Venture Lab

Overview

Venture Lab is Davidson’s startup accelerator for student entrepreneurs. The Venture Lab takes no equity and aims to help early-stage startups achieve significant, sustainable growth.

two students holding a Davidson College Venture Lab Sign

Program Structure

This a summer program that lasts for an intensive 11 weeks and revolves around weekly meetings every Monday from 9 AM to 12 PM, culminating in a demo day. The Monday meetings allow teams to discuss their problems with each other, check in with advisors, and get feedback from various mentors. There will also be additional workshops and events throughout other weekdays. Teams are expected to work on their projects on a daily basis throughout the duration of the accelerator.

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Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Boggiano brothers next to a computer

 

Our entrepreneurship in residence, Chris and Jon Boggiano, are advisers and mentors to students, faculty, staff and the college at large. Based in Cornelius, NC they are working on their second start-up, VersaMe. Their product is a wearable device that encourages greater parental engagement in early childhood and aims to promote literacy. The Boggianos founded VersaMe after researching the profound impact parents’ use of language has on brain development. Prior to their current venture, Chris and Jon started and sold Everblue.edu. Both graduated from West Point and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and later served in the Army together, including deployments to Kosovo and Iraq. Their families live across the street from each other in Cornelius where Jon has three young children and Chris has two. learn more.

If you’re a Davidson student, you can contact them whenever you want. Email them using the form below.

July Experience

July Experience is a powerful pre-college summer academic program for rising high school juniors and seniors who are highly motivated, academically oriented, and self-disciplined. Over the course of four weeks, students take two courses taught by full-time Davidson faculty. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative offers students a course in Entrepreneurship. Check out the July Experience page for more details.

Davidson connect & DCAN


A series of online alumni networking events, Davidson Connect facilitates text-based alumni-to-alumni networking and alumni-to-student mentoring. Participants can join events from anywhere using a computer, smartphone, or tablet, and no audio or video is required.

Avinger Scholarship

The Avinger Scholarship flyer

Purpose of Award: Established in honor of Robert L. Avinger, Jr., a member of the Davidson Class of 1960 and professor of Economics from 1967-1980, The Avinger Scholarship will identify and recognize a rising sophomore, junior or senior who shows the vision, qualities, and passions of a innovator, giving evidence of creativity, energy, and initiative that will lead to success in future endeavors.
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Venture Fund

Davidson Venture Fund is a pitch competition that grants students and recent alumni with up to 50K to launch innovative, for-profit ventures. All finalists receive educational, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Venture Fund Flyer

Timeline

Applications Closed for 2016-2017 School year

Applications Re-Open for 2017-2018 School Year in Fall 2017


FAQ

  • Who is eligible? Enrolled Davidson students and alumni classes of 2006-2016.
  • Does my venture qualify? We accept applications from any profit business model.
  • Does my entire team have to be Davidson students or alum? No. But they must own at least ⅓ of the company.
  • Do you give out more than one award? Usually.
  • Do you pay for travel? We generally reimburse up to $250.

Application

  • Pitch your idea (500 characters or less)
  • How much capital are you seeking through Davidson Venture Fund?
  • What problem are you attempting to solve? (1000 characters or less)
  • Who are your potential customers? (500)
  • Who are your competitors? (500)
  • How does your solution work? (700)
  • How will your venture make money? (350)
  • How have you paid for the venture so far? (350)
  • How much capital do you need to achieve your next milestone?
  • Describe your team and venture ownership. (350)
  • Please create a two minute video “pitch” about your business idea. We care much more about the content of your talk than the video production quality. A webcam or smartphone video is sufficient. Speak loudly and clearly, and be sure the volume of the video is adequate.

The Fine Print

ELIGIBILITY:

  1. Each team must include at least one currently enrolled Davidson student(s) and/or at least one Davidson alumni classes 2006-2016.
  1. Currently enrolled Davidson student(s) and/or alumni classes 2006-2016 must own 33.3 percent or more equity in the business to be eligible for an investment.
  1. One currently enrolled Davidson student or alumnus/a class of 2006-2016 must deliver the pitch and answer questions from the judges.
  1. Teams may compete and win without being incorporated (or, in the case of a limited liability company, organized), but in order to receive investment teams must be incorporated or organized.

