Batten Institute

Batten Institute - Ventures - FAQ

Ventures FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: Summer 2020

What’s going on with the W. L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory (i.Lab) at Darden?

Big news here! The current home of the i.Lab in Darden’s Sponsors Hall (near the Law School) will soon be making way for the Frank M. Sands, Sr. (MBA ’63) UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center for Lifelong Learning.

Sponsors Hall, originally built for faculty and executive dining, has housed the i.Lab for the past decade, providing a flexible space for the Batten Institute’s venture and innovation programs, as well as numerous Darden classes, student events, community workshops, and more.

Will there be a new i.Lab at Darden?

Yes! As Darden’s Dean Beardsley recently noted to the community, the i.Lab will be relaunched with a new home inside Darden’s main complex, placing it squarely “at the heart of the classroom building.”

This new i.Lab is expected to include flat classroom spaces, shared workspaces, and makerspaces. Construction on the new i.Lab should begin soon, and we expect it will start supporting courses, programs, and other initiatives, possibly as soon as fall 2020.

Is there still a summer incubator program?

Yes, absolutely! Our flagship incubator program, which has been offered by the Batten Institute for twenty years, is now called VentureLab. VentureLab is open by application to any current student, faculty or staff at the University of Virginia, the College at Wise, and UVA alumni from the past three years.

This summer (2020) the program is virtual. In the future, the program will make use of the new i.Lab space in Darden’s classroom building.

Are there still venture programs for people unaffiliated with Darden or UVA?

Yes! We recently launched Catalyst, a long-format accelerator program, providing early-stage startups from anywhere in central Virginia with nine months of venture support—regardless of affiliation with the University. This program is made possible through a unique partnership with (and funding from) the Virginia Initiative for Growth & Opportunity and the economic development offices of the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia.

In addition, VentureLab, our flagship venture development program, welcomes team applications that include co-founders who are unaffiliated with the University of Virginia (i.e., not current students, faculty, staff, or alumni from the past three years).

As always, many opportunities exist across all of our programs and initiatives for experienced entrepreneurs and other experts to serve as venture mentors and advisors.

What will happen to the classes that have been offered at the iLab?

Every Darden class that had previously been taught in the i.Lab (i.e., IDEA, Venture Velocity, Software Design, etc.) will transition to one of the new flat classrooms that will be built in Darden’s Classroom Building, where the new i.Lab will be located.

Will Darden students have access to a workshop/makerspace?

While Darden’s new i.Lab is under construction in the classroom building, we can help students gain access to over 15 workshop/makerspaces across Grounds. These facilities offer resources such as fabrication tools, 3D printers, and laser cutters. See MakerGrounds @ UVA for more information. We anticipate that the new i.Lab will have a makerspace for student and team use.

Will the new i.Lab location have coffee? Food?

Yes. The i.Lab’s new location in the Darden Classroom Building will be proximate to Café 67, the Abbott Center Dining Room, 24/7 vending services in Saunders Hall, and “First Coffee” in the PepsiCo Forum. 

If you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out to Sean Carr, Executive Director, Batten Institute, UVA Darden School of Business.