Tips for Northwestern Entrepreneurs
An important step in starting a company is to clarify the role that the you will be able to play and the steps to move the inventions to the company.
These issues can vary widely depending on the nature of your startup and your own background, desires and interests. However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you consider starting this new venture.
- Working with Northwestern and INVO
Northwestern, like all academic institutions, has a variety of rules that may be applicable to a researcher’s plans to start a company, including policies on intellectual property, conflict of interest, conflict of commitment, sponsored research, and outside consulting.
- Disclosing information publicly
Wondering what you can disclose about your invention to the public? Making public disclosures could limit your ability to obtain patent rights. Learn more about these potential issues.
- Using Northwestern labs and facilities
Once the company is incorporated, there are strict regulations forbidding startup companies from conducting the company’s work within the walls of the academic institution. If your academic lab pursues basic research that is complementary to the company's product work, you will need to develop a plan for going forward with the research in such a manner that potential conflicts have been mitigated. Learn more about these regulations.
- Licensing or optioning your startup
INVO encourages founders to consider an option rather than a license. However you pursue a startup license, you will need to negotiate with Northwestern due to potential conflicts-of-interest. Read about both option and license requirements.
- Preparing your pitch
In order to write your business plan and effectively network with others, you will need to be able to explain the raison d'etre for your company. The description should be compelling enough for an investor to want to continue the conversation about the opportunity. See tips for writing an executive summary and pitch.
- Sources of frustration
When starting building a startup, where will be times when the process seems stalled. Prepare yourself for this and other frustrations associated with academic startups.