CONFIDENTIALITY & PERMISSIONS:

  1. Confidentiality of information is not guaranteed and teams should not include any confidential information in their submissions, including trade secrets or other proprietary information that would be at risk for disclosure.
  1. Entry into this competition may be considered a public disclosure for patent purposes. If teams plan to file patent protection on an aspect of their business, they should consult with an intellectual property attorney before entering.
  1. Intra-team confidentiality is the sole responsibility of team members.

ADDITIONAL RULES:

  1. There is no requirement that the judges make an investment in any team. The investment will be granted in the judges’ discretion.
  1. Teams are subject to the College Honor Code.
  1. Student teams must attend all on-campus bootcamps or educational clinics in February. Non-local alumni and students studying abroad must participate in a series of digital modules.
  1. Teams may be disqualified at any time before, during, or after the pitch competition for failing to comply with these general rules or the conditions set forth in the program participation agreement.

DAVIDSON VENTURE FUND INVESTMENT PROCESS:

Investment from the Davidson Venture Fund is an investment by Davidson College (or a subsidiary of the college) in a Davidson student or young alumni business venture. While teams may compete and win the investment without being incorporated (or, in the case of a limited liability company, organized), the investment will only be disbursed to a corporation or limited liability company.

The winning team(s) will have the option to structure the investment as either a convertible note or a warrant. If the convertible note structure is selected, then the team will enter into a Convertible Promissory Note and a Loan Agreement with Davidson College or a subsidiary of the college (referred to as the “Investor”). If the warrant structure is selected, then the team will enter into a Warrant and Investment Agreement with the Investor.

Copies of the form agreements for both structures are available for teams to review here and here.

MENTORSHIP & ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION:

The following is a sampling of the benefits available to the finalist teams.

EDUCATION: Prior to the pitch competition, student and local alumni teams will participate in entrepreneurship clinics covering the basics of company formation and IP, business model canvas, pitch preparation, startup life, and more. Non-local alumni will have access to alternative educational resources.

MENTORING: Work with experienced mentors and entrepreneurs in the Davidson College community and beyond.

NETWORKING: Connect with the Davidson entrepreneurial ecosystem including investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders with a diverse range of expertise.

COMMUNITY: Community is an important part of the Davidson Venture Fund experience. Teams are expected to learn as much from one another as they do from the Davidson Venture Fund staff and mentors.

 

Maker Space

Studio M is Davidson’s makerspace, a community-oriented workspace designed to encourage collaboration between people with common interests. It gives people the tools and support they need to realize their ideas. The Studio allows exploration and development of new technologies, invigorates intellectual inquiry by encouraging new modes of thought and learning, and sparks discussion and collaboration across conventional disciplines. To learn more, visit Studio M’s website or contact Brian Little at 704-894-2429.

3 Day Startup

3 Day Startup is a 72-hours entrepreneurial bootcamp that kickstarts new student-run companies and builds entrepreneurial capabilities in students and their university communities. During the event, students learn by doing as they progress through a series of modules that include ideation, team formation, customer discovery, rapid prototyping and pitch workshops. The program addresses themes such as social innovation, energy, and international development. Many companies incubated during 3 Day Startup weekends have raised venture capital and released successful products.

3 Day Startup runs every fall. Be on the lookout for advertisements in 2017!

Popup Design Sessions

Have a problem and can’t find your solution? Want to innovate within your co-curricular activities? Need to inject some new ideas into a big class project? Need to shake up your department? In a creative block? ? the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Davidson can help. ? I&E can facilitate a ✨design session✨ that can help you and your team clear the cobwebs, unstick the stuck, unclog the clogs, and get those gears moving again.  In less than 2 hours, we will facilitate a conversation that helps you dig deep, identify problems, brainstorm ideas, and find solutions.

Send us a quick email about your project and we’ll be in touch from there.