The Pre-Seed Capital Fund assists UVM innovators with prototypes or preliminary commercial feasibility studies to improve the probability of attracting additional funding and market interest. UVM faculty, post doctoral fellows, graduate students, or other employees of the University who have filed an Invention Disclosure with OTC indicating intent to pursue commercial opportunities may apply by completing a Pre-Seed Capital Fund application form.
Applications for the awards are reviewed by the OTC Director, who makes awards in consultation with the Vice President for Research. Awards are made on a competitive basis with consideration of the quality of the application, including technical merit; commercial potential and business viability, including protection ability by patent or copyright; and, as applicable, potential to contribute to local and state economic development.
Please note that there are no specific deadlines for applications. Instead, inventors can apply at any time, and OTC reviews the applications and awards funds on an ongoing basis.
The standard award term is 12 months and range from $10,000 to $20,000. UVM offers 5 to 7 of these awards annually. Funds may be used to offset graduate student or postdoctoral support but cannot be used for faculty salary. Grant award expenditures will be recovered from future revenues generated by the innovator’s company, as they are with UVM cost recovery of patent expenses. UVM has committed internal funds to support this effort and several investments have been made.
UVM's two grant programs, the Pre-Seed Capital Fund and the Innovations Fund, provide hard-to-get financial support for early-stage development. They are designed to accelerate innovation, increase the potential for investment by traditional venture capital funds, and enhance prospects for the success of start-ups and licensing.