Darden Venture Lab

  • Darden Venture Lab (DVL) provides dedicated workspace, scheduled programming, grant support, and community engagement to select, full-time Darden students actively managing early-stage ventures with traction. DVL is distinct from Darden courses that focus on educating, building, and validating ventures. Student companies in DVL already have momentum and are aggressively pursuing product/market fit (PMF) with different demands than those of founders addressing minimum-viable product (MVP) challenges.

    Components

    Teams receive the following:

    • Up to $5000 grant ($2500 Fall + $2500 Spring) per venture team
    • Dedicated workspace
    • Monthly guests focused on actionable outcomes – guests will meet with group collectively, followed by one-on-one sessions
    • Bi-weekly in-person and online venture check-ins
    • Online access to mentor and Ask platform
    • Inclusion in incubator alumni community
    • Mentorship from experienced founders and industry experts
    • Access to partner resources and programs, with over $25,000 of in-kind benefits from Amazon AWS, SendGrid, Gusto, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, and Airtable

    Eligibility

    A venture must meet the following criteria to be considered:

    • At least one (equity) founder is a current Darden student
    • Venture is incorporated (for-profit and non-profit entities welcome)
    • Founder retains active role in the startup and can provide measurable evidence of progress and traction (e.g., user adoption, sales, social impact)
    • Darden founder(s) commitment to participate in all check-ins and guest sessions

    Dates and Deadlines

    Ventures meeting the criteria will be considered by a panel consisting of the incubator director, incubator mentors and Darden faculty. Interviews may be required, at the discretion of the panel.

    Applications for fall participation are due no later than 19 September at 1:00pm EDT. They will evaluated on a rolling basis as received, and in-person interviews, if needed, will take place on 21 September. Please reference the downloadable PDF for preparation and online application.

    Workshops will typically consist of a monthly lunch with a guest speaker. Check-ins are bi-weekly and include online discussions throughout the term. The initial workshop for the fall is scheduled for 28 September – additional details are forthcoming with acceptance.