2023 Dates and Deadlines
- 2023 Competition Information Session—Watch Now
- 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 regard to the commercialization section of the application.
The application for 2023 is now closed
- Aug. 18, 5 p.m.: Deadline to disclose inventions
- Sept. 1, 5 p.m.: Deadline to contact your Sponsored Projects Office about your request for budget
- Sept. 15, 11:59 p.m.: Deadline to apply to LVC
- Week of Oct. 2: Finalists Announced
- Oct. 9, 10 a.m., BaseCamp at the Pearl East Innovation Campus: Pitch Academy (in person on the CU Boulder campus)
- Week of Oct. 23: Pitch Practice 1 (in person on the CU Boulder campus)
- Week of Oct. 30: Pitch Practice 2 (in person on the CU Boulder campus)
- Nov. 8: Biosciences Showcase
- Nov. 9: Physical Sciences Showcase
- Nov. 3, 10 and 17: Starting Blocks Customer Discovery Workshop—Apply Now
- Nov. 29: State of Colorado Questionnaire Deadline
- Spring 2024: Research-to-Market (R2M) Customer Discovery Program—Apply Now
- March-April 2024: Awards will be distributed to winners
LVC applicants must meet the following criteria:
- CU Boulder and 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 CU Denver or UCCS professor with a lab.
- 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.
- Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the NSF I-CorpsTM Hub: West's Starting Blocks Customer Discovery Workshop, an experiential program that helps teams create and refine a value proposition using the customer discovery process. Historically, LVC applicants unable to address these topics in detail do not receive funding.
- There is a $125,000 maximum that an applicant may receive from LVC for a single invention. If significant progress has been made towards a new product or a new venture since a prior LVC award for the same invention, a new proposal with advanced aims will be considered, subject to Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) rules. Preapproval is required if you have already received LVC or other OEDIT funding. Please reach out to Amy Dodenhoff, director of LVC. Multiple applications for different inventions are permitted.
- If the applicant has received a prior award under the OEDIT Advanced Industries Proof of Concept Program for the same invention that is the subject of a new LVC application, the total amount of funding, consisting of the present application plus the prior award(s), cannot exceed $150,000 from the state of Colorado. State funding accounts for 75% of each LVC award.
- 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 OEDIT Advanced Industries Accelerator (AIA) Early-Stage Capital and Retention Grant is a more appropriate resource.
- Two concurrent OEDIT awards are not allowed. If the Principal Investigator (PI) or the innovation currently has an LVC or an OEDIT award, that award must be completed before the LVC Showcases of the current application year.
Funding and Budgeting
- Up to $125,000* (including 8% F&A on total direct costs for the state fund portion only) 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.
- Up to $25,000 is available in support of early commercialization activities.
- Applicants must include $10,000 for patent expenses.
- The remaining business development funds are often used for:
- Customer discovery
- Accelerator fees
- Travel ($5,000 maximum recommended) to/from any of the above
- Startup formation expenses
- Website development
- Market assessments
- Regulatory-related consultants or costs incurred during the award term
- Other business development expenses are eligible, but these funds cannot be used to fund technical development or proof of concept.
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 (which is equivalent to 33.33% of the requested state funds). 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. For eligible UCCS and UCD applicants, matching funds are often provided by lab startup funds or the researcher’s department. Matching funds cannot be sourced from federal grants or in-kind services.
Funding under LVC comes from Colorado's Advanced Industries Accelerator (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 25% over four years.
The AIA program operates within the State of Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). CU receives a pre-allocation from the total available funding.
Requirements for Finalists and Awardees
Pitch Coaching and Practice
All selected finalists are required to participate in a pitch training workshop called Pitch Academy prior to the final showcase (more below). Pitch Academy teaches high-tech entrepreneurs and startup founders how to engage a business-centric audience and attract funding. Following the workshop, finalists will then participate in two mandatory pitch practice sessions to receive critical feedback from CU Boulder mentors and the Venture Partners team.
Live Pitch at Final Showcases
LVC culminates in a two-night final showcase, with one event featuring bioscience innovations and a second event for physical science and engineering innovations. Selected finalists will deliver 7-minute live pitches to a panel of business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and intellectual property experts. The final showcases are open to the business and university community and serve as a forum for finalists to showcase their innovations.
Required NSF I-CorpsTM Hub: West Customer Discovery Programs
Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the Starting Blocks Customer Discovery Program before applying to LVC. Starting Blocks is a 3-day customer discovery workshop designed to help scientists and engineers of all types find a market for their innovation by conducting meaningful customer interviews.
All LVC awardees who have not completed Starting Blocks before applying to LVC must complete the program during the award term. If a startup is contemplated or underway, the LVC awardees are required to complete the Research-to-Market (R2M) Customer Discovery Program within the award term. This greatly strengthens eligibility for future funding and training programs and is a deeper dive into the process of customer discovery to find a product-market fit—critical to taking cutting-edge technology into the marketplace.
Failure to comply with these requirements means that the team will no longer be eligible for future funding opportunities from or managed by Venture Partners.
Ascent Deep Tech Accelerator
Finalists that have begun or plan to commercialize their innovation through a startup company are encouraged to enroll in the Ascent Deep Tech Accelerator during the award term. This program will provide critical training and early milestone accomplishment, including incorporation, founders agreements, Intellectual Property (IP) agreements (option, license), and coaching to secure further funding.
Lab Venture Challenge (LVC) and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT)
LVC is run internally at CU Boulder and while it does benefit from Advanced Industries Accelerator (AIA) funding, is separate from the statewide AIA competition run by Colorado's OEDIT. LVC and statewide AIA programs have different timelines, funding amounts and other details.
To apply to LVC, 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 LVC. 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 LVC grant and the AIA Proof of Concept grant, you will have to choose one award.
- Your Venture Partners Licensing Manager can provide you with details on Intellectual Property (IP) expenses, suggestions for how to best allocate your Business Development budget and connect you with entrepreneurial training opportunities.
For general questions about LVC:
If you need help with or have questions about your budget:
For any post-award questions about your grant no-cost extensions, subcontracts, budget changes, Principal Investigator (PI) changes, Statement of Work (SOW) changes, etc.,
- Please contact Jennifer Stroh, OCG's contract officer assigned to all Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) awards.
Watch the information session for the 2023 competition
Frequently Asked Questions
No; this is the deadline for new invention disclosures to be submitted Venture Partners. If you have already submitted an invention disclosure(s) for the technology that you are using to apply for LVC, then you do not need to submit anything new.