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The Studio is an ecosystem for startup creation. Below is our standard process for moving projects through our ecosystem. If you have any questions or want to learn more about this process, please contact the Eshelman Institute.

Cloud Enablement

The Studio recognizes that cloud-based digital platforms are integral to the future of healthcare delivery, and to further transform UNC research, we have partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, and in our partnership, we aim to accelerate UNC software-based research to the point of higher value and readiness.

We believe that AWS’ modern app architecture makes developing and securely deploying software for research studies best in class. As part of our partnership with AWS, they will provide:

  • Live instructor-led immersion trainings held onsite at UNC 3x a year, focusing on the AI/ML toolsets most utilized here at UNC
  • $5,000 in AWS credits to migrate and deploy your research on the cloud
  • Collaboration with their top engineers to help solve some of your most significant technical challenges

If you are interested in migrating your technology to Amazon AWS, please submit an assessment form, and our team will get in touch with you to learn more about your research.

Venture Creation

The Studio scouts innovative digital health ideas across UNC-CH and UNC Health System. Our startup industry experts partner with faculty to identify and curate concepts that we believe have an opportunity to become feasible and attractive software-driven VC backable startups. Our experts work directly with innovators to create an initial hypothesis around their business concept and potential market. These digital health concepts then enter a 13-week Studio sprint process.

Venture Diligence

The 13-week Studio sprint follows a rigorous diligence and assumption-testing approach to systematically shape concepts into new businesses. During the diligence process, concepts will move through different stage gates that require innovators to define the problem/customer market, shape a value proposition, and identify a business model. Only 2-4 of the most attractive and immediately feasible venture concepts make it through these stage gates and get to compete in sprint week. Sprint week is the venture studio’s intensive weeklong “forcing function” for launching new businesses. At the end of sprint week, each concept will create a business pitch deck and present it to UNC/UNC Health stakeholders and venture capitalists who make investment decisions for launching a business.

Ideas that do not get selected for sprint week may continue to work with the Studio to improve on the concept through our Business Exploration or Tech & Clinical Validation paths.

Startup Creation and Support Services

Once the investment committee agrees to invest in a concept out of sprint week, the studio will set up and incorporate the startup company.  It will also recruit and hire the key company founders, like the CEO and CTO to run the company.  Most often, the faculty founder will stay at the university in their current research and academic capacity but will earn equity in the new startup as an inventor and potentially an early advisor and/or consultant.

Startup Capital and Studio Services

Once the startup is launched, it is provided with pre-seed capital up to about $1M, and the studio partners to provide key back-office startup services to the founders like finance, HR, payroll, legal, marketing, etc., and works together to get the company to its first venture capital investment round in the next 12-18 months. Business Exploration

Concepts that go through the Venture Studio, but need additional business exploration before spinning out as a company, will continue to work with the Studio to further explore the concept’s customer discovery, value proposition, market landscape, etc. These concepts will enter back into the Studio for further diligence when ready.

Tech & Clinical validation

After a Venture Studio sprint, some concepts are deemed to be very attractive potential startups, but in order to spin out, they will need key technology and/or clinical development. These concepts would be eligible for a non-dilutive Eshelman Institute validation grant. Our team works with innovators to define the right tech/clinical validation project that would help get the concept in position for launching as a future startup. These concepts will enter back into the Studio for further diligence when ready.