The University of Connecticut, Webster Bank and Connecticut Innovations (CI) have created a $1.5M UConn Innovation Fund of $750K per year over a two year time period for the purpose of investing in promising startup companies that are affiliated with UConn.

The Fund will make selective investments in high potential, early stage growth companies striving for commercialization to help them move towards attaining SBIR/STTR, Angel or other later stage investments. Companies who are funded are expected to operate in CT.


The Fund investment vehicle will be a Convertible Note. Specific terms can be found here. The Fund will typically invest up to $100K per company and be paid in two tranches. One half of the investment will be made available up front to fund pre-approved milestones. After the milestones have been successfully completed, the remaining investment will be released to fund additional milestones. The Investment Committee has the discretion of making investments greater than $100K on a select basis.

Use of Funds:

The primary use of funds will be to develop or advance a proof-of-concept, market research and analysis, and/or early stage product development. The funds may be used for project-based activities but may not include compensation for company shareholders.

Eligibility Requirements

Startups must have an affiliation with UConn including students, faculty, alumni, or participation in Technology Incubation Program (TIP). They also must operate in CT.

Selection Criteria:

  • Quality and appropriateness of team and resources to execute
  • High potential for commercialization
  • Likelihood of technical success of proposed approach
  • Degree of innovation, IP strategy, access to required IP, and/or competitive strategy; addresses a technological challenge
  • Potential for a compelling product to emerge from the proposal, including passing through clearances and value analysis
  • Likelihood of achieving external funding (CBIF $500K investment, SBIR grant, angel investment, etc.) at the completion of this work
  • Preference will be given to companies that are research-based emanating from UConn student(s) or faculty. Additional priority will be given to startups that have participated in UConn’s entrepreneurial programs and competitions and recognized for their potential through financial and other awards.

Award Selection and Administration

The program will be managed by the UConn Evaluation Board, Fund Managers and Investment Committee.

Review Process:

The Evaluation Board will be led by UConn and include representatives from UConn and external industry partners. It will evaluate the applications and identify those that meet the selection criteria, have business and technology viability, and are worthy of investment consideration.

The Fund Managers will review and confirm information in the applications that are selected by the Review Committee and prepare them for presentation to the Investment Committee.

The Investment Committee, comprised of a member from each of the Fund partners (UConn, Webster Bank, and CI), will make the investment decisions.