Starting a New Company
Steps to Launch a Startup Company
- Talk to OIE: We encourage you to contact us at the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (“OIE”) early in the process to discuss your invention, how to protect the intellectual property, and your thoughts about developing and commercializing the intellectual property through a startup company.
- Protect Intellectual Property: In a startup, a major source of value is intellectual property (usually patents and/or copyrights covering technology or software code). Engage with the patent attorney contracted by OIE to get a patent application filed on your invention before you make any public disclosure or communication of it, since early disclosure limits your ability to get patent protection inside and outside the U.S.
- Seek Input, Network and Build Your Team: Stevens provides a wealth of resources for scientists and inventors looking for help to start a company. The Stevens entrepreneurial network can help you through all facets of the startup process – from developing a business model all the way to meeting like-minded entrepreneurs, team members, advisors and potential business partners. This network can also help you find ways to demonstrate your invention’s commercial viability, meet investors, and work towards securing funding.
- Develop Your Business Model: A business plan is often a key part of this phase through which you can develop a thorough understanding of target customers and applications, market potential, competition, funding needs, how you plan to develop your product, key management plans, and overall exit strategies. Understanding funding needs and development plans are especially important for nascent technology that cannot yet generate the revenues sufficient to sustain and grow the company.
- Form an LLC, LLP or Corporation: There are a few options available for company formation, depending on your individual circumstances. Contact the OIE and we can help you make the appropriate choice.
- Negotiate a License or Option Agreement: OIE will negotiate with the appropriate representative of the company to grant a license to your startup. Note – a Stevens employee (e.g., faculty, postdoctoral or graduate student) cannot negotiate with Stevens in this manner. In many cases, a short-term option agreement or term sheet may precede a license so that your company can demonstrate to potential
- Pursue Funding: Commercializing technology is typically a capital-intensive process. You’ll need to present your opportunity to people with the funds to help you make it happen: venture capitalists, angel investors and perhaps in the initial stages, friends and family. The OIE offers a source of introductions to angel and venture capital investors.