University of Virginia faculty, staff, students and alumni have access to a range of funding sources that support venture teams across all stages — from prototype to growth capital. The primary sources of funding include: competitions, accelerator programs, angel groups and venture funds, as well as University, state, and federal translational research funds.
The University of Virginia Entrepreneurship Cup (ECUP), provides a total of $100,000 in awards across all three stages of the competition: Concept, Discovery, and Launch. The E-Cup is open to all UVA undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
The Galant Challenge connects ventures from the UVA community with potential investors. This exciting event has successfully funded ventures with more than $2 million in capital, in just the past few years alone.
- The NSF i-Corps program introduces scientists and engineers to real-world, hands-on training that helps move ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace. Program participants can apply for up to $2,700 in grant funding to conduct customer discovery, market research or purchase supplies to create a prototype. Successful teams become eligible to apply for the NSF National I-Corps Program, an intensive seven-week program that provides up to $50,000 in grant funding.
- VentureLab Incubator at UVA Darden is open to early stage ventures from the Charlottesville community, with a focus upon MVP and initial market development. The program provides up to $5,000 in grant funding, dedicated workspace, mentorship, workshops, legal support, and other resources.
- Catalyst is a long-format accelerator, providing high-potential startups in central Virginia with nine months of program support, including: $20,000 in grant funding, dedicated workspace, experienced founders-in-residence, monthly programming, dedicated staff, a large network of industry experts, and access to nearly $50,000 in additional resources.
Angel Groups and Venture Funds
The Charlottesville Angel Network (CAN), with a membership of greater than 70 accredited investors, puts their skills, connections and capital to work to help entrepreneurs succeed. In addition to CAN, a range of regional angel groups and state-funded funds invest in early stage companies across and beyond the state: CIT Gap Funds, 757 Angels, Central Virginia Angels, Shenandoah Valley Angels, Launchplace, and others.
According to Crunchbase, there are nearly 100 venture funds in Virginia, with most firms located in greater Washington, D.C. Firms in Central Virginia include: NRV, Trolley and Riverflow. Statewide, firms include: New Enterprise Associates, Grotech, Revolution Ventures, Route 66 Ventures, QED, In-Q-Tel and others.
Translational and Commercialization funds
- The Coulter Translational Partnership program promotes, develops and supports translational research collaborations between biomedical engineers and clinicians in order to accelerate the successful translation of appropriate innovations to improve patient care.
- The Biomedical Innovation Fund was created by The Ivy Foundation to support biomedical innovation and translational research projects.
- 3 Cavaliers is a rapid seed-funding program that enables creative, collaborative and consequential research ideas.
- The Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) as well as the CRCF Matching Funds program advance science and technology-based research, development, and commercialization to drive economic growth in Virginia, create and foster high-potential technology companies in the Commonwealth, as well as encourage and strengthen collaboration between the public and private sector.