Stage 2 E-Team Program Guidelines

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the entire guidelines prior to submitting

NOTE: Only teams already accepted into Stage 1 of the E-Team Program are eligible to apply for Stage 2. Please refer to the E-Team Program guidelines for more information on initial application to the program. Stage 2 applications must be submitted to VentureWell via email. Specific instructions will be shared with Stage 1 teams at the Stage 1 workshop.


Stage 2: up to $20,000 + Stage 2 workshop + tactical coaching + network
Stage 2 of the E-Team Program is typically 18 months long and is intended to support teams in further developing their inventions/innovations and plans for commercialization. Accepted Stage 1 E-Teams may apply for Stage 2 of the program after attending the required Stage 1 workshop. Please refer to the event schedule section of the E-Team Program guidelines for the 2014-15 schedule of events and deadlines.

Selection criteria

Stage 2 applications will be evaluated against the same four elements used for the evaluation of Stage 1 program applications:

  1. Technology innovation and feasibility
  2. Business model and commercial potential
  3. Team composition, commitment, and expertise (including any advisors and/or mentors)
  4. Positive social and/or environmental impact

Greater emphasis will be placed on the business model and commercial potential when assessing Stage 2 applications.

Stage 2: Up to $20,000

A portion of the Stage 2 grant funds must be used to cover team costs associated with attending the required Stage 2 workshop. Funds may also be requested for supplies, equipment, and/or expenses related to project development and advancement, including preliminary legal fees and student stipends. E-Team Program grant funds cannot be used to cover institutional overhead.More information about eligible and ineligible expenses can be found in the “how to apply” section of these guidelines.

Required Stage 2 workshop

Stage 2 helps teams further refine their business strategy and focuses specifically on operationalizing each aspect of their plan.Full participation in a Stage 2 workshop is required in order to receive Stage 2 grant funds. A minimum of two team members must attend the entire workshop; teams may not attend a partial workshop. See the event schedule section of E-Team Program guidelines for 2014-15 schedule of workshop dates and deadlines.


Stage 2 teams participate in coaching sessions that begin after attending the Stage 2 workshop. Coaching sessions begin approximately one month after the Stage 2 workshop and are held via teleconference. Teams are grouped according to stage and sector at the discretion of VentureWell.As with the workshops, participation in these coaching sessions is a required component of the E-Team Program. Participants will present on their progress based on the milestone planning started in Stage 1 and completed in Stage 2.Preliminary Stage 2 coaching schedule (specific session times are TBD and will accommodate participants in all time zones):

If you attend the August 2015 Stage 2 workshop… If you attend the January 23-25, 2015 Stage 2 workshop… If you attend the May 8-10, 2015 Stage 2 workshop…
your coaching Fridays will be:

  1. 8/28
  2. 9/11
  3. 9/25
  4. 10/9
  5. 10/23
  6. 11/6
your coaching Fridays will be:

  1. Feb. 13
  2. Feb. 27
  3. March 13
  4. March 27
  5. April 10
  6. April 17
    Final check-in: July 24
your coaching Fridays will be:

  1. June 12
  2. June 26
  3. Aug. 14
  4. Aug. 28
  5. Sept. 11
  6. Sept. 25
    Final check-in: December 18

How to apply

Stage 2 applications must be submitted to VentureWell via email. Specific instructions will be shared with Stage 1 teams at the Stage 1 workshop.
*NOTE* If your Principal Investigator and/or Administrative Contact has changed since your Stage 1 approval, please contact us.

The Stage 2 proposal

The Stage 2 proposal consists of the following components:

  • Required proposal components combined together in a single PDF (includes the revised Stage 1 proposal narrative, proposed budget, completed milestones chart, letter(s) of support, and key team member resumes)
  • Additional (optional) appendices combined together into a single PDF (up to five total – can be the same appendices submitted with the Stage 1 application, or can be modified)
  • Weblinks and/or videos (optional): up to four links can be included (websites, video links, articles, etc.)

Details on each component are provided below in these guidelines.

Required Proposal Components

The following documents are required as part of the Stage 2 proposal and must be included in the following order, combined together into a single PDF.

  1. Revised narrative (no more than five pages)
  2. Proposed budget (Please use the Stage 2 budget template)
  3. Milestones chart
  4. Letters of support (a minimum of one is required, a maximum of three may be included)
  5. Team member resumes (up to four resumes, three-page limit per resume)

1. REQUIRED: Revised Narrative
Using the reviewer feedback shared with teams prior to the Stage 1 workshop, as well as the milestones and learning outcomes from the Stage 1 workshop, teams will revise their previously submitted five-page narrative using the same basic structure and parameters.

2. REQUIRED: Proposed Budget
Your proposed budget is a key element of your Stage 2 application. Up to $20,000 may be requested and should support the team’s successful completion of the milestones laid out in your Stage 2 proposal. The grantee institution owns any equipment purchased with E-Team grant funds. Please note that VentureWell will typically not fund the purchase of equipment that is considered part of a college or university infrastructure. Proposed funds for equipment should be less than 1/3 the total proposed budget.

The proposed budget should be completed using VentureWell’s Stage 2 E-Team budget template. Instructions and specific expense definitions can be found in the budget template, and are also summarized below. Be sure to explain your proposed expenses in the “justifications” section in the budget template or in a separate sheet.

