Startups

Student Mostafa El Demery in the Raymer lab

Are you ready to fly?

Whether you are ready for Free Flight or want fly together in our VFormation program, our advisors can help you figure out your next steps toward launching a startup.
 
If you have an idea for a startup based on or using your UO research, simply email us to set up a meeting. 

  • We’ll discuss your business idea, walking you though the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal
  • We’ll walk you through an intellectual property inventory to figure out what may be protectable or who might be in your way
  • We can help you decide if this innovation can support a new business, since sometimes a one-off product is better licensed to an existing company who doesn’t have to build everything from the ground up
  • We can help you figure out how to refine your idea to make it a more likely commercial success. (Or, we may point out factors that stand in the way of commercial success)
  • We can help you identify financing options for your business, and point you in the direction of investors who may be interested in working with you or recommend our VFormation program as the next step for success
  • We can connect you to resources to support your Free Flight efforts that will help you put together a great business plan or start building one with you under the VFormation program.
  • We may even be able to give you some translational research funding to help you get started 

We have helped dozens of University of Oregon entrepreneurs launch startups. Email us today to get started. 

Chose your path

We have two models of support for university research based startups: 

  • Free Flight: For seasoned entrepreneurs who don't want or need much support. 
  • VFormation program: For new or busy entrepreneurs who want us to take care of the details for you. Read on to learn more about each type of support. 

Free Flight

On the Free Flight path, the University of Oregon is approached by a team of founders/active innovators who plan to incorporate an entity, fund it, manage it, and find the right personnel to move their technology forward. This can be faculty that are serial entrepreneurs with their own strong network and ability to tap into funding, or a seasoned startup business team that has identified a technology in UO’s portfolio they are passionate about taking to market. The university negotiates a license with this startup as it would an existing company, with some differences in the terms & conditions of the license agreement to reflect the additional risks and limitations of the smaller, unproven company. The university informally assists the startup as requested by the founders on an a la carte basis.

In Free Flight, either the university-based creators of the assets are not involved in the startup (i.e. their contribution is not required to make the technology work) or they participate as founders, on the science advisory board, or in a consulting capacity, under an applicable Conflict of Commitment/Interest Management Plan.  If they want to be an officer of the company,  they should obtain pre-approval under the university’s Conflict of Interest and Commitment process to participate in that role for a time-limited period.

VFormation

On this path, the University of Oregon takes a larger role in managing the startup company project, from the early days of the innovator disclosing the technology, to the development of the business plan by UO (e.g. Innovation Technology Fellows project, IPS development, external consultants), to the identification and recruitment of entrepreneurial talent and the securing of financing.

The balance of UO and founder leadership can shift, evolve and trade-off as necessary to meet the needs and challenges of the moment. The goal of the university is to perform the necessary activities to create a strong infrastructure and network for developing the technology, but not to remain in a controlling position for longer than necessary to execute this launch. The innovators on this path can be in a supportive role to the startup or can be very active founders participating in the formation alongside UO.  Regardless of role, UO assists the innovators in obtaining any necessary approval under the university’s Conflict of Interest and Commitment processes.

VFormation Pilot Program

VFormation, operating within IPS, was created to assist faculty and staff members at the UO in forming jointly owned new companies that will attempt to attract entrepreneurs to act as business managers, seek funds to incubate technologies and build business operations around UO intellectual property. Working with the IPS VFormation team to form a company is a voluntary exercise and is not required by UO policy as part of an entrepreneurial endeavor.  IPS launched this pilot program in June 2019 as one of the options for bringing more UO startups online and will be working to bring different options to the program over the next two years.  This guidelines document is intended to provide founders with an understanding of the mutual requirements, responsibilities and expectations for creating companies through the IPS VFormation Pilot Program at UO.  If you have any questions, contact us at techtran@uoregon.edu.