Tech Venture Accelerator

The NYU Tech Venture Accelerator (TVA) is a six-month program that aims to help NYU research teams transform their research discoveries into scalable startup ventures and prepare for product development/commercialization. The program is open to NYU faculty, along with their PhD/postdoc teams and other collaborators, who have developed novel technologies in their research labs at NYU.

Over six months, ventures selected to the program will receive $50,000 in milestone-based grant funding from NYU’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Participants will take part in feedback sessions, workshops with investors and subject matter experts, and advisory sessions with experienced entrepreneurs. Ventures will also receive connections to investors, training to submit SBIR/STTR grant applications, cloud computing credits, and other perks.

The next Tech Venture Accelerator will begin in September '24. Applications will open in March and will be due April 19th. For more information sign up for an info session below.

  • Info Sessions and Deadlines
  • About the Program

    This six-month accelerator will help teams turn their research discoveries into scalable startup ventures. Selected teams will begin the program with technology that is ready for product development and commercialization, as well as an initial target market/customer and a foundational team ready to commit to the venture in the future. By the end of the program, ventures will emerge with a solid, validated business model, initial partnerships solidified and pilots completed, further funding for R&D and staffing, and a solid near-term business strategy.

    When will the Accelerator Take Place Next
    The program will take place in Fall '24 and Spring '25. Activities will be held approximately twice a month on Fridays, with additional meetings with mentors/advisors taking place on an ad hoc schedule (approximately every other week). Specific dates TBA.

    Where will the TVA take place?
    The program will take place at the Leslie eLab in New York City, with additional networking and social events on or near NYU’s Washington Square Campus.

    What are the key activities of the program?
    The TVA will push each team to validate a scalable business model and achieve key milestones unique to their venture. Through monthly standup presentations, teams will be challenged to make rapid progress to achieve their goals during the course of the program. The structure of the program comprises:

      • Standups: Every other month, participants will share progress on their milestones and an overview of their approach/strategy on key topics to a group of industry mentors with relevant domain expertise and the other teams in the cohort. In alternating months (when not presenting to the external mentors), teams will share progress with the directors of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and NYU’s Innovation Venture Fund
      • Workshops: Led by experts from the startup community, workshops teach critical skills and topics such as running pilots, structuring partnerships,  developing your sales/marketing strategy, building go-to-market strategy, raising capital, navigating negotiations, building IP strategy and portfolios, hiring a team, and applying for federal grants for research commercialization.
      • 1:1 Mentorship: Ventures will gain access to one-on-one mentorship from dedicated and experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals with relevant domain expertise. They will also receive weekly hands-on guidance from the coaches at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute.
    More Activities
    • Networking and social activities: Several in-person social gatherings will take place throughout the program to help foster community amongst cohort members and connections with external mentors/advisors.
    • Final venture showcase: Following the program (in Spring ‘25), we will host an in-person venture showcase during the NYU Technology Venture Summit, where teams will demonstrate their businesses and progress to an audience composed of NYU senior leadership, external mentors/subject matter experts, investors, faculty and research colleagues, and select guests.

    What are the key benefits of the program?
    In addition to receiving mentorship and guidance provided, participating teams unlock:

      • $50,000 in grant funding to be used for purposes such as paying team members, purchasing materials/equipment, traveling to conferences and in-person NYC activities (such as the final venture showcase), etc. Teams will submit a funding proposal that breaks down their milestones and upon achieving each major milestone, a portion of funding will be released.
      • $10,000 in Amazon Web Services credits, a free year of Github Enterprise for (up to) 20 members (and 50% off in the second year), and other discounts with software and service providers such as Hubspot and Notion.
      • Legal support to incorporate their ventures.
      • Office hours with attorneys, venture capitalists, SBIR/STTR grant writing consultants, and consultants with expertise on regulatory pathways and procedures.
      • Co-working space at the Leslie eLab (with extended hours)
  • Who Is TVA For & Selection Criteria

    The TVA is open to all NYU full-time/research faculty- or researcher-led teams that are interested in commercializing STEM-based research developed at NYU across the life sciences, physical/material science, data science, computer science, and engineering fields.

