[ skip to content ]

Faculty Start-Up Companies

Faculty Start-Ups differ from University Spin-Offs since the formation of Start-Ups are not aided by University incubators, research parks or similar services and resources.

Old Dominion University recognizes that active participation by academic staff members in external activities that enhance their professional skills or constitute public service can be beneficial to the University as well as to the individual.

Conflict of Interest and Commitment

Active external activities, such as starting up a company, can lead to conflicts of commitment or interest with regard to one's University responsibilities. Therefore, the University has established a general framework against which the propriety and advisability of non-University activities can be measured and monitored. See the University's policy and procedures for Conflict of Financial Interests and Conflicts of Commitment and Influence.

Conflicts of Financial Interest

Signing a document

Conflicts of Commitment and Influence

Completing a Form

Business Planning

If a faculty member wants to license University-owned intellectual property, a business plan and/or product development plan must be prepared and submitted along with the application to license. See the sample Business Plan Outline.

Starting Business in Virginia

Virginia's Business Launchpad is filled with useful information for the University's aspiring entrepreneurs.


The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program was established by Congress in 1982 to provide increased opportunities for small businesses to participate in research and development, increase regional employment and improve the overall US economy. The program hopes to stimulate technological innovations and increase private-sector commercialization of innovations.

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program awards contracts to small business concerns for cooperative research and development with non-profit research institutions such as Universities.

Faculty members with start-up companies that are engaged in research may be interested in the federal SBIR and STTR funding programs. Since SBIR/STTR funded companies attend SBIR/STTR conferences, a faculty member interested in finding a company to license technology to might find the conferences useful.

Solicitations are managed by individual federal agencies. Each agency releases a solicitation which contains specific requirements for applying to that agency, instructions for applying, topics the agency is willing to fund, the required forms, and relevant critical dates.

See The National SBIR Program Resource Center for SBIR/STTR information. See also Ohio's SBIR Program website since it is very well organized.

Venture Capital

In order to appeal to venture capitalists, you should have a management team with relevant industry experience and/or prior experience in successfully raising capital for a start-up business. It is critical that this management team have a proven track record for growing and building a business.

You should also have an investment history. Therefore, whether your opportunity has received funding from a founder, angel investor or even friends and family, it may be important that you have raised previous rounds of capital.

Investors often look for entrepreneurs that have moved beyond the initial idea stage and have demonstrated the potential of their business plan by achieving key milestones, including proof of concept, beta customers and explicit revenue goals for the next six months. In addition, investors typically look for high growth opportunities with a market size of at least $1 billion.

Sources of Venture Capital

  1. Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) are privately owned and managed investment firms, licensed and regulated by the SBA, to provide venture capital and start-up financing to small businesses.
  2. Other sources of Venture Capital include: