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.

Introduction and selection criteria

Stage 2: $20,000 + Stage 2 workshop
Stage 2 of the E-Team Program is intended to support teams in further developing their inventions/innovations and plans for commercialization. Stage 2 E-Team grantees have approximately 18 months to spend the grant funds. The required Stage 2 workshop and coaching sessions take place within the first 6 months of this period. Accepted Stage 1 E-Teams may apply for Stage 2 of the program after attending the required Stage 1 workshop. Please refer to the Calendar graphic above for the 2015-16 schedule of events and deadlines.***IMPORTANT! If you apply in the fall cycle (deadline October 7, 2015) and are accepted, two student team members will be REQUIRED to attend the Stage 2 workshop in Cambridge, MA on January 22-24, 2016***.You may apply for Stage 2 if:

  • You have successfully completed the Stage 1 workshop
  • You demonstrate continuing commitment to move your technology towards commercialization
  • You have at least two students on your team for the duration of the grant OR your academic institution agrees to continue administering the grant funds on your behalf
  • You have university support in the form of a Principal Investigator and an Administrative Contact

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

  1. Technology innovation and feasibility
  2. Market and commercial potential and business model
  3. Team composition, skills, commitment, and institutional support
  4. Positive social and/or environmental impact
  5. Realistic work plan

When assessing Stage 2 applications, greater emphasis will be placed on the business model, commercial potential and the team’s commitment to venture development.

Stage 2: $20,000 grant and workshop

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 “Stage 2 proposal” section of these guidelines.

The Stage 2 workshop 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. Two student team members (student team leader plus one team member) must attend the entire workshop; teams may not attend a partial workshop. If possible, for continuity, the same team members who attended the Stage 1 workshop should attend Stage 2. Due to space and budget constraints we can accommodate two team members only, but exceptions may be made in rare cases. Please refer to the Calendar graphic above for the 2015-16 schedule of events and deadlines.


Stage 2 teams participate in coaching sessions that begin after attending the Stage 2 workshop. Coaching sessions begin two weeks after the Stage 2 workshop and are held via teleconference. They are a mixture of individual team sessions and whole cohort sessions. As with the workshops, participation in these coaching sessions is a required component of the E-Team Program.

2016 Coaching Schedule (specific session times are TBD and will accommodate participants in all time zones):

If you attend the August 13-15, 2015 Stage 2 workshop… If you attend the January 22-24, 2016 Stage 2 workshop… If you attend the Apr 29-May 1, 2016 Stage 2 workshop…
your coaching Fridays will be:

      1. Aug 28
      2. Sept 11
      3. Sept 25
      4. Oct 9
      5. Oct 23
      6. Nov 6

Final check-in February 2016 TBD

your coaching Fridays will be:

    1. Feb 5
    2. Feb 19
    3. Mar 11
    4. Mar 25
    5. April 8
    6. April 22

Final check-in July 2016 TBD

your coaching Fridays will be:

    1. May 13
    2. May 27
    3. June 10
    4. June 24
    5. July 8
    6. July 22
      Final check-in: October TBD

How to submit

Stage 2 applications must be submitted to VentureWell via email by 11:59 pm Eastern Time (ET) on the deadline date. 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, 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-ET-Proposed-Budget-2015-16_revised).
  3. Letters of support (a minimum of one is required, a maximum of three may be included)
  4. Team member resumes (up to four resumes, three-page limit per resume)

Please see “Writing your proposal: required and optional components”  section of the Stage 1 guidelines for additional details and information.

1. REQUIRED: Revised Narrative
Using the reviewer feedback shared with teams prior to the Stage 1 workshop and the learning outcomes from the Stage 1 workshop, revise your previously submitted five-page narrative using the same basic structure and parameters. Please be sure that your revised narrative includes the following:

  • Articulation of a clear value proposition with an emphasis on the commercial potential of the venture. Include a specific plan and your position in the value chain, whether that’s licensing or direct sales.
  • Team updates (if any) including new members, team member roles,  and who on the team will attend the required workshop if your team is accepted into Stage 2.
  • Revised work plan that includes what your team expects to complete during the Stage 2 grant period (approximately 18 months). Be sure to align the work plan with the proposed budget.
  • Use text, images, charts, graphs, etc., to tell the story of the product/project/venture.

2. REQUIRED: Proposed Budget
Your proposed budget is a key element of your Stage 2 application. $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, and therefore may impact IP developed with the equipment. Please be aware of your university’s IP policies. 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 the Stage 2 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 $4,000 per person or $10,000 per project)
  • Travel to the Stage 2 workshop
  • Other travel related to customer discovery and participation in relevant conference
  • Equipment expenses totaling less than 1/3 the total proposed budget
  • Consulting and technical services that cannot be obtained within the university
  • 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. Publicity expenses
  5. Student stipends totaling over $4,000 per person or $10,000 per project

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

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 is advisable to obtain new or updated 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. Additional detailed 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

Sheer volume of material is not an asset–be sure everything included in the appendix is there for a reason and is referenced in the narrative.  Reviewers are directed to use supporting materials only to supplement the five-page narrative, so all key information should be included there.

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 a 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, so assume reviewers are unfamiliar with your technology and team.
  • 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.
  • 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 use by the team.
  • Stage 2 E-Teams will need to identify and register the two key team members who will participate in the Stage 2 workshop. See Calendar graphic above for the workshop dates.
  • VentureWell will send an amendment to the Stage 1 contract for signature to the Administrative Contact identified by the team. Once this award amendment is signed and returned to VentureWell, funds can be disbursed.
  • Because there is often a short window of time between the notification of the award and the Stage 2 workshop, teams may need to cover travel to the workshop up front and get reimbursed from the grant once the funding is available.

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