    About Your Team
    Teams developing applications in digital health, drugs, diagnostics, medical devices, ML/AI, AR/VR, aerospace, robotics, blockchain, nanotech, photonics, electronics, and quantum computing, among other markets, should consider applying if they have:

    • Identified and validated initial customer use case: Teams must be able to demonstrate that they have validated their initial customer use case through the completion of rigorous customer discovery via the NYU Tech Venture Workshop and NSF I-Corps program (or an equivalent program, such as NIH I-Corps), prior to the start of the TVA. In other words, the TVW and NSF I-Corps or NIH I-Corps programs are prerequisites to participate in the TVA, unless approved by Dee Dao, co-director of the TVA.
      Beyond this, teams that apply to the program must meet the below requirements:
    • Program commitment: 2+ founders or team members must be able to dedicate a significant amount of time to the venture during the program and participate in all TVA workshops and meetings. As this program is intended to provide an opportunity for a founding team to execute key activities to validate their venture’s business model, the 2+ participants must have decision making power on the team (e.g. they will have the authority to make key decisions without requiring continuous permission from founders not participating in the program).
    • Team continuity: At least one (and preferably all) of the participants must have participated in the I-Corps program.
    • Post-program commitment: At least one of the founders must be committed to working on the venture full time after the program concludes.
    • PI support: Each project must have a full-time NYU research faculty member serving as its PI, and other team members taking part in the program must have explicit support from their PI in order to participate (we will ask for a signed letter of support from the PI prior to confirming participation of their team members in the program; grant monies may be used to financially support team members) [Extremely limited exceptions may be made for deep tech ventures with no faculty connection, but who have otherwise developed a novel and protectable scientific innovation, and otherwise meet all the other criteria]
    • Buy-in: Participants must understand the requirements of the program and have an openness to customer development and the work required by the program to launch their venture. They must be committed to attending ALL sessions and doing ALL deliverables (the full $50,000 grant funding will be distributed only to teams who meet these requirements).
    • Community-minded: Participants must demonstrate a willingness to help other startup teams and an interest in being part of a community during the program.
    About Your Venture
    In addition to the characteristics of the team, we will assess applicants based on the following components during the program selection process:

    • STEM focus: Ventures must be STEM-focused “biotech, hardtech, and/or deep tech” within broad sectors such as life sciences, physical/material science, data science, computer science, and engineering.
    • Defensible or protectable IP: Emerging or existing intellectual property, including copyright, patents, trade secrets/know-how; while the IP does not have to have originated while working at NYU, there will be a preference for ventures creating IP in partnership with NYU.
    • Tech readiness: Ventures must have their technology developed at a technology readiness level of 4 or higher (according to NASA’s definition) prior to the start of the program; Must be able to demonstrate proof of concept.
    • Scalable: The technology and initial business model have potential for large impact/scale.
    • Differentiated: The technology and initial business model are highly differentiated.
    Application Review Process

    Upon receipt of all applications:

    • Application review: The TVA program directors will review and assess each application based on the criteria listed above.
    • Interviews: A subset of applicants are invited to participate in short interviews via Zoom.
    • Conditional acceptance and request for additional information: A subset of applicants will be tentatively selected to participate in the program and will be asked to submit additional pieces of supplemental information prior to official acceptance, including:
      • A letter of support to participate in the program from their PI (specifics to include will be sent along with the tentative acceptance);
      • Additional information regarding the underlying technology to ensure it is at the correct technology readiness level for the program (level 4 or higher);
      • A signed participation agreement (signed by each participating member of the team) confirming commitment to the program and consent to the program terms
    • Logistics orientation: All selected participants will be required to attend a program orientation to receive information and preparatory steps on securing the $50,000 grant, avoiding conflicts of interest with NYU in their work on their venture, and maintaining coordination/compliance with NYU TOV surrounding technology disclosures and IP.

    For questions, email entrepreneur@nyu.edu.

  • Thanking Mark & Debra Leslie

    This program is made possible by the generous gift of NYU alumni and trustee, Mark Leslie and his wife Debra. Those who are recipients of the $50,000 grants through this program will receive the distinction of becoming Mark and Debra Leslie Fellows at NYU.