Program Overview & Eligibility
A Bridge Between Research Grants and Seed Stage Investment
The CoMotion Innovation Fund (formerly the Commercialization Gap Fund) is a partnership between CoMotion and the Washington Research Foundation to provide up to $1 million per year for applied research. Our mission is to fund and support projects that have a high chance of being commercialized but are unlikely to get there without gap funding. The Innovation Fund program is intended to help technologies get across the “valley of death” between the conclusion of academic research grants and the level of development at which they can attract seed stage investment.
Successful projects have used funds to:
- create prototypes
- complete software coding or user interface development
- initiate Beta testing
- research customer demand
- market research and validation
Get Funded and Get Full-scale Support from a Team of Experts
We award grants of up to $40,000 per project, with an additional $10,000 reserved for business development milestones. In addition, we will help assemble a support team of business, IP, technical, and startup experts..
Your team will include the following members:
- CoMotion Technology Manager—to provide project management support and bring in key resources
- Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) or New Ventures Mentor (NVM)
- CoMotion Patent Portfolio Manager—to provide strategic advice regarding patent strategies and to conduct patent landscape analyses
- Innovation Fund Fellow—to assist with additional market research and commercialization assessments
- Regulatory expert (as necessary)
Disbursement and Use of Funds
Funds are awarded to researchers for direct project costs for up to 12 months. Applications are accepted each year in the spring and fall. Following approval, funds are awarded on a milestone-based schedule worked out with your Technology Manager and the New Ventures team. We strongly encourage that you use funds for product development and marketing purposes. No basic research will be funded. UW Principal Investigator salaries are not eligible for funding. Please discuss your proposed budget in advance with the New Ventures Innovation Fund team and your Technology Manager to identify other non-fundable expenses.
- A proposal must be submitted by a UW Principal Investigator (PI)
- The technology must have been disclosed to CoMotion and be managed by CoMotion
- A PI cannot have a simultaneous Royalty Research Fund award for the same project
- A PI may submit only one application as PI or Co-PI per round
- A PI must be committed to commercializing their projects, working in a team approach, and establishing a long-term relationship with CoMotion to realize this goal.
A final review committee of CoMotion and WRF staff, senior executives, and local investors will rank projects by market opportunity and likelihood that Innovation Fund funding will influence the probability of commercial success.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING FOLLOW-ON FUNDING
If you previously received an Innovation Fund award from CoMotion, you may submit an application for follow-on funding within up to 2 funding cycles (one year) of your initial award. Please contact the Innovation Fund team (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to submitting a Declaration of Intent, as you may be eligible to bypass several steps of the standard application process.