Invention Disclosure

The Engine process begins when a completed Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) is submitted to and received by TVC. A business and technology development manager (BTDM) and a TVC analyst are then assigned to the technology.

Week 1: Understanding the Invention

The following activities take place in week one: 1. The analyst and the BTDM meet. The BTDM makes sure the analyst has a rudimentary understanding of the invention disclosure.

Week 2: Meet with the Inventor

The BTDM, analyst and inventor meet. In this meeting TVC's representatives ask questions that help them understand both the invention as well as the vision of the inventor for the technology better.

Week 3: Value Proposition & Technology Overview

The analyst defines the invention's value proposition and creates a technology overview of the same in layman's terms. These are critiqued in the important weekly "Throwdown" meeting.

Week 4: Market Overview Analysis

Using advanced business market tools, the analyst performs an in-depth market analysis of the invention. They determine what the invention's primary market is, its size and if it is increasing or decreasing.

Week 5: Competitive Landscape Analysis

Using advanced business market tools, the analyst performs an in-depth competitive landscape analysis of the invention. As part of this analysis they generate a list of ten competitors,...

Week 6: Intellectual Property Analysis

From week one to week six the BTDM will have been performing a prior art search and intellectual property analysis on the invention. At week six the BTDM meets with the analyst to discuss his or her findings.

Week 7: "Pass Week"

The analyst sends refined versions of the invention's value proposition, technology overview, market overview,...

Week 8: Priority Rating

The analyst fills out a rating sheet that is used by the BTDM to determine the invention's initial priority status. Inventions are marked as high, medium or low priority.

Week 9: Two-Stroke
Document Creation

The analyst combines their final versions of the invention's value proposition, technology overview, market overview,...

Week 10: Two-Stroke Document Revision

The Economic Development team sends their revised Two-Stroke document to the BTDM. The BTDM reviews it, provides insights, adds elements and may ask for revisions.

Week 11: Two-Stroke Document Finalization

The BTDM finalizes the invention's Two-Stroke document.

Week 12: 12-Week Meeting & Invention Stage-Gate

The BTDM, analyst and select TVC employees meet with the inventor to discuss the results of their previous ten weeks of invention analysis (formalized in the Two-Stroke document).


The objective of the 4-Cylinder stage is to identify stakeholders--or anyone who can influence the commercialization of the invention--test assumptions, gather feedback and define critical commercialization milestones.

Pre-Accelerator Task 1

Before a technology enters the Search Accelerator the following three tasks must first be accomplished: 1. Picking a Team. Each team will consist of:

Pre-Accelerator Task 2

Completing the Business Model Canvas. After the team has been selected, they will meet and come up with initial strategies for the nine parts of the Business Model Canvas:

Pre-Accelerator Task 3

Selecting Five Key Assumptions to Test. Because all technologies that enter the Search Accelerator are early, they will consist of little more than assumptions (untested hypotheses).

Team Weekly Accelerator Task 1

The Search Accelerator lasts ten weeks. Each week there are specific team and team member deliverables. Following are the team deliverables:

Team Weekly Accelerator Task 2

2. Test the Week's Experiment. The team tests their weekly experiment by talking to ten people in their technology's market(s) about their technology.

Team Weekly Accelerator Task 3

3. Meet Together. The team meets before the weekly Throwdown meeting to:

Team Weekly Accelerator Task 4

4. Throwdown Presentation. The team must attend the weekly Throwdown meetings. At these, the team delivers a PowerPoint presentation that addresses:

Team Weekly Accelerator Task 5

5. Critique Other Presentations. A vital part of the weekly Throwdown meetings is critiquing the work of the other teams.

Team Member Tasks

Each member of the team has specific deliverables they must accomplish every week. Following are links to those tasks:

Accelerator Goal 1

1. Create a scalable and repeatable business model for the technology that is capable of raising a Series A round of financing. As the team receives feedback from the contacts they interact with each week,...

