Venture Creation Program


The Venture Creation Program was created to catalyze and support the growth of new, early-stage ventures at Yale University. It is dedicated to providing resources for entrepreneurial teams to commercialize promising, unique products or services. The VCP is a cohort-based program, where each student team attends an orientation, two update lunches, and a pitch lunch (faculty teams with Yale-based technologies will be required to attend a different series of events). Each team is expected to make tangible progress on their ventures throughout the program, and presents regularly on their progress and lessons learned to VC Advisors/Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, YEI staff, mentors, and other VCP teams.


We’re looking for Yale students, post-docs and faculty interested in launching a startup.

All applicants will be automatically considered for two awards: 

  • The Miller Prize: Ventures working on Internet of Things, Big Data, and/or Materials Science will be eligible for the Miller Prize. Please visit for more information. 
  • Two global social ventures in partnership with InnovateHealth Yale: Teams that focus on improving global health in a low-resource country will be eligible for this prize. In addition to the $1,000 given to all teams, each global social venture team receives $2,200 to travel to the country that is the focus of the venture.

How to Apply

  • Read through the Selection Criteria, and Benefits & Requirements below
  • Attend YEI Office Hours ( to receive the application link
  • Complete the application by the deadline

Dates & Deadlines

  • Second Cohort Application Deadline: Friday, October 30, midnight
  • Second Cohort Important Mandatory Dates for Accepted Student Teams Only:
    • Orientation: Friday, November 6, 11am-1pm
    • Update Lunch: Wednesday, November 18, 11am-1pm
    • Update Lunch: Friday, December 4, 11am-1pm
    • Pitch Lunch: Friday, December 11, 11am-1pm
  • Third Cohort Application Deadline: Friday, February 26, midnight


All Applicant Teams will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Compelling and unique product or service (What impact are you trying to have? How are you different?)
  2. Validated customer or market demand (Do people want what you are offering?)
  3. Reasonable initial business model hypothesis (How will you make money?)
  4. Team qualifications, commitment and motivation (Can your team pull it off?)


Accepted Yale Students in the Program Receive:

  • $1,000 in funding 
  • A dedicated Venture Creation Advisor
  • Drop-in workspace in the YEI Incubator (254 Elm Street) during the academic year
  • Educational training in Lean Startup, Product-Market Fit, Customer Discovery, and more
  • If needed, access to YEI’s Venture Creation Consultants
  • If needed, access to YEI’s corporate partner services, in legal, branding, intellectual property, and more
  • If needed, a mentor from YEI’s Mentor Network
  • Access to meetings with YEI's VC/angels/foundations network
  • Special consideration for YEI Fellowship ($15,000)
  • Eligibility to apply for YEI Innovation Fund ($100,000)

 Accepted Student Teams Agree to:

  • Attend the cohort’s orientation, two update lunches, and the final pitch lunch (please see above for dates for this cycle’s dates)
  • Dedicate at least 5-10 hours per week to advancing the venture outside of programming
  • Meet with their Venture Creation Advisors regularly
  • Utilize resources provided
  • Provide regular updates on their venture and progress to their VCA and/or YEI staff over the lifecycle of the venture (including post-VCP)

 Accepted Ventures with Yale-Based Technologies in the Program Receive:

  • $2,500 in funding
  • A dedicated Entrepreneur-in-Residence 
  • Introduction to the Technology Commercialization Program Fellows
  • Support and coordinating with an OCR Licensing Lead
  • Access to specialized mentors (regulatory, industry, etc.)
  • Access to Venture Creation Consultants (financial modeling, market research, competitive assessment, etc.) 
  • Drop-in workspace in the YEI Incubator (254 Elm Street) during the academic year. 
  • Access to YEI’s corporate partner services, in legal, branding, intellectual property, and more
  • If needed, commitment to develop IP
  • Eligibility to apply for YEI Innovation Fund ($100,000)

 Accepted Ventures with Yale-Based Technologies Agree to:

  • Dedicate at least 5-10 hours per week on venture for 3-6 months
  • Partner with EIR/Licensing Lead to identify 3-5 activities that de-risk and advance the technology/business that can be achieved over the next 3-6 months
  • Utilize resources provided
  • Meet at least every 2 weeks with EIR or updates
  • Attend monthly Innovation Series events and updates

Questions? Contact Erika Smith,