Giving a leg-up to your Duke start-up
Mentors-in-Residence (MIRs) are entrepreneurs who have successfully raised capital for, built, sold, or invested in start-up companies. Working with Duke OTC, these forward thinkers share their insights, experiences, and numerous connections with your startup project. Each MIR handles a portfolio of projects related to their particular field of expertise and provides astute and personalized guidance to help create great new ventures.
This network of entrepreneurs will, in conjunction with OTC’s New Ventures Group, assist you in accelerating your Duke start-up, evaluating early-stage technology, and transforming promising technologies into business ventures. Their fields of experience include pharmaceuticals, medical devices, software/technology, materials, and hardware, among others.
How We Use Mentors-in-Residence
Paid by the University, MIRs are not volunteers, but experts hired to work on multiple projects simultaneously. By tapping into these experienced entrepreneurs’ business and networking expertise, we aim to promote community involvement and technology translation.
MIR Main Goals
- Provide face-to-face engagement opportunities and support to OTC Ventures through to a “robust launch” where the venture has the resources it needs to move forward on its own
- Improve our decision process for early-stage technology transfer opportunities
- Enhance Duke’s capabilities in licensing technologies
- Use their networks to benefit a venture project
What You Should Know
Our Mentors are governed by strict rules of conduct approved by Duke’s Institutional Conflict of Interest committee.
These rules include:
No financial stake in a project where the MIR is actively involved. A requirement to recuse in this case or in cases where a conflict exists with prior no-compete clauses or existing outside responsibilities.
A requirement of strict confidentiality with regards to our business ventures and Duke intellectual property—no sharing of information without your consent. All MIRs have signed CDAs to that effect.
Working for you
Mentors are charged as advocates for those they work with. Although employed by Duke, an MIRs’ first responsibility is to the inventors they work with. MIRs are not seeking employment or investment opportunities; they are here to provide guidance rather than create their next job or portfolio company.
The Mentors will provide their best advice to you. This may include things you do not want to hear.
MIRs will be involved in many paths along the new venture route, such as developing business plans, creating marketing strategies, helping with grant proposals, searching out talent for new ventures, assessing market risks, discovering resources, etc. We believe this is an excellent group to help you take your technology and advance it towards making a real impact on society; let us know how we can help!
Ideally, every project will have a Mentor-in-Residence, a New Venture Fellow, and a representative from the Professor’s lab, all working together
Provide guidance, feedback, and strategic insight for other team-members. Effectively act as the first CEO of the newco.
Second year Fuqua MBA students. Provide business research support, model-building, pitch deck work.
Experts on the technology both inside the lab and the overall landscape. Tasks revolve around generating/providing data, analyzing competition, and building the technical story.
Guides patent process, handles license negotiation at appropriate time.
Head of DU New Ventures
Coordinates with other resources in the Ecosystem; provides support for the project.
Interested in becoming an MIR?
Overview of the MIR position
Half-time, paid position (no benefits) Expecting a 1-year commitment with interim reviews for fit and progress Partner with professors to advance potential start-ups to license & beyond
What we're looking for
Four Mentors-in-Residence to devote ~20 hours/week Immediate launch of the program as we find the right people Key criteria: fit, strong industry experience, start-up experience