Venture Challenge and statewide AIA programs have different timelines, funding amounts and other details. To apply to the Lab Venture Challenge, please only use the details provided on this page and within the application site. Please do not use the application guidelines on the OEDIT AIA website if applying for the Lab Venture Challenge. If you are interested in applying for the statewide AIA program, please visit their website. Please also note that if you apply to and win both the Lab Venture Challenge grant and the AIA Proof of Concept grant, you will have to choose one award.
New this year, LVC Phase II is intended for past LVC winners that have demonstrated excellent progress since their initial award. Phase II awards will provide up to $50,000 as a “final push” to spin advanced commercialization projects out of the university.
Apply for LVC Phase II
Applicants must meet the following elibility criteria:
- An option agreement or license to partner startup must be executed prior to application submission.
- The PI on the application must be an eligible PI per the Office of Contract and Grant's (OCG) rules.
- The innovation must have already received an LVC Phase I grant, OEDIT Proof-of-Concept grant or other similar commercialization grants.
- The total funding received from OEDIT for the innovation cannot exceed $150,000. If you have received OEDIT or LVC funding in the past, please work with Senior Licensing Manager Dipika Singh at email@example.com in determining funding eligibility under this program.
- The PI cannot have an active OEDIT/LVC award at the time of Phase II award disbursement.
- The related startup cannot have raised more than $500,000 in private investment.
- If the related startup has received the OEDIT Early Stage Capital & Retention grant, please reach out to Senior Licensing ManagerDipika Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure eligibility.
Schedule & Key Dates:
- Sept. 17: Budgets and signed Proposal Submission Request Forms are due to the Office of Contracts and Grants (OCG).
- Please contact your proposal analyst if you need help with or have questions about the budget. UCCS and CU Denver applicants need to submit to their respective grants and contract office.
- If your budget includes travel costs, you or your proposal analyst must obtain approval from Dipika Singh. Under no circumstances travel costs can exceed $5,000.
- Sept. 24: LVC application due by 5 p.m. If your technology or invention is not currently patent-protected, contact your Venture Partners case manager to work on your IP strategy.
- Week of Oct. 25: LVC Phase II funding will be awarded. (There is no pitch competition as part of LVC Phase II.)
Funding Awarded: Up to $50,000 can be requested. Venture Partners will also provide the same matching fund percentage that is provided in LVC Phase I.