Steps to Launching an OHSU Startup

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Below is an overview of the suggested steps to launching a company.  This is not intended to be an exhaustive description of all steps required. The order of the steps may vary depending on specific situation of your startup. 

You can download this step-by-step checklist for starting a company but a more complete description of the steps are described below.

Interested in turning your OHSU innovation into a new startup company?  Reach out to to start a conversation.

Step 1: Submit a Technology Disclosure Form to OHSU Tech Transfer

After you submit your Technology Disclosure Form, your invention is assigned to a technology development manager. A technology development manager will review your disclosure and follow-up with you to discuss your disclosure and the steps to commercialization, set general expectations, and keep you informed on the technology’s progress. 

Step 2: Explore the potential commercialization pathways to bring your technology/service to market

Discuss with your technology development manager the options to develop your technology  or service to bring it to market. Review the steps to commercialization for more more information on licensing a technology from OHSU to your startup company. 

Connect with to learn more about the startup process, obtain resources to launch your company, and receive mentoring from the Entrepreneur-In-Residence Program.

Acquire the tools and skills that you need to set up a successful business by attending an innovation or an entrepreneurial educational workshop/class such as Spring to Market or BIP Corp.

Step 3: Perform initial assessments of business opportunity

Perform initial assessments of potential business models, market opportunity, and regulatory pathways. Identify potential clinical and strategic partners for commercialization of your innovation. 

Resources include Startup Resources page and the OHSU Business Development Planning System

Step 4: Discuss your startup plan with your supervisor or manager

Step 5: Discuss your startup plan with OHSU Integrity

Discuss with OHSU Integrity about your plans to launch a startup company and learn about OHSU’s conflict of interest management process.

OHSU has revised its Conflict of Interest (CoI) policy regarding OHSU Members' roles in OHSU Startup Companies.  OHSU Startup Companies Policy.

Step 6: Calculate costs

A solid grasp of the expenses to start and operate your company is key to a successful launch. This startup costs calculator can help you identify and estimate one-time and monthly expenses to determine how much capital you might need. 

Step 1: Schedule a meeting with OHSU Collaborations and Entrepreneurship to begin company launch and receive guidance on developing a commercialization and/ or business plan.

Step 2: Engage a business advisor and/or legal counsel

A business advisor and/or legal representation may help with guiding critical early steps in company formation and with license negotiation.  The company representative negotiating on behalf of the startup for the license agreement cannot be an employee of the University. 

Step 3: Develop a commercialization and/or business plan

Step 4: Select a business name and corporate structure

A legal representative and/or tax consultants should be consulted before determining the type of business entity to form. Types of legal business structures are described on the Delaware’s Division of Revenue and Oregon Secretary of State website.

Choose a business name. The Oregon Business Registry or the Delaware Business Registry can be used to checked for business name availability. 

Step 5: Identify a business address or pick a business site

Although you may not want to commit to a site until your startup is funded, you should consider having a temporary business address to start. When registering a business, this information becomes public record so it best to use a business address rather than a home address.

Regional locations that may have startup space available include Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI), the Portland State Business Accelerator (PSBA) and the Oregon Technology Business Center (OTBC).

It is possible to rent space at OHSU for a fee, but startup employees who are not OHSU employees will have limited access to certain OHSU services including computer networks, OHSU email, OHSU Library subscriptions etc. For more information contact OHSU Collaborations and Entrepreneurship.

Step 6: Register the company in the state you will be doing business

Online forms to register your business in Oregon are available on the Oregon Secretary of State website.

Step 7: Obtain tax numbers for your business

The process for obtaining a Federal- Employee Identification Number (EIN) can be found on the IRS website.

The process for obtaining state and local tax numbers can be found on the Oregon Business Express website.

Step 8: Obtain a business bank account

It is best to not intermingle your business and personal funds within the same bank account. Keeping a separate business bank account will help you organize accounting records, avoid overspending, and accurately file taxes.

To set up a business bank account, you will need an Employee Identification Number (EIN) and Business Name Filing document. If your business is structured as an LLC or Corporation, your Company's Articles of Incorporation will be required. 

Step 9: Negotiate an Option Agreement

Once the founding team has made the decision to license IP into a new startup the next step is to negotiate an Option Agreement with OHSU Technology Transfer.

An Option Agreement ties up the technology for a short period of time so they can evaluate it further. This process is interactive, commonly taking several iterations before both the startup team and the licensee come to a mutual understanding on the terms of the Option Agreement.

Step 10: Disclose startup plans to OHSU Integrity for development of a Conflict Management Plan. 

Step 1: Begin recruitment of business and scientific advisors

Business and scientific advisors can help fill gaps in knowledge, provide strategic advice, and provide feedback to that can help your company achieve your milestones.  

Before you begin recruiting advisors, decide what critical knowledge gaps you need to fill to meet the goals of your company.

Step 2: Seek funding

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)friends and family, and Seed Funds are common funding strategies for early-stage life sciences companies. Make sure to understand the difference between dilutive and non-dilutive funding as well as the pros and cons of each pathway.

If you would like to learn more about fundraising, visit Startup Resources.

Step 3: Negotiate a license

Negotiate a license with OHSU Technology Transfer to have rights to develop and use your technology within your startup. 

In order for a company to maintain rights for a longer period of time to develop and use a technology and/or for a company to engage in commercial activity based on the technology, a License Agreement is required.

The License Agreement will incorporate financial terms as well as other rights and responsibilities. The execution of a license is just the beginning of a long-term relationship between OHSU and the licensee. 

Step 1: Develop a fundraising strategy

Map out specific milestones that you would like to achieve and exact amounts of funds needed to achieve these milestones. Identify key sources of financing that you would like to target in your fundraising efforts.

Develop a pitch deck and company executive summary to support your fundraising efforts.

You can learn more about fundraising on the Startup Resources page.

Step 2: Market your startup company

The development of a website, logos, business cards, company executive summary, and other marketing collateral is one of the first steps in marketing your company. 

 If you would like your company posted on the OHSU Innovates website, please submit a company logo, brief company description, and website link to OHSU Technology Transfer . We can also market your company to potential investors, strategic partners, and business talent, if you also provide a non-confidential company executive summary,

The decision of when to begin marketing your startup is highly dependent on your company's specific goals and stage of development. For more information contact OHSU Collaborations and Entrepreneurship.

Step 3: Secure seed funding

Step 4: Hire an accountant

An accountant can help you set up your record keeping and accounting systems, provide tax advice and services, and assist with auditing.

Step 5: Obtain business insurance to help cover liability claims

Step 6: Set up your Human Resources

Before you begin hiring employees, you will need to set up payroll, employee benefits, employee handbook, employee contracts, and employee compensation packages. Be sure to orient yourself to state and federal employment laws.

Step 7: Develop your leadership team

Develop executive talent compensation packages. Recruit C-suite talent and Board of Directors.

Step 8: Provide yearly reports and updates to OHSU Technology Transfer

Step 9: Keep OHSU Technology Transfer and OHSU Collaborations and Entrepreneurship in the loop on your progress and achievements