Entrepreneurial Institute

$25k in Grant Funding through the VentureWell E-Team Grant

Looking for funding for your startup? Do you have a science or technology invention that could scale to address a social or environmental need? The VentureWell E-Team grant could be for you. This three-stage program provides up to $25,000 in grant funding (non-dilutive!), experiential workshops, veteran coaching and a potential investment opportunity to college students launching new ventures.

The next deadline for Stage 1 is October 3, 2018. Stage 1 provides $5,000 in grant funding, mentor support, and a cohort-workshop. Eligibility for a Stage 2 grant ($20,000) is contingent on receiving a Stage 1 grant first.

Think this could be a good fit for your team? Below will you find: information to help you determine if this grant is appropriate for you, application resources, and a Q&A with Sunthetics, an NYU startup that received Stage 1 and Stage 2 VentureWell grants in 2018.

Four questions to ask before applying (from VentureWell.org):

  1. Do you have a science or technology invention?
  2. Could your invention scale to address a social or environmental need? Some examples of types of technologies funded include medical or healthcare-related devices, clean energy technologies, and technologies for low-resource settings.
  3. Does your team include two or more students (grad or undergrad)?
  4. Does your team have a faculty advisor?

If the answer to all of those questions is yes, then the E-Team Program could be perfect for you. Read the detailed guidelines and Q&A with a recent awardee below.

Q&A with Myriam Sbeiti (Tandon '18), Co-Founder of Sunthetics. Sunthetics provides an alternative path to manufacture a chemical intermediate for nylon that is solar-powered, more efficient and more cost-effective than current methods, in order to improve performance and sustainability in chemical manufacturing. In addition to receiving a VentureWell E-Team grant, Sunthetics also participated in the 2018 NYU Summer Launchpad and won $100,000 in the Technology Venture track of the $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge. Here Myriam shares some of her experiences in the E-Team program and advice to future applicants:

What inspired you to apply for a VentureWell Grant?

We were inspired by VentureWell’s mission to support early-stage technology with a positive impact on the society and/or environment. This was something that was hard to find in other programs that were more focused on the fundraising aspect.

What was the application process like?

The application consists of a proposal with different sections. If you’ve applied to other grants or programs before, most of it you’ve already done. Value proposition. Technology. Problem-solution fit. Market potential. Commercialization plan. etc. They do ask for cost and revenue model, but it’s fairly flexible in that you don’t have to give great detail - the entire application is 5 pages. We weren’t certain of revenue model at the time and we were honest about our status.

One thing to note is that you will need verification of support from a faculty PI (principal investigator), an administrative contact (via NYU’s Office of Sponsored Programs), and a letter of recommendation from the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute.

Based on your experience in the program, what types of teams benefit from this program?

Teams that are tech-oriented. VentureWell has a strong group that helps with digging into the science. All selected teams have an impact-focus. Some of the teams participating were addressing medical health, hunger, and sustainable farming. All were physical products involving hardware - there were no software teams in our cohort, though I know that some software teams have received the grant in the past, such as Kinvolved.

A large bulk of the workshop was spent digging deeper into the impact that you have on the environment - even down to the raw materials you are sourcing.

What did you learn during stage 1?

Stage 1 was the first time we considered selling the reactor. They helped us view our value prop from different angles which was very helpful. They also helped us rephrase some of the ways that we described our technology. We also formed one of our most detailed competitive landscape analyses which has been really helpful for future pitches - we have replaced “better or worse” with actual metrics.

What do you anticipate for stage 2?

Our goal from the getgo was to continue on to stage 2. Specifically, after stage 1 we were already preparing for stage 2 proposal. It was clear that these workshops were helpful and that we wanted to continue working with the program.

After submitting our initial phase 1 application and being accepted into the program, we had a preliminary meeting to review feedback on our application. This helped our team and the application reviewers align on how to best focus our time during phase 1. We were all in agreement on the necessary next steps. Based on this experience (and the experience in the workshop) we were really motivated to move on to the next stage.

Advice to future applicants?

  • VentureWell is a grant, not an investor. You can be honest about where you are having trouble and what issues you want to work out. Their main goal is to help you.
  • One thing we really enjoyed about this grant is how focused it was on serving specific types of teams. This grant is great for technology-based ventures with a positive impact on the world.

If you have any questions about the VentureWell grant please email Sarah Maibach at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. In order to receive a letter of support from the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, we need to speak with you at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline.