University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Starting New Companies

UMass Amherst is Bullish on Start-ups!

To help UMass Amherst ideas and inventions benefit the public, and to help grow the Massachusetts economy, UMass Amherst is creating services to help people like you start new companies.

EIR contact information for all programs can be found here: EIR Referral Form

An Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) Can Get You Started.

            Every new business starts with an idea.  Your idea may be well thought out, or it may be a flash of inspiration!  And, like most university people, you may have little or no experience in business.  The UMass Amherst EIR Program was created to provide you and others with a welcoming starting point for exploring business ideas, and to provide knowledgeable guidance on how to turn those business ideas into new companies.  

            The UMass Amherst EIRs are volunteers that have deep experience in the business world.  They have created and developed new products, and have started and built new companies.  Each EIR has experience in one or more specific product fields, but their business expertise is relevant in all fields. They have office hours on campus so that anyone in the UMass Amherst community, including undergraduate students, grad students, postdocs and faculty, can easily get confidential information and advice on the potential value of their business ideas and how to pursue them, no matter how undeveloped those ideas may be. 

            You can find biographies and contact information for the current UMass Amherst EIRs at this link: EIR Bios. Please call Maryanne Laukaitis at the UMass Amherst Technology Transfer Office, 413-577-2126, or email her at  Or, you can email this form to Maryanne, EIR Sign-up Form, and she will contact you to set up the first meeting.

The “Envisioning Process” Can Help You Launch a Technology Company.

            If you make an invention or create software in the course of your UMass research, the Technology Transfer Office’s Envisioning Process can help you turn it into a new business.  This tutorial program for faculty members, grad students and postdocs is a series of five meetings in which the Technology Transfer Office provides nuts-and-bolts information and advice about incorporation, defining products and markets, corporate finance and other essentials for starting a technology-based company.

You can sign up for the Envisioning Process by submitting this form:  Envisioning Sign-up

An outline of what is discussed at the meetings is here:  Envisioning Outline

The following guides are based on the Envisioning Process:

            How to pick a good company name

            Taking an option to license IP rights from UMA

            What to expect in licensing from UMA


The Berthiaume Center Can Teach and Inspire You.

            The Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, located at the Eisenberg School of Management, teaches undergraduate and graduate school courses on entrepreneurship.  It also sponsors the Innovation Challenge, the HackUMass Hackathon, and other events to encourage and support entrepreneurs.  You can learn more at their website: Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship.


The Institute for Applied Life Science (IALS) Can Lease You Lab Space.

As part of its focus on applied research, IALS has created two “co-laboratories” where, for a modest monthly fee, start-up companies can rent 6 feet of bench space in a shared lab, which includes use of a fume hood and conference rooms.  The IALS labs are newly-constructed in 2016.  Although IALS research is focused on life science, rental lab space may also be available for companies in other fields.  IALS also provides start-up companies with access to 30 core research centers (microscopy, MRI, calorimetry, DNA sequencing, and many others).  To learn more, contact Andrew Vinard, 577-4582,


The Maroon Fund May Be Willing to Fund Your Company.

            Maroon Venture Partners Fund I, LP is a for-profit venture fund that invests in early stage companies linked to UMass Amherst. It typically invests $50,000 to $200,000, and it often provides a new company’s first outside equity funding. It looks for companies that can use its funds to accomplish significant milestones toward commercial success. The fund’s broader goal is to foster the growing spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the UMass Amherst community.  You can learn more and apply here:


As Your Technology Company Grows, the UMass Fund May Be Willing to Invest.

            The UMass Fund invests in new companies based on inventions or software made in the course of UMass research.   It is managed by the Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV) in the Office of the President.  Investments can be made solely, 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


Other Campus Resources and Contacts

Technology Transfer Office – IP advice, options and licenses for patents, copyrights.
          Maryanne Laukaitis, 545-3606,

Digital Media Lab - Green room, sound rooms, AV equipment loans, 3D printing.
          3rd Floor, DuBois Library, 545-6258,

Patent Deposit Library – patent search strategies, patent search assistance.
          Paulina Borrego, 545-7891,

Office of Research Compliance – Conflict of interest management, human subjects, animal
          subjects, export control.  Melinda LeLacheur, 545-5283,

Office of Research Development – Advice and assistance with Small Business Innovation
          Research (SBIR) grant applications.  Michelle Wonsey, 577-3726,

UMass Innovation Institute – Assistance for company to sponsor research at UMass;
          referrals to landlords of off-campus office and lab space.   Michelle Wonsey, 577-8644,


Additional Resources

Valley Venture Mentors

UMass Innovation Challenge


The Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center

Springfield Technology Park

Steve Blank - Lean LaunchPad

UMass Amherst Digital Library Patents & Trademarks

Licensing Technology Guidebook

Thorndike Mill - Located in Palmer, MA, this facility has 500,000 sq. ft. of business space, a re-purposed school house, and a business Incubator program which provides new companies with grants and free space for a period of time.