Funding & Partnerships
We provide connections to mentorship, funding, and networks to improve commercialization success
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Program Overview & Eligibility


Click to download the F2020 CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund Information Packet.
This packet now includes information for those applying for the WE-REACH Program

DECLARATIONS OF INTENT MUST BE RECEIVED BY FRIDAY, AUGUST 21st (5pm)

SEE APPLICATION STEPS UNDER “HOW TO APPLY” BELOW

A BRIDGE BETWEEN RESEARCH GRANTS AND SEED STAGE INVESTMENT

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:

(https://www.washington.edu/populationhealth/)

Additional opportunity for matching funds through the Murdock Trust Foundation:

For the Spring 2021 round of the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund, teams may compete to apply for the Murdock Trust Commercialization Initiation grant:

http://murdocktrust.org/grant-opportunities/research-universities/

Contact the Innovation Investments team (cmifund@uw.edu) to discuss this opportunity.

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 pair each team with a skilled CoMotion Advisor.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Grants are open to faculty as well as postdoctoral fellows, graduate, and undergraduate students.
  • All proposed projects must have an identified UW *Principal Investigator (PI) at the time of application.

* A UW PI must have current Faculty Grants Management workshop training and have Departmental signatory authority on grants.

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. Funds are awarded on a milestone-based schedule worked out with the Innovation Investments 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 Innovation Gap Fund team or your Innovation Manager to identify other non-fundable expenses.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

A final review committee of CoMotion and WRF staff, senior executives, and local investors will rank projects by market opportunity and likelihood that Innovation Gap Fund funding will influence the probability of the project making a social or commercial impact.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING FOLLOW-ON FUNDING

If you previously received an Innovation Gap 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 Investments team (cmifund@uw.edu) prior to submitting a Declaration of Intent, as you may be eligible to bypass several steps of the standard application process.

HOW TO APPLY

Click to download the F2020 CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund Information Packet.

DECLARATIONS OF INTENT MUST BE RECEIVED BY FRIDAY, AUGUST 21th (5pm)

Application steps:
1. Join the CoMotion Advisory Solutions community as a Team (Click here to join).
2. Receive email confirmation, and a link to complete your Team Profile, then complete your team profile.

3. IMPORTANT—Select Innovation Gap Fund, Fall 2020 under CoMotion Advisory Solutions Programs—What specific program are you applying for?

Note: Want to apply but you already have a profile in the database system? No problem. Contact us through the website or at cmifund@uw.edu and we’ll send you detailed instructions.