Taking the step towards entrepreneurship can be a rewarding career choice for those seeking a multidisciplinary challenge that can develop their scientific and technological ideas into a business. As part of its mission to translate innovation into real world impact, the Resnick Sustainability Institute supports scientists and engineers at every stage along this journey, from the merely curious about a career as an entrepreneur to those readying technology for the marketplace.
RSI's Resource OpenSource [see list ]offers information and guidance for cleantech and sustainability venturing, organized into the four stages Caltech entrepreneurs need to take: Exploration of the entrepreneurial and business landscape; Getting Started, once the decision has been made to form a company; Real World, after company formation and now seeking early validation and partners; and Serious Funding, finding the first major money for your growing company.
The first step for the prospective entrepreneur is to learn about the process of starting a business, as educating oneself in the art of business is almost as important as the technology behind the start-up idea. There are many podcasts and blogs that regularly discuss relevant topics. For example check out Caltech alum and founder of 100 companies Bill Gross's wide ranging TED talks, or "Both Sides of the Tables", a blog by investor Mark Suster who tries to demystify the world of investment with practical advice.
Several times a year, RSI has open calls for Impact and Explorer Grant proposals for research groups to apply for pursuing fundamental and applied research that can be the start of translational innovation. Check out grant requirements here.
If you have questions about whether your research is relevant, contact Neil Fromer, RSI Executive Director of Programs: email@example.com
This list of resources is broad but is constantly being updated to reflect the rapidly changing worlds of cleantech and sustainability. We welcome your suggestions for inclusion - please send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stages of Entrepreneurship
Click through below for resources at each of these different stages:
Thinking about solving real life problems with your innovations? Uncertain about pursuing the entrepreneurship path? Look inside for resources and tools to help you form an entrepreneurial idea, learn some basics about building a startup, and seek initial funding.
How to start making an impact in the real world? From incorporation, building a team, and proof-of-concept prototypes to securing your first funding beyond research, you will be starting essential tasks such as techno-economic assessments, filing patents and raising seed funds. Seeking incubators and accelerators? Find more resources inside.
How to move forward as an entrepreneur? In this stage, entrepreneurs will complete techno-economic assessments, file patents and use their growing network to start presenting their story at pitch events and competitions. Education and accelerator programs are often helpful during the process. Click for guidance and information.
Seeking more funding to start scaling up technology? See a list of federal and state funds, prizes, grants and venture capital investors inside.
SUCCESSFUL CALTECH ALUMS
Explore further to see if entrepreneurship is the right choice for you and to see how other Caltech scientists have successfully tapped into entrepreneurial support programs and internal funding, such as Caltech's Rocket Fund grant program, to launch their business.
Brimstone Energy (Rocket Fund 2018/21)
Caltech grad (2019), Cody Finke describes the path he took to create Brimstone Energy that led to an exciting business career.
Mesoline, formerly ETC Solar, (Rocket Fund 2016/17)
Thomas Russell (postdoctoral scholar, Harry Atwater Lab) founded the company whose microchannel particle deposition (MPD) technology is core to a new semiconductor manufacturing process that can fabricate very precise 3D-microstructures using nanoparticles in minutes.
For more information about the entrepreneurial program that is best for you, or for information about other resources and connections specific to your project, contact Stephanie Yanchinski, Director of Entrepreneurial Programs: email@example.com