Batten Institute

Batten Institute - Ventures - Venture Lab

VentureLab Incubator

VentureLab Incubator supports the development of new entrepreneurs and the growth of promising early-stage ventures.

Since its first cohort in 2000, VentureLab has provided nearly $1.5 million in grants to upwards of 275 companies, supporting nearly 450 founding team members.

VentureLab welcomes applications from any team with at least one founder who is a current student, faculty, or staff at UVA, including College at Wise. Submissions by UVA alumni from the past three years will also be considered. Cofounders not affiliated and alumni who graduated in 2016 or prior may participate in VentureLab as long as the primary cofounder remains an active participant.

VentureLab is an initiative of the Batten Institute at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, which has sponsored an early-stage, summer incubator program for more than twenty years.  VentureLab represents the latest evolution of this program, which was previously housed at the UVA i.Lab.

If you have any specific questions about the program or the selection process, please contact Jason Brewster, the program’s director. 

> Preview 2020 application (PDF)

> Preview 2020 Incubator syllabus (PDF)

VentureLab Benefits:

  • Up to $7,500 in non-dilutive grant funding for each venture;
  • Additional supplemental support, up to $5,000, available for current Darden students (founder/co-founder) selected for the program;
  • Dedicated workspace during the summer residency (June through August);
  • Regular workshops, online resources and special events;
  • Legal support (e.g., incorporation, operating agreements);
  • Mentorship and advisory support from experienced founders and industry experts;
  • Access to community and connections;
  • Immersion in the principles of effectuation;
  • Eligibility to apply for the Kathryne Carr Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence;
  • Potential for investment consideration by the UVA LVG Seed Fund.

VentureLab Expectations:

  • Active minimum viable product/service (an “MVP”) and consistent product/service development for the duration of the program;
  • Full-time participation during the residential portion of the program (June - August);
  • Attendance at key events throughout the year;
  • Being a positive and contributing member of and resource to the cohort.

Note: Teams without a UVA affiliation should consider the Catalyst Accelerator Program.

VentureLab Timeline (2020)

  • 6 December 2019: eCup early access interviews
  • 6 January 2020: Online application available
  • 22 January 2020: Program overview and application workshop [Register]
  • 29 January 2020: Application submission deadline (extended to 11:59 pm on 29 January)
  • 5 – 7 February 2020: Applicant interviews
  • March through May: Limited programming (e.g., law clinic, legal support, mentor engagement and introduction to the principles of effectuation)
  • June through early August: full-time summer residency (online for 2020)
  • 5 August: VentureLab Demo Night @ UVA Darden (Charlottesville, VA)
  • September through November: on-going check-ins, online engagement
  • November: VentureLab Demo Night @ UVA Darden DC Metro (Rosslyn, VA)

VentureLab Speaker Schedule

With the 2020 VentureLab program operating remotely, we are opening up our weekly speaker sessions to those outside of the incubator program. 

Date Topic Speakers
Tues June 9 Effectuation Part II: Art of the Ask

Professor Saras Sarasvathy and Doug Lebda (EMBA '14), founder and CEO of LendingTree

Wed June 17 VC101: from Pitching to the Term Sheet

Jeff Bocan, Partner at Okapi Venture Capital

Wed June 24 Startup Toolkit for Iterating on the MVP

Professor Raul Chao

Wed July 1 Velocity of a Startup

Professor Damon Devito

Wed July 8 Leveraging Uncertainty: Lead Like an Entrepreneur

Professor Saras Sarasvathy

Wed July 15 The Defensible and Differentiated Idea

Faraj Aalaei, Founding Partner at Candou Ventures

Wed July 22 Startup Realities of Project Management

Professor Yael Grushka-Cockayne

Wed July 29 Pitching to the Stakeholders

Professor June West

Wed August 5

Founders Panel 



The University of Virginia and the Darden School of Business are closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic, with the top priority to ensure the safety of community members. Stay informed with the latest updates from UVA and Darden, and learn about changes to operations.