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News | 2 min read

VCU’s new Startup Accelerator will propel university research

March 12, 2024

VCU’s new Startup Accelerator will propel university research that has market potential

After years of supporting startups that license inventions created by university researchers, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation has launched its first formal Startup Accelerator program.

“Our accelerator will fast-track our VCU-borne companies, giving them more personalized coaching and advisory services from our lineup of entrepreneur experts-in-residence,” said P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation. “Innovation is taking place at a rapid pace at VCU, and this program will further raise our national visibility and continue to position Central Virginia as a key American technological hub.”

VCU is the 47th-ranked public research university in the U.S., as reported by the National Science Foundation. VCU’s $406.9 million in research expenditures for 2022 represents a 12 percent increase over the year prior, when the university reached the $400 million expenditure mark for the first time. The university’s sponsored research funding for fiscal year 2023 was $464 million, representing a 71 percent increase over the past five years.

For VCU faculty researchers, the accelerator is designed to put startups on formal timelines and hit targeted goals. The program includes meetings with advisors and entrepreneurs-in-residence, development of a customized business strategy and help with applications for funding. It culminates with a springtime pitch event that will award cash prizes and additional support to winners.

The accelerator is led by the VCU TechTransfer and Ventures team, which is responsible for protecting university-generated intellectual property and facilitating its commercialization. Last year, TechTransfer and Ventures issued 26 patents, filed 165 new patents, executed 29 licenses and brought in $3 million in licensing revenue. It also granted 12 licenses to startups.

TechTransfer has been responsible for supporting formation and development of startups based on VCU-owned IP since August 2021. Since that time, the office has established a program providing startups with coaching, entrepreneur-in-residence support and expert advisory support from the office’s licensing managers.

Read the full story here.