TVL Accelerator Companies FAQs

Is Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs a venture fund?

Texas Venture Labs is not a venture fund, although it functions like one. Texas Venture Labs relies on outside sources of capital from organizations like venture funds, angel investors and the State of Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund. The internal structure of Texas Venture Labs, how it manages deals and how it adds value by helping companies mature through the various stages of growth is analogous to a venture fund.

How do I apply to the program? 

Apply now at https://mccombs.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_ac9cIGFnQaaC8iF

Does it cost to apply?

There is no charge to apply.

Does Texas Venture Labs take an equity position in my company if I work with them?

Texas Venture Labs does not take equity positions in the companies it works with.

What is the time frame to evaluate deals that are submitted?

We recruit companies for the Fall and Spring semesters.  Deadline for applying to be an Accelerator Company in Spring 2018 is November 21, 2017 at 5 PM.

What criteria will Texas Venture Labs use to select the businesses?

Texas Venture Labs evaluates the viability of the deals submitted to it using an advisory board of outside domain experts, investors and entrepreneurs from the business community. All deals are evaluated using an online process enabling input from a wide variety of sources before determining which deals to accept.

What is the Texas Venture Labs process?

The process Texas Venture Labs follows is to categorize a deal in its current state of development and help move it to a more mature phase. The process steps are:

  • Stage 1: Raw Research, Idea Generation
  • Stage 2: Technology, Licensing, Market Validation, Product Development
  • Stage 3: Business Model, Business Plan, Management Team
  • Stage 4: Funding, Launch, Ongoing Management, Growth, Harvest

    What companies are eligible to join TVL?

    To apply, companies must have full-time management or management whose primary focus is their startup, be in the process of or have already completed development of a prototype or product and have completed basic market validation and research. In addition, companies that are actively seeking funding and those with some tie to the UT System are strongly preferred.Additionally, we internally distinguish between seed stage companies who may have raised little or no outside funding, but are currently working on developing their basic business thesis and early stage companies who may have already raised several million dollars. Both groups of companies are extremely interesting to accept companies from each group in equal numbers.

    Finally, if you are currently a student, we are unable to work with your company through our accelerator and instead suggest that you enroll in the New-Venture Creation class.

How does the student consulting relationship work?

Texas Venture Labs works with seed and early stage startups to answer important questions and resolve challenging problems. Each company will be paired with a team of between four and six graduate students drawn from McCombs, the Cockrell School of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences and the School of Law. Each team will be led by between one to two Principals, students who have been in TVL for more than one semester. In addition, each team will also be supported by one of our Venture Partners, former Principals who have completed their graduate program and are now full-time TVL employees.

While the types of problems facing each business certainly vary, we have focus on the following five areas: market validation, competitive analysis, business model assessment, financial analysis and funding guidance. Examples of past projects include sizing the international and domestic market for a specialty chemical and developing a go-to-market strategy based on market size and competitive factors as well as modeling the customer acquisition cost for a CPG company across several channels and using that to both create a distribution strategy and develop a financial model that was used in fund raising.

What about the confidentiality of my deal?

All information submitted to Texas Venture Labs is handled using standard business practices around confidentiality. No confidential information is required to submit a deal to Texas Venture Labs.

Does Texas Venture Labs sign non-disclosure agreements?

Per industry practice for investors and venture funds, Texas Venture Labs does not sign non-disclosure agreements.

Who works at Texas Venture Labs?

Texas Venture Labs has a small staff and the majority of labor is currently provided by graduate students from the schools of Business, Law, Engineering, Pharmacy, and College of Natural Sciences. These students go through an extensive and competitive application process before being accepted to work at Texas Venture Labs.

Where is Texas Venture Labs located?

The physical location is the AT&T Executive Conference Center on the University of Texas at Austin’s campus.

What is the relationship between Texas Venture Labs and other entrepreneurial organizations on campus?

Texas Venture Labs works with all entrepreneurial organizations both on and off campus and is designed to use their offerings to help their companies. It does not reproduce any of the services these organizations offer.

UT Austin has a distinctive collection of commercialization and entrepreneurship-support assets that Texas Venture Labs leverages including IdeaToProduct, Office of Technology Commercialization, the Masters in Science Technology Commercialization Program, and Austin Technology Incubator, all with proven track records dating back decades.

What is the relationship between TVL and other entrepreneurial organizations in the business community?

Texas Venture Labs works with all entrepreneurial organizations both on and off campus and is designed to use its offerings to assist their companies without reproducing any of the services these organizations offer.

What is the relationship between Texas Venture Labs and the McCombs School of Business?

Texas Venture Labs is a part of the McCombs School of Business but Texas Venture Labs is a cross-campus organization with students from a variety of different graduate programs at UT Austin.

What is the relationship between Texas Venture Labs and UT’s Austin Technology Incubator?

The McCombs School and Cockrell School faculty members who designed Texas Venture Labs worked closely with the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) and Texas Venture Labs will continue to partner with ATI going forward.  Austin Technology Incubator’s strong track record – over the past two years, they have helped their member companies raise close to $50 million in investor capital – was one of the reasons that Texas Venture Labs was created:  to drive that success more aggressively across campus.  We anticipate that significant portions of Texas Venture Labs’ work will be executed in partnership with the ATI, and that Texas Venture Labs will provide additional resources to the ATI and its community.  This close relationship with ATI also means that Texas Venture Labs should generate strong candidates for incubation.

What is the relationship between Texas Venture Labs and the Cockrell School of Engineering?

The Cockrell School of Engineering is a founding partner of Texas Venture Labs. In that role, Texas Venture Labs works directly with the Cockrell School in providing educational opportunities for students interested in entrepreneurship and a resource for the school’s programs in technology commercialization.

What is the relationship between Texas Venture Labs and UT’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC)?

Texas Venture Labs works with OTC to help their commercialization efforts. Currently Texas Venture Labs is working with OTC to identify technologies from OTC that Texas Venture Labs can help build into sustainable businesses.

What are the differences between the OTC and Texas Venture Labs?

OTC is the university unit that is responsible for disclosure, patenting and licensing of intellectual property developed at the university. Texas Venture Labs is a program to drive cross campus entrepreneurship, innovation and company formation.

Where can I learn more about your program?

We host office hours with the current group of Venture Partners every Wednesday from 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM at One Twenty 5 Cafe in the ATT Executive Education and Conference Center. If you’re unable to attend and have questions, please contact us at infoTVL@mccombs.utexas.edu.