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New Venture Process

If it is determined that the best path forward is forming a university startup company as the next step in the commercialization path for a technology, the process will typically include the following general steps and support from Innovation Partners when a Texas A&M University faculty or staff member is involved, but may not occur in this particular order in all cases.

The Process

1. Disclose your invention or creation through an invention or software disclosure form

All creations and inventions developed by Texas A&M University employees are required to be disclosed to the university.

2. Develop a strategy for commercialization

Innovation Partners staff will evaluate the technology, determine an appropriate intellectual property strategy and manage any IP assets prior to licensing, develop a commercialization assessment around the technology’s business opportunity, and devise a plan with the inventor for the path forward to commercialization. This plan will typically include determining whether to form a startup company with the assistance of A&M or whether it may be best for the employee to form the company independently from the university.

3. Identify the initial CEO, entrepreneurial team

The management team is a key part of the success of a new venture. It is important to identify and select a CEO and management team with the business acumen and skills necessary to raise capital and run a successful business. Innovation Partners staff can provide resources to assist you with identifying management personnel best suited for early-stage ventures.

4. Develop the Business Plan/Pitch Deck

Following the selection of a management team, you and the team will create a business plan for the new venture that will outline the objectives of the company and lay out a strategy for future development of the intellectual property to be licensed. This plan will be the basis for a company pitch deck which will be used to solicit funding from investors, and as a partial basis for licensing IP from Texas A&M. Please contact our staff for help in accessing training and other resources related to developing business plans and pitch decks.

5. Company Formation, including development of corporate documents

Company formation is necessary for your new venture to become a legal entity eligible to license technology from Texas A&M. The most commonly formed business entities are C-Corps, S-Corps, and LLCs. We recommend completing this step with the help of an attorney who has the necessary expertise to recommend the appropriate entity type and other considerations best suited for your commercialization plan.

6. Site selection/physical space, if needed

One of the many factors to consider when forming a new venture is the necessity for physical space for the company to function/handle company operations. This is heavily dependent on the type and stage of technology forming the basis of the new venture. Please consult with Innovation Partners staff for help in determining your needs, if any, and identifying resources related to space.

7. A&M Employee consults with department head/COI office

All engagements and activities with external entities, including new companies, in which a Texas A&M employee is involved and where potential and/or actual conflicts of interest and commitment exist must be disclosed, approved, and managed in accordance with federal and state requirements, as well as Texas A&M System policies and regulations. The following are disclosed and managed through your department head and the Division of Research COI office, as appropriate: conflict of interest and commitment disclosures, conflict of interest and commitment management plans, external employment and faculty consulting, etc.

8. Secure Board of Regents Approval for A&M Employee

Board of Regents approval is required for a Texas A&M employee to serve as an employee, officer or member of the governing board of business entities that have agreements with the system relating to the research, development, licensing or exploitation of intellectual property for which they are the creator and in which the system has an ownership interest. Innovation Partners can help you with drafting and routing the necessary documentation for Board of Regents agenda items. Refer to the Board of Regents Approval Process for more information.

9. Negotiate and Execute an Option or License Agreement

In order to obtain the rights to use, make, or sell the desired intellectual property, the newly formed company must first license (or negotiate an option to license) the IP rights from Texas A&M. Innovation Partners offers a Preferred License Terms Program for eligible startup clients. For more information on the general licensing process, see Licensing.

Programs & Services

In addition to facilitating the process of forming and licensing university IP rights to a new venture, Innovation Partners offers other supplemental support to Texas A&M University inventors and startups, including maintaining a network of partners to assist university startups in locating the appropriate resources for their needs.

External On-Demand Resources for Startups

Venture Capital Pitch Sessions

Houston Exponential: Call for Startups! Apply for a VC Pitch Session with Houston Exponential.
In the fundraising phase? Submit an application to the ‘Who’s Raising’ Bulletin, powered by Houston Exponential, which connects Houston startups to VC funding. The Who’s Raising bulletin is for founders (yes, even those in stealth) who are raising and want to leverage HX’s network of investors– people in the market actively doing deals. HX sends curated connections to founders based on investment stage/vertical/ shared data points to investor groups with matching theses.

SBIR/STTR Applicant Assistance Program

NCI SBIR Development Center: The Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) accepts applications from aspiring Phase I SBIR/STTR applicants. This program provides small businesses with expert guidance that will help them build a strong Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) application. To be considered for the program, fill out the simple application form on the AAP Application Portal.

Before you apply, you are encouraged to view the informational webinar where program experts give an overview of the program before opening up the event for questions. Receive insights on how this FREE program can help you take the first step on your commercialization journey.

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