The Innovation Gap Fund is a partnership between CoMotion and the Washington Research Foundation to provide over $1.1 million per year of up to $50K grants to project teams. Our mission is to fund and support projects that have a high chance to have impact but are unlikely to get there without gap funding. The Innovation Gap 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. The funds can be used to de-risk your idea and to develop a proof-of-concept.
Successful projects have used funds to:
- create prototypes
- complete software coding or user interface development
- initiate beta testing
- evaluate customer demand
- validate markets
Fundable projects will come from university researchers who propose sustainable solutions to pressing needs in life sciences, engineering, software/IT, or social impact. The spring cycle of Innovation Gap Fund also includes funding tracks focused on the following sectors:
- Fintech—In October 2018, CoMotion partnered with BECU, Washington’s largest community credit union, to create a fintech hub in the Seattle region. The technology strengths and resources of greater Seattle and the UW ecosystem make a powerful combination that is poised to build the next generation of financial services innovations. In addition, the roll out of public ledger (blockchain), cryptocurrencies, and smart contract-enabling platforms by cloud and enterprise software providers is timely for engaging the best minds to focus on financial services innovation. The Fintech award will go to a team with a technology idea for the fintech sector that may have commercialization potential — whether through a license, startup company, or other.
- Mobility (i.e. transportation)—In early 2017, CoMotion partnered with Challenge Seattle, an alliance of CEOs from 18 of the region’s largest employers, to establish a multi-disciplinary Mobility Innovation Center (MIC). This center engages subject matter experts and executive decision-makers from business, government, and academic sectors to inspire creativity, harness technology, and pilot innovative solutions for the future of transportation in our community. The Mobility award will go to a team with a technology idea for the transportation sector that may have commercialization potential — whether through a license, startup company, or other.
- Population Health—The Population Health Initiative brings together the University community and others to create a groundbreaking initiative that will advance the health of people around the world by leveraging capabilities and opportunities at the UW and beyond. Population health is a broad concept encompassing not only the elimination of diseases and injuries, but also the intersecting and overlapping factors that influence health. The Population Health award is co-funded by the Population Health Initiative @ UW:
Additional opportunity for matching funds through the Murdock Trust Foundation:
For the Spring 2020 round of the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund, teams may compete to apply for the Murdock Trust Commercialization Initiation grant:
Contact the Innovation Investments team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss this opportunity.