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Starting New Companies

Services and Resources for Start-up Companies

Why Start a Company?  There are many reasons. Technologies may be too early or too risky for established companies; start-up companies can be highly innovative and fast-moving; federal grant programs are increasingly focused on “broader impacts”; and the Commonwealth wants UMass to help in job creation and economic development.

Help Getting Started - Creating a start-up company often begins with the inventors, but few inventors have experience in business development.  The Technology Transfer Office and the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship are working to develop programs that provide hands-on support and assistance to such new companies.  Those programs launched thus far are:

The Envisioning Process.  For many faculty, student and postdoc inventors, it is hard to see themselves starting a company.  The Envisioning Process is a series of about 5 meetings between the TTO staff and potential entrepreneurs, to give them basic information and perspectives on how a company is formed, defining products and markets, how start-ups are financed, and many other topics outlined at this link:  Envisioning Outline

The Entrepreneurs-In-Residence (EIRs) – The Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement has recruited two business-savvy alumni to serve as EIRs, who provide ad hoc advice to current or potential student, faculty and staff entrepreneurs at UMass Amherst. 

There are currently two EIRs.  Steve Willis is a computer science alumnus, and has started and led many highly successful networking and internet communications companies, including Wellfleet and Argon.  You can read more about Steve here: https://www.cics.umass.edu/content/steven-willis.  Eric Crawley is an engineer with leadership experience at Akamai and other internet companies, and he is also a consultant for venture funds considering start-up investments.  You can learn more about Eric here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericcrawley.

The EIRs are generally on-campus one day per week or every other week, and will be glad to meet with you, no matter how early or undeveloped your business idea may be.  To schedule a meeting, please email Maryanne Laukaitis at maryanne@research.umass.edu

The Berthiaume Venture Mentor Service - The Berthiaume Venture Mentoring Service (BVMS) provides mentors to students, faculty, staff and alumni of UMass-Amherst who seek support in launching and growing their business venture.  Our mentors include serial entrepreneurs, domain experts, financiers and others with entrepreneurial experience.   BVMS matches mentors and mentees based on the needs of the entrepreneur/venture and the mentor’s expertise.  It provide mentees with multiple mentors in order to provide a variety of points of view.  More information can be found here: Berthiaume Venture Mentor Service

OTCV UMass President's Office - The Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures in the UMass President's Office offers a tutorial "So, you want to start a company" that can be found at their website. The tutorial is a guide for faculty, students and researchers who may want to start a company.

UMass Investment Fund – UMass created an investment fund in 2006 so the University could invest in new companies based on UMass technologies. The fund is managed by the OTCV in the President’s Office. Investments can be made solely by the University or together with investments by a qualified venture capital firm or angel investor.  Investments are limited to $500,000, and are usually made in several installments based on the company reaching incremental product development goals.  More information can be found here:  UMass Fund

Additional Resources

UMass Innovation Challenge

BPlans.com

Entrepreneur.com

Entrepreneurship.org

MassChallenge

The Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center

Springfield Technology Park

Steve Blank - Lean LaunchPad

UMass Amherst Digital Library Patents & Trademarks

Licensing Technology Guidebook