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Proof of Concept Fund


The UC Merced Office of Business Development Proof-of-Concept fund supports technology development that is aimed at creating and commercializing new products and services by making investments that range from $5,000 to $25,000.

Investments from this program are to be used to make technological advancements towards creating a market-ready product. Technology advancement is recognized as moving from a market validated concept, to prototype, to pilot, to final product. Applicants are eligible to apply at any stage in this process.


In order to receive funding, the recipient must be incorporated, or include a UC Merced researcher with Principal Investigator status. Applicants must be able to clearly define the stage of development that they are in, provide supporting evidence, and provide a plan for accomplishing the next stage of development. The program is open to all teams that are interested in creating a product, regardless of their industry, intellectual property status, company type, or product type.  Applicants will be required to participate as members in a UC Merced Venture Lab accelerator program. For more information, contact

Funds obtained from this program must be used solely for the creation of a proof of concept, prototype, and/or final product. Funds cannot be used for marketing activities, salaries, rent, excessive consultation, the procurement of materials that are not directly involved in manufacturing, and/or items not expressly approved by the UC Merced Office of Business Development.


1. Submit the program application through the Proof of Concept Application Form
2. Applications will be evaluated based on eligibility the project’s ability to create a successful prototype to be tested in a defined market and within the requested budget and time frame.
3. Within one month of applying to the program, applicants can expect to receive an answer on their submission. If selected, individuals/teams will then be invited to present to an external review committee. This committee will make the final decision to award the team based on the application and presentation.
4. Once awarded the funds, applicants are expected to develop their product over the course of the following four months or less with detailed progress reports.



Awarded applicants are expected to provide detailed reports on their progress. Reports are expected at the midpoint of the funding period and at its conclusion. These reports should detail the progress for every item identified in the approved application.


Funding will be provided contingent upon successfully negotiating an equity agreement with the UC Merced Office of Business Development. The agreement will commit recipients to providing equity to UC Merced in an existing or to-be-developed company through the mechanism of Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE).

For more information or questions please contact Cara Baird at