The “Commercialization Engine" is a milestone-driven process that provides University inventors with business guidance (a business "Champion") and incremental funding to move their discoveries to commercialization. It has three stages and a flexible framework built to develop and execute a commercialization plan (you can read more about the Engine process by clicking here).
Opportunities to make an Engine funding request occur approximately every eight weeks. At these Engine Funding Meetings, milestones and business cases are presented with an “ask” for funds to complete the next, most critical milestone in the commercialization process.
The Engine Funding Meeting is attended by university representatives and members of the community. These community members are asked to give perspective and feedback on both the presentations as well as the milestones discussed in the presentations. The community members are made up of three types of people:
The Engine Committee meets to hear funding requests, recommend allocation of funds, review current commercialization projects, and provide guidance towards the progression of these projects. The schedule for these meetings and application deadlines can be found HERE.
The Engine Committee is focused on:
The Engine Committee is split into two industry categories: Health Sciences and Engineering/Software/Other. Qualified committee members are chosen by TVC and the VP for Research Office. If you are interested in participating or suggesting an individual for participation in the Engine Committee, please fill out the following form.
Milestones might include, but are not limited to:
Funding request funds may not be used for faculty salaries (neither summer nor academic year); travel that is not directly related to the milestones in the funding request; or office equipment, including computers (unless specifically justified).
The committee can make recommendations for changes to the budget and uses of funds that are required for the acceptance and funding of the request.
Preference will be given to funding requests that have support from a committee member or business partner willing to help (with time or funding) in the commercialization efforts.
The Engine Committee will assist in vetting and validating the funding needs of each technology in consideration. TVC and the VP for Research Office will use Engine Committee input to make final funding decisions. A technology can be awarded multiple Engine funding rounds, but all previously funded milestones must be accomplished or accounted for before a subsequent award can be considered.
The Business and Technology Development Manager (BTDM) at TVC will work with the principal investigator (PI) to prepare the funding request, identify the appropriate funding amount, and refine the PI’s slide presentation for the Engine Committee meeting. The BTDM will lead the funding request presentation with the support of the PIs and others involved in the commercialization of the technology. Once funded, TVC or the VP for Research's Office will notify the PI of the award and the PI, BTDM and any engaged business champion will begin execution of the milestones laid out in the funding request.
To apply for Engine funding the following steps must be completed:
Problem Solution Fit documentation is required for funding application submittal.
To apply for TVC Engine Funds it is required that applicants have reached a certain level of customer validation. We call this validation Problem Solution Fit (PSF). PSF is reached after interviewing and speaking with customers and influencers in the specific market of the technology that will be applying for funding. Achieving PSF typically requires specific types of interviews with end users, economic buyers, and other influencers that may touch the product/technology in question.
PSF validation is required because it ensures that any allocated funding is spent only on those activities the market or customer require. It is, however, difficult to reach true PSF as unbiased results from interviews with potential customers are uncommon. As such, we highly suggest that you speak with your BTDM at TVC to verify that true PSF has been achieved. Otherwise, TVC is happy to help you reach PSF by allocating resources from our office to help you get the required customer validation. Running PSF activities with TVC typically takes between six and eight weeks to complete and should be finished before the Engine Application is completed.
Funds will be allocated through one of two partnership models:
If partnership model #1:
To receive funds PI must do the following:
After the DSS is submitted and approved, the VP for Research’s Office will approve the funding and direct the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) to create a project number to which the PI can bill expenses.
If partnership model #2:
To receive funds PI and CEO must do the following:
Click here to view the Engine Committee meeting schedule