Proof of Concept Fund

Proof-of-Concept Fund

Background: Funds will be provided to startup companies optioning or licensing a UC Merced technology. Companies must be members of the UC Merced Venture Lab. Funding will be provided to the startup, with the requirement that the funds be used to advance the technology. A simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) will be executed between UC Merced and the startup.

How it addresses entrepreneurial needs: Tapping the innovation of a university can be challenging because of the gap between the stage of development that technologies achieve inside the university and the stage of development needed to justify investment. By providing funds that close this gap, we enhance the ability of entrepreneurs to capitalize on university innovations.

How it helps startups achieve financial viability: The program conserves company capital while also giving the startup an investment track record. How it helps startups achieve technological viability: The program is entirely directed towards achieving technological viability.

How it leverages UC Merced: The program provides a means of tapping the innovations of UC Merced researchers.

How it leverages California strengths and resources: The regional focus of the program means that investments made in these startups will necessarily leverage companies and entrepreneurs of California’s Central Valley, which will add to the strengths and resources statewide.

Implementation: An investments board will be formed to include local venture investors. The board will be responsible for selecting investments within the program guidelines. The UC Merced Venture Lab will promote the program to its members and through partner programs (e.g. CITRIS Foundry, CleanTech Open, UC Davis Venture Catalyst, Central Valley Ventures Legal Assistance Network, CSU Fresno Water Energy Technology Center).