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AU Launch

AU Launch is a grant for startup or spinout projects based on academia from Aarhus University to help them demonstrate the commercial potential of their research or idea.

One of the primary responsibilities of a university is to advance welfare, growth and development and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and competencies with the society. AU Launch is one of many initiatives at AU with the purpose of fulfilling and furthering this goal.

Who can apply?

Any startup or spinout project based on academia from Aarhus University. We accept applications from both incorporated companies and early stage startup projects that have not yet founded a company. The applicant must be enrolled at The Kitchen or have an active patent process with AU’s TTO.

What’s the purpose?

The purpose of this program is to –

– demonstrate the commercial potential of a certain technology/concept or –

– de-risk further investments in a startup case from investors or grant providers.

What’s the money for?

Any specific, documented activity that meets the purpose of AU Launch, for example:

  • Raw materials or components for lab work or prototype development.
  • Patent screening or other assessment from law firm.
  • External evaluation or analysis that reduces the risk of a certain technology, e.g. toxicological assessment, regulatory analysis, veterinary report or user adaptation survey.
  • Rent of lab space or workshop facilities (at AU or externally) for proof-of-technology work.
  • Access to specialist equipment (at AU or externally).
  • Consultants and specialist resources (at AU or externally) for a specific task, e.g. lab technician, machinery operator, UX designer, software developer, market analysis expert etc.

What’s it not for?

Ultimately, it is up to the evaluator panel to decide if an activity cost falls under the purpose. But generally don’t count on being awarded AU Launch for further academic research or for development of market-ready products. Also, you cannot apply for own salary for members of the applying team.

When can you apply?

The 2022 application deadlines are:

  • September 20
  • October 20
  • November 20 (conditional on available funds).

The deadlines are at midnight (CET) between the 20th and the 21st.

How do you apply?

First, read the FAQ below. This will answer most questions regarding the grant. When you are ready to apply, download this application template and follow the steps below.

We have four application tiers with increasing requirements and evaluation criteria:

FOR APPLICATIONS BETWEEN DKK 1 – 50,000

1. Inform your business developer at TTO or The Kitchen that you are applying for AU Launch.

2. Send your application to launch@au.dk.

The mail must include:

  • The completed application (use this template).
  • An overview of all proposed expenses (if applying for more than one expense).
  • Documentation of all expenses, e.g. in the form of quotes or price estimations from suppliers/providers/vendors etc.

FOR APPLICATIONS BETWEEN DKK 50,001 – 100,000

1. Inform your business developer at TTO or The Kitchen that you are applying for AU Launch.

2. Send your application to launch@au.dk.

The mail must include:

  • The completed application (use this template).
  • An overview of all proposed expenses (if applying for more than one expense).
  • Documentation of all expenses, e.g. in the form of quotes or price estimations from suppliers/providers/vendors etc.
  • Any attachments necessary to explain the business model, cf. application field 4.4.

FOR APPLICATIONS BETWEEN DKK 100,001 – 250,000

1. Inform your business developer at TTO or The Kitchen that you are applying for AU Launch.

2. Send your application to launch@au.dk.

The mail must include:

  • The completed application (use this template).
  • An overview of all proposed expenses (if applying for more than one expense).
  • Documentation of all expenses, e.g. in the form of quotes or price estimations from suppliers/providers/vendors etc.
  • Any attachments necessary to explain the business model, cf. application field 4.4.
  • Any attachments necessary to explain the technology or scientific background, cf. application field 3.2.

FOR APPLICATIONS BETWEEN DKK 250,001 – 500,000

1. Inform your business developer at TTO or The Kitchen that you are applying for AU Launch.

2. Send your application to launch@au.dk.

The mail must include:

  • The completed application (use this template).
  • An overview of all proposed expenses (if applying for more than one expense).
  • Documentation of all expenses, e.g. in the form of quotes or price estimations from suppliers/providers/vendors etc.
  • Any attachments necessary to explain the business model, cf. application field 4.4.
  • Any attachments necessary to explain the technology or scientific background, cf. application field 3.2.

FAQ

An applying startup must be based on knowledge / technology developed or refined in academic work conducted at AU. This includes e.g. bachelor’s projects, master’s thesis’, PhD dissertations or other research projects, but can also include AU-owned patents. A personal affiliation from the team (as student or employee at AU) is not a requirement, however it will most often be the case.

AU’s Tech Transfer Office (TTO) and Entrepreneurship Hub (The Kitchen) have business developers supporting startup/spinout cases at AU. In order to simplify the application process for the applicants, the business developers will both assist in the application process and be asked to give a statement in front of the panel of evaluators.

We aim to answer all applicants within three weeks of the application deadline.

We aim to pay out the full amount within one month of a granted application and at the latest before the end of 2022.

If the applicant is already incorporated, then the money is granted to the company. If the project has not yet formed a company, then the money is granted to the department of the primary applicant.

Non-incorporated projects can apply for 20% overhead of the activity costs if the department requests. However, the overhead is considered part of the total application (an application cannot supersede DKK 500,000 including overhead). Also, it is the applied amount including overhead that decides which evaluation tier the application falls under.

Since we only fund documented costs, then it is relevant to ask if we also pay for the VAT on the invoice:
Incorporated startups can apply for total costs including VAT. However, since AU is exempted from VAT, non-incorporated projects can only apply for costs exclusive of VAT.

Yes. Rejected applicants can reapply (with an improved application) at the next round. The same project can also send in multiple applications for different activities.
We actually encourage applicants to split larger projects into smaller activity packages that are easier to evaluate separately.
No project can be awarded more than DKK 500,000 in total for this 2022 round of AU Launch.

The evaluators are asked to rate the applications on the following categories:

 

  • Is the project based on academia from AU (Yes/No)?
  • Is the project’s TRL between 3 and 5 or equivalent maturity for non-tech cases (Yes/No)?
  • Are there a substantiated ProblemSolution Fit (Yes/No)?
  • Is the applicant team the right group to demonstrate the commercial potential (Yes/No)?
  • To which extend is the project innovative (Rated 0-5)?
  • How strong is the proposed business model – and is it a good application of the underlying technology/concept (Rated 0-5)?
  • To which extend will the project create a positive impact to the society by ad-dressing challenges within e.g. health, green transition, climate, marginalized groups etc. (Rated 0-5)?
  • To which extend will the proposed activities help demonstrate the commercial potential (Rated 0-5)?
  • To which extend will the proposed activities help de-risk further investments in a startup case from investors or grant providers (Rated 0-5).

First of all, the panel of evaluators must agree that the case meets the basic requirements (expressed in the Yes/No questions above).
Secondly, all evaluators rate the case on the questions above on a scale from 0 to 5, and the average score is calculated (the two last questions regarding the purpose weighs the most in the average score).

The average score required to be awarded the grant depends on the applied amount:

Up to DKK 50,000 requires: 2.8
Up to DKK 100,000 requires: 3.0
Up to DKK 250,000 requires: 3.2
Up to DKK 500,000 requires: 3.5

We don’t know this yet. We will conduct an evaluation after the final round, and all applicants will be asked to contribute. This page will keep you updated on the plans.

Yes, incorporated startups will be asked to sign a De Minimis statement.

In some cases, the panel of evaluators might rule that not all proposed activities live up to the purpose of the program. In this case the applicant can be offered a partial funding.

Funded projects will be asked to document the cost. Unused funds must be returned.

PHINE KATRINE WIBORG

Project coordinator