Venture Catalyst Program FAQs

Who is eligible to apply for the fellowship?

The Venture Capitalist Program is looking for qualified candidates who are active graduate students, postdocs and university staff who have an interest in joining venture teams.

When will positions for the fellowship be posted?

Applications will be posted as VCP teams are formed. Interested candidates should check the Connecticut Innovations Venture Catalyst Program website and their respective university tech transfer office on a quarterly basis.

What is the time commitment and compensation for a fellow?

The VCP is not specifically set around the academic calendar, although it is aligned with the semester blocks to allow for student schedules. Fellows are expected to commit to at least one semester with a VCP team. This engagement may extend into summer and into additional semesters for up to two (2) years. An important aspect of this process is the time afforded to fellows, advisors and faculty to work together and get to know each other. A critical component of a successful founding team is the quality of the relationships among founders—built on trust and respect for one another.

In order to attract and retain the highest quality candidates, fellows will be offered a stipend that is significant in value. A stipend of $5k per semester is suggested to compensate a 10-hours-per-week time commitment over 16 weeks. Summer arrangements may vary depending on a candidate’s interest and willingness to stay engaged in the fellowship.

Will I be a founder?

The VCP’s goal is to form and launch new university ventures. As part of this process, a VCP team will be formed to validate an innovation’s business proposition. Beyond assisting the team in its entrepreneurial journey, the VCP will not require fellows or advisors to be part of the newly formed company or be considered as founders. It will be up to the team to decide who will be involved in the company’s formation.

Who are the members of a VCP team?

An example of a VCP team could include the faculty member or principal investigator, a fellow and a venture advisor. Teams can include multiple fellows and advisors from other programs in the ecosystem as well. Eligible fellows will be graduate students, postdoctoral candidates, and university staff. Fellows and advisors will be in a position to join a startup if the decision to form a company is made. Advisors can lead and guide teams and may also be potentially interested in taking a leading management or board role. The teams may also participate in the accelerator programs offered by their respective universities, such as Y-AID (the Yale Accelerator for Innovation Development) or Accelerate UConn.

What types of companies qualify for proof-of-concept funding?

We are looking for Connecticut companies planning for substantial growth in fundraising, revenues and high-paying jobs. We are seeking founders who need outside investment to validate the growth potential of their core concept or technology.

While the program is open to all businesses, preference will be given to innovation-based businesses, including information technology, cleantech/greentech, advanced manufacturing and bioscience/biotechnology companies.

How does my company apply for funding?

To begin the process, please submit requested information here. You will be contacted by Connecticut Innovations/CTNext staff within one week. The form requests an investor deck and financials, as well as an optional business plan.