Accelerator Goal 2

2. License the technology or move it to the Execution Accelerator.

Execution Accelerator

The Execution Accelerator is designed to define a series of progressive milestones for the technology to hit and then help the technology's team achieve these.

Analyst Weekly Accelerator Task 1

1. Schedule ten phone calls. Based on team availability, the analysts schedule ten phone calls to test that week's experiment against.

Analyst Weekly Accelerator Task 2

2. Add to database. Every contact the analysts make is added to that team's Salesforce database. If the contact is a potential licensee, the analyst flags them as such.

Analyst Weekly Accelerator Task 3

3. Conduct ten phone calls. The analysts lead the ten weekly phone calls, each of which is roughly 30 minutes long and is recorded.

Analyst Weekly Accelerator Task 4

4. Upload to Launchpad Central. The analysts upload a summary of each interview as well as the audio recording of the same...

Analyst Weekly Accelerator Task 5

5. Create the weekly Throwdown Presentation. The analysts create the PowerPoint presentation for the visionary to present on at the weekly Throwdown meeting.

Analyst Weekly Accelerator Task 6

6. Attend the weekly team and Throwdown meetings.

Analyst Weekly Accelerator Task 7

7. Watch a one-hour Udacity presentation online.

Mentor Weekly Accelerator Task 1

1. Watch a one-hour Udacity presentation online. The mentors and advisors will be one week ahead of the rest of the team.

Mentor Weekly Accelerator Task 2

2. Read through and critique all interviews uploaded into LaunchPad.

Mentor Weekly Accelerator Task 3

3. Attend the weekly team and Throwdown meetings. At these meetings the mentors and advisors listen...

Mentor Weekly Accelerator Task 4

4. Lead the designing process of the experiments. Based on the results of the previous week's experiment, the mentors and advisors ...

Visionary Weekly Accelerator Task 1

1. Ten phone calls. Although the analysts will lead the ten phone calls, the visionary is responsible for being on every call.

Visionary Weekly Accelerator Task 2

2. Attend the weekly team and Throwdown meetings.

Visionary Weekly Accelerator Task 3

3. Present at the weekly Throwdown meeting. Although the analysts will prepare their team's PowerPoint presentation...

TVC Analysts

TVC analysts are students at the University of Utah who are pursuing either an advanced science or business degree. TVC selects a broad range of analysts to cover the wide range of fields inventions at the University come from. Each analyst receives intensive training on technology commercialization, including the Business Model Canvas, and is both mentored and monitored by TVC's business and technology development managers (BTDMs) throughout their time at TVC. TVC employs 15 analysts at a time. Each analyst is assigned three technologies.


Business & Technology Development Managers

TVC's business and technology development managers manage the assessment, marketing and protection of intellectual property created at the University and assist in the management of technology commercialization operations. They have extensive experience both in industry and in the advanced sciences.


Throwdown Meetings

Throwdown meetings are a crucial part of the Engine process. At these weekly meetings each analyst submits their current work to the other analysts and select members of TVC's Economic Development Team for review. This work is then critiqued and suggestions are made for improvements. In many of these meetings expert guests are invited to provide their input.


Two-Stroke Document

The Two-Stroke document is a comprehensive report providing a detailed overview of an invention disclosed to the University. It is created at the end of the Two-Stroke stage of the Engine. It contains an invention's value proposition statement, a technology and market overview, a competitive landscape analysis, a prior art/intellectual property review and a commercial opportunity analysis.



Mentors are individuals with highly specialized skills and many years of industry experience. At the beginning of the Search Accelerator stage of the Engine they are assigned to technologies that match their expertise. They help guide the progression of the technology, connect the technology's team to the right contacts, and help set the right milestones for the technology to meet for its successful commercialization.


