PhD+ Startup Series: Entrepreneurship & Commercialization

Interested in learning about entrepreneurship? Would you like to explore how researchers can impact society through the development of innovative products, services, and even startup companies?

The Startup seminar series introduces PhD candidates and Postdocs to the challenges faced by the founders and funders of new ventures — particularly those engaged in the commercialization of a novel invention or discovery. 

The Fall seminars provide a general background in the tools and techniques of startup companies (e.g., problem identification, hypothesis driven product/service development, impact/business models, market context, founder/team relationships, investor mindset). 

The Spring seminars provide a more specific background in the players and processes involved in the commercialization of inventions/discoveries (e.g., stakeholder interests, patents, license structures, sources of funding).

Seminar sessions meet weekly, and will be a mix of case discussions, guest panels, and action-oriented workshops. The seminars also provide a background for and connections to additional, experiential opportunities across Grounds — iCorps, the iLab’s Incubator program, the Licensing & Ventures Group, the UVA Seed Fund, etc.


Related Events

September 10, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 338

Attend this session to know more about the Startup Series and enroll. 

For further information, email David Touve 

September 18, 2018 | 4:30 pm
722 Preston Avenue, Suite 107



Drop by the Open House for the University's Licensing and Ventures Group, for an opportunity to meet the team that supports the commercialization of research as well as the community of startups that are involved.

Overflow parking...

September 25, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Case study: Savage Beast 


We will have more fun with this discussion and (hopefully) learn more if the information we have is limited to only that information the founders themselves had, as presented in the case.


October 2, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Discussion will center upon the challenge of defining and understanding not only (a) the underlying "problem" any idea/invention is trying to address, but also (b) the people who or entities that experience this problem, and why.

To enroll for...

October 9, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Discussion will focus upon the market dynamics underlying this effort to develop a new type of grocery store. We will use the “Five Forces” reading to inform this discussion

To enroll for the series, email David Touve

October 23, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Our discussion will center upon Zipcar in its early days, as the founders worked to reckon the various components of a business model for the venture—in particular the value proposition and the possible size of the market.


Case Study – Zipcar: Refining the Business Model


October 30, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Discussion will focus on two topics: (1) the operational aspects of a venture (e.g., key resources, processes, paths to market), particularly as those aspects operate within the broad Business Model, and (2) the question of growth, particularly in terms of the “Why” behind any effort to grow a venture.


November 6, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Acumen and Embrace: Investor rubrics and social impact.

In this discussion, dive into the challenges that emerge in the world of venture capital (in general) and impact investing (more specifically). We will focus upon three questions, in particular: 

  • How does the investment “thesis” (i...
November 13, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Acumen and Embrace: Corporate forms and hybrid impact

Become familiar with the various types of corporate form, and the reasons behind selecting any one form over another. We will also begin to frame the concept of social impact, and understand how impact might be defined and measured.

November 27, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Staging Innovation - Kleiner Perkins and Genentech

Discussion will center upon two dimensions of the Kleiner Perkins and Genentech case:

  1. How Kleiner-Perkins “teased out” the risk/uncertainties in the Genentech venture via a series of staged investments—each stage targeting a particular...
November 6, 2018 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 364

Anatomy of a startup (pitch)

Our objective for today is to discuss the various facets of a startup venture by way of the “buttons” that often get pushed during a startup pitch. Importantly, while a great pitch does not equal a great startup, a great startup has often been able to hit each of these...

January 29, 2019 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 309

goal for this discussion is to come to grips with the institutional, professional, and personal dynamics that come into play among the various stakeholders involved in the commercialization of science and research.

Another way to think of...

February 5, 2019 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 309

Michael Straightiff, Managing Director of the UVA Licensing and Ventures Group, will join us again to provide background on patents while leading us through the winding twists and turns of patent landscape search.

February 12, 2019 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 309

To register, email  David Touve 

Our goal for this discussion is to become...

February 19, 2019 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 309

Bob Creeden, Managing Director of the Seed Fund and New Ventures for the UVA Licensing and Venture Group, will lead a discussion of the funding landscape for the commercialization of science.


February 26, 2019 | 5:30 pm
722 Preston Ave, Suite 107

The UVA Licensing & Ventures Group and CvilleBioHub are bringing experts to...

March 5, 2019 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 309

Dr. David S. Wilkes, Dean of the UVA School of Medicine, will join us for a conversation on his experience commercializing research from his lab to form ImmuneWorks.

Dean Wilkes has co-authored more than 100 research papers, holds six U.S....

March 19, 2019 | 5:00 pm
New Cabell Hall, Room 309

Our discussion this evening will center upon the formation of an initial team at a startup, the role/relationships of these team members, and even the reward and decision-making structures that might be put in place. Importantly, we will bump into some of the pitfalls early teams encounter, and some tactics for avoiding these pitfalls.


March 26, 2019 | 5:30 pm
Indoor Biotech, 700 Harris Street, Charlottesville 22903

CvilleBioHub brings together all members of the biotech community for an evening of discussion and networking, with beverages and hor d'oeuvres.

The evening's discussion...

April 9, 2019 | 5:00 pm
Cville Machine, 609 E Market Street, 22902

Launch! is the third and final stage of the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup, and its goal is to showcase and provide seed capital to the most compelling ventures founded by UVA students or post-docs. $50,000 in total prize and in-kind resources will be...