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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

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, as appropriate: conflict of Interest disclosures, conflict of interest and conflict of 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.

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. For more information on the licensing process, see Licensing.

Additional Available Support

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, maintaining a network of partners to assist university startups in locating the appropriate resources for their needs.

For Texas A&M University Inventors and Startups

Entrepreneurial Training

Innovation Partners, other Texas A&M units, and select community partners offer entrepreneurial resources for faculty and staff inventors to better understand the best practices and considerations around starting a new venture. Our Educational Programs page contains information about training offered through our office. Inventors are encouraged to reach out to Innovation Partners staff for help in identifying appropriate resources on or off campus for your specific needs.

The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) & Regional Node

This unique program uses experiential education to help researchers gain valuable insight into entrepreneurship, starting a business or industry requirements and challenges, with the goal of reducing the time and risk associated with translating promising ideas and technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace. I-Corps uses experiential learning of customer and industry discovery, coupled with first-hand investigation of industrial processes, to quickly assess the translational potential of inventions.

Texas A&M University is part of the Southwest I-Corps regional node offering programs to engage teams in the customer discovery process, establish product-market fit, validate the business model and improve odds for commercial success. Regional node programs can be leveraged to establish lineage for eligibility to apply to the national-level I-Corps program. For more information about these programs, Innovation Partners can offer advice with respect to our own experience participating in these programs and can also connect you with other university resources and points of contact who are very well versed in the program curriculum and what it takes to make a successful team.

The Texas A&M New Ventures Competition (TNVC)

Ensuring Today’s innovative Ideas Become Tomorrow’s Solutions
The largest competition of its kind in Texas, TNVC supports deep-technology commercialization by providing connections and capital where it will have the highest impact. Nearly $2MM awarded in prizes in the past six years. For more information, visit the TNVC website.

For Entrepreneurs and Investors

In many cases, university startups are bootstrapped operations being led by the lead faculty inventor or other team members involved in developing the technology and need specialized skill sets and expertise required to scale and run a business. On the other hand, many university technologies well suited for a startup as the next logical step toward commercialization are without an entrepreneur ready and willing to take on the formation and ramp up of a new company. We regularly seek expertise from those with specific domain knowledge and a variety of business-related skill sets and welcome you to contact our office to discuss potential partnership opportunities.

Available Technologies

Entrepreneurs seeking promising technologies to take to market should browse our current portfolio or contact Innovation Partners staff for help in identifying university technology ready to be spun out into a new company for further development and commercialization.

Mentoring Opportunities

Entrepreneurs interested in providing mentoring to Texas A&M University startups should contact Innovation Partners to discuss areas of expertise and interest to determine if a match can be made with an existing startup or relevant services or educational support can be provided to the broader portfolio.

Texas A&M University is a participating member of the Southeast XOR Program, launched by Wellspring in collaboration with leading research universities across the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The platform matches promising startups with experienced business executives, investors, and startup mentors drawn from the participating schools’ alumni ranks and affiliated networks. Please contact Innovation Partners if you are interested in learning more about becoming involved with this program.

Investment Opportunities

Innovation Partners works with investors in the community and beyond to present intriguing business opportunities based on Texas A&M University technologies. Our office leverages coaching resources on and off campus to help university inventors develop clear and compelling pitch decks to ensure they are well prepared to present a potential investment opportunity. View our current company portfolio or contact Innovation Partners for more information.

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