Marketing Path of the 4-Cylinder Stage

If a technology has been deemed fit for commercialization at the end of the Two-Stroke stage it takes one of two paths as it enters the 4-Cylinder stage of the Engine: it is either marketed to potential licensees or it enters an Accelerator. Technologies that are either highly specific or compliment a company's existing portfolio are good candidates for being placed on the marketing path. For each technology that enters this phase, a marketing piece called a "Non-Confidential Summary" (NCS) is written. The NCS is then revised and marketed to a list of at least 50 potential licensees.


Search Accelerator Path of the 4-Cylinder Stage

If a technology has been deemed fit for commercialization at the end of the Two-Stroke stage it takes one of two paths as it enters the 4-Cylinder stage of the Engine: it is either marketed to potential licensees or it enters an Accelerator. The Accelerator is a ten week derisking and value-adding program at TVC designed to take technologies from an early-stage to having a scalable and repeatable business model. The Accelerator provides support to select inventions through mentoring, product development and the testing and refining of assumptions through the Business Model Canvas. The end-goal of the Accelerator is for inventions to be licensed and ready for investment by investors.
The answers to the following four questions are used when deciding whether or not a technology is a good fit for the Accelerator:
1. Inventor or lab engagement/commitment. How committed is the inventor to moving his or her technology through the Accelerator process?
2. Potential ROI to the University. How much revenue could this technology, once commercialized, generate for the University? Like any business, those technologies with the most monetary potential take higher priority.
3. Depth of mentor engagement. How deep is the experience and knowledge level of the mentor assigned to this technology? Technologies with the most experienced mentors are given a higher priority.
4. Platform technology. Does the technology have the potential to create a platform of commercial products? Those that do are given a higher priority.
Only ten technologies are in the Search Accelerator at a time and no more than 50 go through it in a year.


Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool developed by Alexander Osterwalder. It allows businesses to describe, design, challenge, invent and pivot their business model. More specifically, it is a simple graphical template describing nine essential business components: customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, resources, activities, partnerships and costs. Learn more here:


Overview of the Commercialization Engine

The Commercialization Engine at Technology & Venture Commercialization (TVC) is a value-adding and prioritizing process that all University inventions undergo upon disclosure to TVC. TVC takes new technologies, evaluates and de-risks them, and, where possible, turns them into viable commercial opportunities. This process is a documentation driven framework of discovery and validation, technology acceleration, prioritization, milestone identification, IP protection, the formation of marketing strategies, risk mitigation, resource allocation and accountability. The goal of the Commercialization Engine is to take early-stage technologies and through a process of amelioration, transform them into life-changing and productive applications.

On a macro level, the Commercialization Engine was created to address the challenge of answering critical commercialization questions about invention disclosures such as: "What is the new idea?", "What is the opportunity for this new technology?", "Who should we engage to help us commercialize this technology?", and "What will it take to effectively address this opportunity in the market?" TVC has incorporated many of the latest entrepreneurial ideas and texts from thought leaders around the world into the Commercialization Engine and molded them to work in a university setting.

The Commercialization Engine is split into three progressive stages to focus efforts on milestones that help de-risk, vet and develop University technologies. These stages are named after different engine sizes: the two-stroke, four-cylinder and the V8. Each engine size represents the level of resources, development and understanding of the market opportunity for the technology and the stage of that technology's development. Each of the three stages has specific deliverables and objectives that must be met in order for a technology to move on to the next stage.



Visionaries are the inventor, a post-doc or a graduate student in the inventor's lab.



Advisors are individuals knowledgeable in the invention's field but cannot commit as much time to the team as mentors. Like mentors they help guide the progression of the invention as it moves through the Search Accelerator.


LaunchPad Central

LaunchPad Central is an online software platform that enables teams to: track and analyze the evolution of their business model through time, increase transparency and facilitate interaction between their team members. All phone calls to individuals in industry will be uploaded here as well as audio recordings of the same.

x is a large customer relationship management (CRM) tool that teams in the Accelerator use to store and access contacts.


Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a free, online time-management web application that all Accelerator team members must use to track their availability. Users are required to have a Google Account in order to use the software.