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March 27, 2023 | Tom Ballard

University of Colorado Boulder launches “The Embark Deep Tech Startup Creator”

The goal of the new program is to match business minds outside the university with breakthrough inventions created within its walls and provide those ventures with funding. For starters, Venture Partners at CU Boulder has selected 50 technologies that are available.

The Embark Deep Tech Startup Creator” is a new program created by Venture Partners at CU Boulder, the commercialization arm of the University of Colorado Boulder, to match business minds outside the university with breakthrough inventions created within its walls – and provide those ventures with funding.

According to the announcement of the new program, about 150 inventions emerge annually from CU Boulder’s research labs. Some are spun out and brought to market by the innovators themselves, while many more join an underutilized pool of university innovations. At the same time, many entrepreneurs are searching for the newest breakthrough technologies to bring to the marketplace but lack the needed access and support.

Venture Partners has created Embark to bring together those would-be entrepreneurs and inventors in a unique way, said Bryn Rees, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Managing Director of Venture Partners. “Just because the university inventors didn’t create a startup company doesn’t mean the technology is not a really exciting startup opportunity,” he said. “We think some of our very best innovations are available, and Embark is a way to catalyze that.”

Entrepreneurs can learn about the 50 Embark technologies that are available and apply to the program through Venture Partners. Successful applicants will then have several weeks to dive deeper into the technologies, learn about the start-up resources available through the university, and meet with the inventors. Entrepreneurs will then present their commercialization plans, and Venture Partners will select those who qualify for an exclusive partnership with the university for the chosen technology. Additionally, several successful applicants will be offered funding in the form of a six-month part-time salary as the founding Chief Executive Officer and up to $100,000 for technology development.

Embark’s new funding stream, made possible by grants from CU Boulder and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, is also intended to open new doors to underrepresented groups in the startup community. “As much as we’re interested in experienced, successful start-up founders, we also want applications from folks who are earlier in their career or who otherwise wouldn’t be able to start a venture such as this without the salary support,” Rees said. “We hope that the funding will diversify our start-up founders at the university.”

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