If taking the startup trail, there are almost boundless opportunities for your venture to participate in competitions. Not only can your venture win cash prizes, competitions are also excellent ways to refine your company’s pitch, meet mentors and make connections to new team members, prospective partners and investors. CU Boulder’s flagship startup competition is the annual New Venture Challenge.
Are you ready to go all-in and rapidly progress your startup? Accelerators are an excellent and highly recommended way to quickly meet major developmental milestones for your company. Venture Partners runs Ascent, a free deep tech accelerator specifically designed for research-based startups coming out of the university trying to enter established industries. Other local accelerators include Innosphere Ventures, the Rockies Venture Club HyperAccelerator, Techstars and Catalyze CU.
“Non-dilutive” funding means that shareholder equity is not reduced. In other words, the funder does not take a piece of your company. There are a number of sources of non-dilutive funding specifically geared toward startups, including Early-Stage Capital Retention grants from Colorado’s Advanced Industries program, and the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer grants awarded by federal agencies. CU Boulder’s Center for Translational Research can help with applying for these grants.
Startups obtain proprietary access to university-developed and owned IP through licensing agreements. Venture Partners has developed an investor-validated and startup-friendly set of licensing terms. Known as Licensing with EASE®, these pre-negotiated deal structures make securing a license fast, while positioning your startup for success. CU Boulder permits inventors to both hold an equity interest in their startup while also receiving a share of any licensing revenue the university receives from the startup.
Most university startups require private investment to build their business and commercialize their licensed innovations. To help with connections to investors, Venture Partners runs Destination Startup®, an annual event showcasing the top early-stage university spinouts to a national investor audience. Startups can also pitch for investment by the Buff Venture Fund, an independent venture capital firm that invests in startups from the CU Boulder community.