UCF Venture Launch Program

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The UCF Venture LaunchTM  is a no-cost entrepreneurship program sponsored by the Tech Transfer Office and Orange County Government.

Eligibility: current UCF graduate students, post-docs, faculty, and researchers interested in starting a company using university research and technology

Mission: help founder PhDs position their business concept into early-stage companies by offering specialized resources and executive-level coaching

Goal: transform promising research and technologies into viable startup ventures that are better positioned for launch, growth and success.

Resources: individual and group coaching, educational workshops, and connections to seasoned entrepreneurs, mentors, and potential partners/investors.

Cost: $0

Points of Contact: Kelli Murray, Program Chair of UCF Venture Launch, or Svetlana Shtrom, Director of Technology Transfer


More information for UCF Researchers here.

Options Focus Area Session Description

Tuesdays and Thursday

12pm – 2pm

Business Coaching & Support 1:1 Coaching Meet one-on-one with innovation and startup coach, Kelli Murray. During these sessions, you’ll have the floor to discuss all things entrepreneurial. Whether you have a question about where to start, tools and templates, finding your value proposition, making connections, brainstorming on strategy, or practicing your pitch, you have your own resident coach for that and more.
Pre-recorded Intro to Program Welcome to the UCF Venture Launch Program You play a key role in helping intellectual innovations scale to new heights. This session shares information about a new resource now available for UCF doctoral student, post-doctoral, faculty and staff innovators and researchers. Learn more about how to lift your idea, intellectual property, or start-up!
Pre-recorded Inspiration Founder’s Talk with: CytoSen Inventors and Founders, Dr. Rob Igarashi and Dr. Alicja Copik are faculty who live and breathe the path of entrepreneurship. With two successful acquisitions, tune in to tips and lessons learned along their journey.
Pre-recorded Networking Intro to UCF’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem & Resources UCF offers an array of support for innovators and entrepreneurs looking to pursue a commercialization path for their inventions. This session will go into a deeper layer of detail across the continuum of entrepreneurial and business resources available at UCF and its affiliate partners.
Pre-recorded Business Concept Bootcamp: Landing Your MVP (minimum viable product) This session will cover the “cliff notes” version overview of Lean Startup methodology and Business Model Canvas tools and will describe defining a minimum viable product, business opportunity validation, and business model refinement through contextual stories. Resource links for free and paid online resources (templates, books, and subject matter partners) will also be shared as a takeaway.
Pre-recorded Inspiration Founder’s Talk with: Hoverfly Technologies End the week with a Founder meet-and-greet with Dr. Al Ducharme, CEO and Founder of Hoverfly Technologies. Al is unique in that his former academic role at UCF ultimately led to his transition towards entrepreneurship. This casual chat will give you the inside scoop on what he’s learned along his journey.
Pre-recorded Organization, Legal Issues Company Formation LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, B-Corp…With so many options and implications, how do you choose the best type of company to form? Which formation is the best place to start for a new entity? In this session, we cover some blocking and tackling of what you need to know about Operating Agreements and Cap Tables.
Pre-recorded Legal Issues Protecting Your Intellectual Assets In this session, we’ll cover knowing if your invention or research is protect-able, various forms of intellectual property protection; effective strategies for protecting your intellectual capital, property, trademark, or copyright; and how these various protections may influence your company’s structure and operating agreements
Pre-recorded Branding & Marketing Establishing Your Brand and Social Presence Whether you’re a legal entity or not, having an online presence and brand means that you’re on the startup field. In this session you’ll learn the importance of setting up an identity for your venture as well as tactical methods for creating your corporate message and presence.
Pre-recorded Inspiration Founder’s Talk with: NanoPhotonica End the week with a Founder meet-and-greet with Dr. Chris Morton, CEO & Founder of NanoPhotonica. During this session, you’ll engage with a founder who has walked the path of entrepreneurship for over 30 years. The 45-minute talk will be full of tips and insights gained along his entrepreneurial journey.
Pre-recorded Funding Grant Funding for Startups (SBIR/STTR) Understand how the SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs provide sources of R&D funding between the initial idea development and proof of market potential. Covers eligibility requirements, participating agencies, the differences between SBIR and STTR, and more.
Pre-recorded Inspiration Founder’s Talk with: Helicon Chemicals Commercializing rocket fuel is no easy endeavor. Meet President & CEO, David Reid, PhD, who is walking the path of entrepreneurship. Listen in to learn how this fellow UCF Alumni, materials engineer, and tech-licensee has navigated the entrepreneurial journey and tips to launch your own.
Pre-recorded Ownership & Board Startup Equity Like fundraising, splitting equity and relinquishing control is hard to do. In this session, you’ll learn about equity and cap tables from a seasoned venture capitalist and engineer from MIT who co-founded a local startup investment firm.
1:1 Coaching Legal Issues Tech Transfer for PhD Students Get answers to common questions specifically for PhD students, postdocs, fellows and faculty seeking to start their own startup venture.

