FAQs and answers - Startup

I am considering starting a company. Where do I begin?

The Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation Park at Notre Dame are the best starting points for initial consultation regarding your new venture development interests.  They can help you understand key considerations, such as:

  • Your desired role in the venture
  • Other management resources needed
  • Possible avenues for funding resources
  • Other avenues for support

OTT and IPND can also make referrals as appropriate to other organizations on campus and in the region based on the needs of your venture.


How does a company based on Notre Dame technology get started?

Filing the invention disclosure with OTT is always the first step.  After that, the path to commercialization always leads to a license from the University to the company.  Whether the technology is commercialized by a large, established company or a new start-up, the license is the mechanism used to give the company the necessary rights to use the University’s technology. 

What are the steps along the path from lab to market?

  1. Idea
  2. Proof of principle
  3. Identify market applications
  4. Validation of technology/prototype
  5. Determine/verify market potential
  6. Patent
  7. Scale up
  8. Business plan
  9. Recruit management
  10. Seek investment
  11. Product development & engineering
  12. Establish distribution/channels to market
  13. First build
  14. First sale
  15. Second generation build
  16. Sales growth
  17. Profitability


Where do I find investors and talent?

This is a key question.  Finding the right talent may be the most critical of your early decisions.  Finding money is not easy, but money follows talent, so be prepared to put your early efforts into building a great team.  The Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation Park are available for consultation.


What resources are available to help new companies with financing & talent?

Multiple sources exist to help new ventures secure funding, search for talent, and identify other resources, including: 

  • Federal and regional grant sources (SBIR/STTR, IEDC, etc.)
  • Equity financing (from angel and venture capital investors)
  • Bank financing (via SBA loans, leases, lines-of-credit, etc.)
  • Other sources of assistance (local/regional ED agencies, out-sourcing firms, etc.)

The Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation Park are also available for consultation.


How do I obtain a license to ND technology?

The Office of Technology Transfer has responsibility for licensing University technologies.  The best way to get a license to ND technology is to show Office of Techology Transfer (OTT) that you have a viable business plan, the right team to implement it, and the necessary resources to make it happen.  The terms of the license will depend on the market applications you want to pursue, the size of those markets, your business model, your ability to effectively execute your business model, whether you want exclusive rights or non-exclusive rights, and a number of other factors. 

Do I have to leave ND to start a new company? 

It depends on the role you want to play in the new company.  If you plan to be the president or chief executive officer, you may find it difficult to fulfill your faculty responsibilities, avoid conflict of interest or conflict of commitment, and spend the time necessary to build your company.  However, if you take a role that is less involved in the day-to-day management of the company, such as chief technical officer, you may very well be able to maintain both positions (see discussion of conflict of interest on how to disclose and manage both roles).