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.
An ideal way to start “getting out of the building” and discovering the commercial potential of your research or invention, the I-Corps Site at Georgia Tech program provides instruction and travel reimbursement for early customer discovery.
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 entrepreneurship 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 Teams program includes a $50,000 grant and a six-week customer discovery boot camp. A lineage to NSF research (or successful participation in an approved regional program or our I-Corps Site program) is required to qualify. You apply to national I-Corps as a team consisting of a Technical Lead (usually a professor, although senior researchers and postdocs can serve in this role), 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 seventy 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.
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.
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.
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.