Discovery Capital Investment Program
The Discovery Capital Investment Program provides early-stage companies commercializing University technology with crucial seed funding to help accelerate the process of turning breakthrough research into a commercially available product.
The program invests up to $350,000 in qualifying startup companies formed from university technology that are currently developing their product or service. Investments must be matched by an equal or greater outside investment and approved by the Discovery Capital board of advisers.
Companies interested in Discovery Capital funds must submit a business plan and an investor presentation outlining the fundamentals of the business opportunity. We will consider the potential return on investment when selecting companies for funding, and will not consider companies that have previously received equity capital from other outside investors.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
SBIR & STTR Funding Programs
SBIR & STTR are federally funded programs that offer opportunities for small businesses to partner with research institutions like the U of M. Learn more about how to access these programs in Minnesota from the Minnesota High Tech Association.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program lets small businesses engage in federally sponsored research to explore its technological potential and profit from commercializing new technologies.
The program aims to:
- Stimulate technological innovation
- Meet federal research and development needs
- Foster participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals
- Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations from federal research and development funding
The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program stimulates a partnership of ideas and technologies between innovative small businesses and research institutions.
The program requires a small business to formally collaborate with a research institution like the U of M in Phase I (feasibility and proof of concept) and Phase II (research and development), allowing it to bridge the gap between conducting basic science and commercializing new discoveries. More than $2 billion is available each year for small businesses in a wide variety of technology areas.
- Stimulate technological innovation
- Foster technology transfer through cooperative research and development between small businesses and research institutions
- Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R&D
Conflict of Interest Program
The Conflict of Interest Program lets U faculty have a more active role in startup creation and lets startups contract for use of University facilities during an SBIR or STTR grant.
Under this program:
- Faculty members will hold a majority interest, and the University will hold a significant equity position.
- In the early stages, the held equity will have no financial value.
- The faculty member will be responsible for designating which startup employee will serve as principal investigator and lead the grant work.
- The company will hire the designated person when the grant is awarded and will take an equity position.
- When a startup receives an SBIR or STTR grant, we will work with the faculty member to recruit a formal management team and transition the faculty member's leadership role in the company.
- Startups can arrange to use the faculty member's University lab via a sponsored research agreement.
- Grant funds can cover the costs of using a University lab, but the faculty member will not receive compensation directly from the company.
- Standard disclosure and oversight mechanisms will be put in place.