Penn Center for Innovation

UPstart, a virtual incubator at the University of Pennsylvania, is dedicated to supporting technology commercialization within the Penn community. Since 2010, UPstart has worked with over 100 faculty and staff members to form and launch new companies based on selected inventions and innovative technologies.

While there are many paths to commercialization of a new technology, the UPstart team works with Penn inventors to develop a commercial strategy which utilizes company creation as a means to increase the value of the technology while giving it exposure in the marketplace. We are committed to assisting the business team through the entire commercialization process with an array of services that includes matching a strong entrepreneur to each company, providing a network of partners to help with any number of startup needs and assisting with the raise of proof-of-concept funding.  Today, our portfolio includes companies in life sciences, medical devices, healthcare management, advanced materials, information technology, and robotics.

By connecting local entrepreneurs, investors and partners with Penn inventors, UPstart adds a powerful platform for a larger entrepreneurial ecosystem in greater Philadelphia and beyond.

The UPstart Process

  1. 01. Invention

    Faculty member desires to commercialize their research, approaches UPstart. Team explains the UPstart process. Faculty member signs the Company Formation Agreement.

  2. 02. Company Creation

    Faculty member works with the Upstart team to choose a company name, sign the LLC Agreement, work through company formation applications and help develop initial marketing materials.

  3. 03. Entrepreneur

    The Upstart team identifies, interviews, and matches potential entrepreneurs to run the company. With the approval of the faculty member, entrepreneur signs the management agreement.

  4. 04. Partners

    UPstart engages partners to provide services to the new company, ranging from bank account setup to legal advice.

  5. 05. Funding

    UPstart works with the company to pursue different forms of funding, including: corporate partnerships, SBIR/STTR government grants, angels and VC investment and funding from foundations.

  6. 06. Set Up Operations

    When funding becomes available, UPstart helps the company acquire insurance, lease space, establish payroll, set up bookkeeping, and so forth to become a fully operational entity.

UPStart in the News

View all UPstart News
  1. Graphene Frontiers Featured on Motherboard

    January 2015

    Getting a physical is a pain. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you didn’t have to give up two vials of blood and wait a few weeks to find out if there’s something horribly wrong with your body? What if instead you could run 100 tests with just a single drop of blood?  That’s the (admittedly…

  2. MobileOptx CEO Jodi Cook Interviewed for MedCity News

    October 2014

    A medical device entrepreneur with several years experience working with medical device startups has collaborated with a couple of physicians to develop a way to attach the  smartphones to endoscopes to give physicians more mobility when they use these medical devices. In a phone interview with MedCity News, MobileOptx CEO Jodi Cook talked about some…

  3. Rescufy App Speeds Information to EMS During Emergencies

    April 2014

    David Edwards, MBA, is Director of Major Gifts at the Perelman School of Medicine and the brains behind the new app Rescufy, winner of Penn’s “AppItUP” mobile application idea challenge.  The challenge, organized by Penn’s Center for Technology Transfer (CTT) and UPstart, CTT’s business incubator, gathered the best app ideas from throughout the Penn community…

  4. Pennvention First Round Apps due 2/13

    February 2014

    Pennvention is accepting Round 1 applications until Thursday, February 13th. With over $20,000 this year in cash and development prizes and incredible mentorship resources, Pennvention will help students turn their tech ideas into a reality.

Contact UPstart

Penn Center for Innovation

3160 Chestnut Street, Suite 200
Philadelphia, PA 19104