Startup Programs

About Venture Catalyst

UC Davis is known worldwide for its leadership in research. Each year, this research generates new technologies and inventions that are translated into commercial applications, often becoming the foundation of startup companies. In order to facilitate this process, the Office of Research established Venture Catalyst to provide campus entrepreneurs the resources and support needed to successfully form and grow new ventures.

Bridging the Gap
Bridging the Gap
Venture Catalyst offers several innovative programs that bridge the gap between early-stage research and commercialization by enabling and supporting robust university startups and spin-outs.


The Venture Catalyst STARTTM program provides the building blocks to equip UC Davis affiliated entrepreneurs with the tools they need to form and grow successful companies. Innovators who engage with the START program have access to the following suite of tools and services.

Business Pitching

Pitch Coaching
Coaching for investor pitching and business presentations

Grant Workshops

Grant Workshops
SBIR and STTR grant writing and submission workshops

Inventor Advantage

Inventor AdvantageTM Program
Deferment of patent expenses for UC Davis startups


LegalNetTM Partnerships
No-cost startup incorporation and one-time legal consultation


MentorNetTM Advisors
Access to a network of experienced professionals and business leaders


MICATM Reports
Market intelligence and Competitive Analysis


VentureNetTM Program
Access to providers of startup business and technical services

DARTS Program

Discounted access to research and development services and state-of-the-art technology
DRIVE Network
DRIVETM Network Business Incubators

The Venture Catalyst DRIVETM (Distributed Research Incubation & Venture Engine) program provides a network of lean, thematically oriented business incubators. DRIVE Network provides UC Davis affiliated startups with access to affordable, mixed office/lab business incubation spaces in close proximity to the campus.

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Proof of Concept Grant Program

STAIR Grant Program

The STAIRTM (Science Translation and Innovative Research) Grants help campus innovators move cutting-edge technology towards commercialization by providing funding to generate proof-of-concept results, research milestones and prototypes.

Venture Catalyst’s Handbook for Startup
This handbook illustrates some of the resources and support available to faculty, students, staff and alumni interested in developing technology-derived startups, most of which will develop and are expected to grow within the Davis-Sacramento region and in proximity to the university.
LegalNetTM and VentureNetTM Partners
Weintraub Tobin Kilpatrick Townsend Attorneys at Law AWS Activate Latham Latham & Watkins Stoel Rives LLP Attorneys at Law WSGR Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Professional CorporationCalifornia Business Incubation Alliance an initiative of the California Technology Council Carbahal & Company an Accountancy Corporation ESIS inc. Employers select insurance services First Northern Bank svb Silicon Valley bank Tech Futures Group InGensity IP Eva Garland Consulting Young BasileAdduci Studios
Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Venture Catalyst works closely with campus partners such as the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a Center of Excellence at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. This institute offers several programs that prepare innovators for success, including entrepreneurship academies, mentoring programs, fellowships and the Big Bang! Business Competition.
Getting Started
Connect with one of our Venture Catalyst team members to get more information on our programs, explore ways to engage with our startups or to learn about opportunities to partner with us.
Biotech Innovation Gallery
The Biotech Innovation Gallery (BIG) Accelerator program, provides UC Davis-associated startups with targeted mentoring and training around IP and regulatory strategy as well as coaching on business models, market fit, and investor pitches. The 4-month accelerator program culminates in the Biotech Innovation Gallery Open House, Showcase and Networking Event, coinciding with the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. The event offers a platform for UC Davis innovators to showcase their emerging biotech companies to industry experts, potential strategic partners and investors.