During our decade of experience in tracking university-affiliated translational research, proof of concept, and startup gap funding programs, we have received hundreds of calls from current and aspiring fund managers at research institutions that are seeking the common route to launch successful programs.
It’s not locking yourself or assigning one of your team members to a computer to do benchmarking research. That’s a time suck and you are too smart for that.
More times than none, a gap fund initiative begins in close proximity to one of the following two events:
- A commercialization or university rebrand, leadership change, or need for a distraction
- A new source of funding, and with it a need to find a target to spend it on
To move at the speed required to take full advantage of these motivators, the trick is to get past the basic accepted practices as quick is efficiently as possible, and spend your effort and creative energy on making things work in your situation.
Leverage the presentations, webinars, and other resources that already provide sound best practices that can be applied in support of whatever direction you would like to take. We have 4000 stories, benchmark reports, and webinars of fund models, successes, and challenges on our Mind the Gap site that you can search through and use today.
Using the words and experiences of others is also a very effective way to build compliance from key leaders and stakeholders
The secret sauce of a successful gap fund start is to focus your effort on what makes your program unique and whether you can make it work in your custom campus community. Start with a team meeting.
A successful launch requires a solid platform built on campus and external collaboration…this is what takes the effort.
Hands down, from our experience, it is best to kick this off with a pre-fund meeting prior to any significant effort and resource expenditure:
- Pools knowledge already available
- Flags any barriers and challenges
- Demonstrates to leadership that you are mitigating political barriers and finding efficiencies through a collaborative approach
Start this with a meeting with your core team to develop a framework.
- Communication and Promotion
- Intake and Innovation Management
- Evaluation and Decision-making
- Management and Oversight
To make this easier we have created a one-page, 10pt pre-fund assessment checklist with questions that you can use for the basis of that discussion.