Eligible expenses examples:

  • Materials and supplies
  • Student stipends (no more than $3,000 per person or $7,500 per project)
  • Travel
  • Equipment expenses totaling less than 1/3 the total proposed budget
  • Consulting and technical services
  • Expenses related to performing patent searches, disclosures and applications, or creating marketing or business plans
Ineligible expenses examples:

  1. Equipment expenses above 1/3 the total proposed budget
  2. Indirect costs/overhead
  3. Faculty salaries
  4. Legal and other expenses of business formation and operation
  5. Publicity expenses
  6. Student stipends totaling over $3,000 per person or $7,500 per project

3. REQUIRED: Milestones Chart
Create and submit a chart that describes the milestones that your team expects to complete during the Stage 2 grant period (approximately 18 months). This document is an important part of the Stage 2 proposal. Accepted Stage 2 teams will further refine these milestones during the Stage 2 workshop and in the six monthly coaching sessions following the workshop.

How does this differ from the Workplan included in the narrative?  While the Workplan is a big-picture, long-range plan to get you from today to your first sale, the Milestones chart should focus on shorter-term goals–it’s what you’ll be doing during the 18 months of the grant period.

4. REQUIRED: Letter(s) of Support
Letters of support demonstrate to reviewers that there is institutional support for your project and/or verify partnerships discussed in your narrative. At least one letter is required as part of your proposal. You may include up to three total. More weight will be given to letters of support from potential customers, partners, industry experts, and mentors that verify the key elements of your proposal over general letters of support from friends, family, or supportive faculty (although these may also be appropriate and of value). The same letter(s) used in your Stage 1 proposal may be used for the Stage 2 proposal, but it may be appropriate to obtain new support letters based on reviewer feedback on your Stage 1 proposal and/or learning outcomes from the Stage 1 workshop.

5. REQUIRED: Resumes
Resumes should be no more than three pages each and are only required for key team members, with a maximum of four resumes included. We do not need resumes for the Administrative Contact or other non-key team members/collaborators. The same resumes used in your Stage 1 proposal may be used for the Stage 2 proposal.

Optional: Additional Appendices
Up to five additional appendices may be included in your proposal and must be combined into one PDF. These may be the same documents included in the Stage 1 proposal, or they may be different. Appendices may include but are not limited to:

  1. Images demonstrating design and/or technical feasibility (drawings, photographs, etc.)
  2. A summary of prior art
  3. Literature review summary
  4. Any data collected as part of testing your technology
  5. Any other relevant supporting materials

Note: Sheer volume of material is not an asset. Reviewers are directed to use supporting materials only to supplement the five-page narrative. Therefore, key information should be included in the narrative.

Optional: Weblinks and/or Videos

In addition to the appendices combined as one PDF mentioned above, teams may upload up to four links, such as links to online articles, videos and/or other relevant online data.

You may submit a 1-2 minute video pitch to describe your technology to reviewers. If included, the video should state the problem and describe your innovation and the impact of the team’s solution. Clear, non-technical language is acceptable and may be preferable. To view some samples, watch the top videos submitted by participants in VentureWell’s annual Open Minds event. If you choose to include a video as part of your proposal, a link to the video should be uploaded as an appendix item and referenced in the narrative.

The Stage 2 review and notification process

  • Stage 2 proposals will be reviewed by an external panel of reviewers made up of individuals from academia, industry, nonprofits and/or venture capital with experience in the technology areas and in the commercialization of early stage innovations.
  • Your team’s Stage 2 proposal will likely be evaluated by different people than those who evaluated your Stage 1 proposal.
  • VentureWell will notify applicants of the status of their proposals via email within 60 days of the submission deadline.
  • About 50% of the submitted Stage 2 proposals are approved. Stage 2 grant funding is not disbursed to teams until they commit to participate in the required Stage 2 workshop as specified in the event schedule section of E-Team Program guidelines.
  • Occasionally, reviewers invite a team to resubmit their proposal in a future cycle for re-consideration, after certain concerns or questions are addressed. Applicants invited by reviewers to resubmit should contact VentureWell to discuss the reviewer feedback in detail and make sure they understand the questions and concerns raised. Resubmitted proposals must specify how previous concerns have been addressed.

If your proposal is approved

Principal Investigators for VentureWell grants are responsible for reporting on Stage 2 team activities and will be prompted via email at the end of the 18-month period to complete a final report online. If you are accepted into Stage 2, reporting deadlines will be detailed in your award letter, which is sent to the Administrative Contact, with a copy to the Principal Investigator.

  • VentureWell will send the Principal Investigator a formal notification letter and approved budget.
  • Grant funds will be awarded to the team’s college or university for the use of the team.
  • Stage 2 E-Teams will need to commit to sending at least two key team members to a Stage 2 workshop (team expenses should be included in the Stage 2 proposed budget). See the event schedule in the E-Team Program guidelines for workshop dates.
  • VentureWell will send a contract for signature to the Administrative Contact identified by the team.
  • Once this award letter is signed and returned to VentureWell, funds can be disbursed.

***Please note: VentureWell does not allow overhead to be taken out of E-Team Program grant awards.

If you have questions that are not answered in the above, please contact us at or call (413) 587-2172.