Penn Center for Innovation

The UPstart program offers a wide array of services to assist entrepreneurial faculty members in the company formation and development process. UPstart smooths the path to future success by working closely with faculty members as they build value into their technology through new venture creation.

UPstart provides valuable services to newly formed companies:

Addressable Market Analysis

UPstart employs student teams from the Wharton SBDC to research potential applications for the company’s technology. These teams perform analysis on the size of the addressable markets and work with the company to begin developing product strategies.

Commercialization Grant Support

UPstart provides comprehensive support that founders need to produce high-quality grant applications that are well positioned to secure commercialization awards, such as SBIR/STTR funding.

Development of Marketing Materials

UPstart creates websites as well as marketing materials for conference and investor presentations. Logo design is available on a limited basis.

Entrepreneur Coaching

UPstart works with startup CEOs to help them perfect the content and delivery of their company pitches.

Executive-Level Recruitment

UPstart introduces the founders to entrepreneurs with the experience and capabilities necessary to begin building out the management team and infrastructure of the company.  We want our faculty to be entrepreneurial without needing to be an entrepreneur.

Fundraising Strategies

UPstart collaborates with the founders to develop strategies and timelines for seeking funding opportunities. Numerous potential sources are pursued including, but not limited to, angel investors, economic development funds, seed stage venture funds, and government grants.


UPstart matches entrepreneurs with highly qualified students looking for an internship with an early-stage company.

IP Strategy Development

UPstart employs students from the Legal Law Clinic to develop IP strategies for companies in conjunction with their plans for the business.

Legal Agreement Templates

UPstart has assembled template documents covering most of the legal documents that may be required including operating agreements, management contracts, subcontract agreements, etc.

Preferred Vendor Relationships

UPstart has developed relationships with several service providers that are comfortable and willing to work with newly-started companies that have very limited operating capital.

Strategic Partner Outreach

UPstart actively markets the company’s technology to potential partners as a method of providing alternative funding sources and to advance the pace of innovative research.

Weekly Office Hours

UPstart offers drop-in office hours once a week, hosted by members of the PCI Ventures team.