Resource: What is Tech Transfer?

Pre-recorded Business Idea Divergent Entrepreneurship In business, it’s easy to slip into analysis paralysis mode when starting a company. Methods for divergent thinking and clarifying limitations can help. Hear TEDx Speaker, author, and serial entrepreneur to learn a framework on divergent entrepreneurship.
Annual Event Networking Startup Weekend Orlando (SWORL) SWORL is an in-person event designed for startups that is part of Orlando Innovation Week; a week-long celebration decreed by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. Pitch your startup idea, form a team, and move through the value proposition and customer validation process with mentors over one weekend. 100 participants including 25-30 leaders, investors and executives. Locally, Startup Weekend Orlando teams have won global awards in 2017 and 2018 and launched new startups such as Trobo (featured on SharkTank) and LeaseCake (recently raised 3 Million).
Orlando Tech Hub Networking Community-based Startup Resources When you’re in build mode, knowing who to connect with and who can help can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Whether you’re looking for additional knowledge, market data, building a team, seeking funding, or wanting to get networked, the Orlando Tech Hub will help you understand the variety and depth of support available within the Central Florida and State entrepreneurial ecosystem. 1:1 coaching on this topic is also available.
Live Event: To be scheduled Inspiration Founder’s Talk with: LUMINAR Founder meet-and-greet with fellow Knight alumni and Co-Founder of LUMINAR Technologies, Jason Eichenholz. During this session, you’ll engage with a PhD who took a technology for autonomous vehicles and took the company public (IPO). In this exclusive talk, hear about lessons learned, how they grew from 1 employee to over 700, and why this company recently invested $70M into Orlando’s innovation ecosystem.
1:1 Coaching Business Concept Hitting a Home-run with Your Pitch Deck What separates an average pitch deck into one that compels people into action? Whether your seeking a grant, recruiting team members, talking to investors, or simply networking, a well-refined pitch deck will make you and your company worth paying attention to. Learn how to translate your invention into a compelling story and vision that everyday people will understand.
1:1 Coaching Business Concept Finding Your Value Proposition As a patent holder, company founder and/or business owner, knowing your value proposition is critical for so many functions including customer acquisition, marketing and branding, fund raising, and your vision for the future. In this session, you’ll learn how to answer questions such as: What are my customer’s jobs? What pains does my invention and/or company solve, for who, and what gains are achieved?
1:1 Coaching Licensing Exclusive or Non-Exclusive: Understanding the best License for your Invention With the question of licensing exclusivity, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each business looking at your IP must determine whether an exclusive licensing agreement is worth paying a premium price for, or if it’s sufficient to obtain guarantees of limited competition within a specific geographic area or industry often at a lower price tag. In this session, you’ll learn the difference between licensing types and various deal structures.
1:1 Coaching Organization Archetypes of Entrepreneurship What type of entrepreneur are you? Understand the type of entrepreneur you are (or want to be) and the variations between academic entrepreneurs, social-benefit entrepreneurs, lifestyle business owners, startup entrepreneurs, growth entrepreneurs, silent partners, and more. Determining the type of entrepreneur you want to be will guide the path of your invention, co-founders, team, company structure, work/life balance, fundraising needs, time to market, and more.

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