Starting a Company

If you are interested in starting a company based on UNC technology and are currently working with an OTD project manager, please contact your project manager with any questions or concerns.  If you are not working with a project manager, call 919-966-3929 or email us at and you will be directed to the appropriate person.

A license to UNC technology can only be obtained through the Office of Technology Development. While many licenses negotiated by OTD involve existing commercial entities, starting a new company may be a viable option.  OTD typically spins out 2-4 companies per year based on UNC technology. Once a startup company is chosen as the commercialization route, OTD works with the company founders to establish a license agreement, giving the new company (typically exclusive) access to the relevant UNC technology, provided the new company meets performance benchmarks, including fundraising. OTD often works closely with the founding team to raise the startup capital needed through our strong ties to the local and regional investment communities.

The Carolina Express License is available to UNC startups with the hope that its use will expedite the licensing process.  However, alternate licensing options may be negotiated.

Carolina Express License

The Carolina Express License is a standard license agreement aimed exclusively at UNC startups and intended to increase the number of new companies started and technologies licensed rather than maximizing financial gain. The License offers the same terms to all UNC startups and, while optional, offers the best possible deal available from the University in areas such as royalties--1% on products requiring FDA approval based upon human clinical trials and 2% on all other products--cash payout to the University in the event of a merger, stock sale, asset sale or IPO--0.75% of the company's fair market value--and other provisions that encourage broad commercialization of the licensed technology.

Follow the links below to the standard license agreement, user's guide with terms sheet, and application.  Faculty, students, and staff are strongly encouraged to read the Carolina Express License User's Guide to gain a more complete understanding of the license terms and the licensing process:




Other Resources

Launch the Venture

OTD, together with the Kenan-Flagler Business School, offers Launch the Venture, an interactive 6-month course designed to assist faculty entrepreneurs in evaluating the feasibility of their potential company, designing a business strategy and creating a business plan. The course is free to UNC-affiliated faculty, staff and students.

Carolina Kickstart

Carolina Kickstart, a program within the NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS), home of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards here at UNC-Chapel Hill, is designed to facilitate and accelerate University startups through education, mentoring, funding and incubating companies spinning out of UNC-Chapel Hill.  In implementing this process, Carolina Kickstart has launched a Commercialization Webinar Series for 2010 to provide foundational information to overcome barriers to commercialization for aspiring entrepreneurs.  For more information, visit their website at

Contact email:

External Resources

Council for Entrepreneurial Development

North Carolina Biotechnology Center

North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center

North Carolina Innovative Development for Economic Advancement (NCI.D.E.A.)