Putting Technology Entrepreneurs on the Road to Success

Technical Plan

Technical Plans should be no longer than 10 pages in length, including exhibits, attachments, and diagrams. Technical Plans are designed to explain the technology and the proposed product and/or service, as well as to illustrate technical uniqueness that can be the basis for competitive differentiation. Technical Plans should cover the following topics:

  • Thorough explanation of the underlying technology, including technical principles, theories, and unique attributes.
  • Proposed product(s) and/or service(s) resulting (or to result) from the underlying technology; expected competitive differentiation of such products and/or services.
  • Synopsis of customer types for the proposed product and/or service; scope and size of proposed market(s).
  • Timelines for (1) advancing technology to commercialization stage, with details about steps and milestones to reach such point; and (2) rolling out products and/or services once commercialization is reached.
  • Summary of technical milestones reached to date, including descriptions of any tests with potential or actual customers.
  • Summary of key technical risks and obstacles that must be overcome; commentary about approaches to address such issues.
  • Description of existing intellectual property and potential intellectual property; discussion of IP protection strategy and options.
  • Description of external funding needed to reach commercialization and plan(s) for obtaining such funds, including synopses of grant solicitations (pending or planned), funds awarded to date, venture funding sought (or obtained), and potential or existing joint development arrangements with other firms.
  • In-depth biographies for the key technical persons in the company; references to relevant publications and other credentials for key technical personnel.
  • Description of technical assistance sought from the University of Maryland, including faculty assistance, student labor, and specialized labs/facilities.

After receipt of written Technical Plans, they are distributed to TAP's Technical Review panel.

Technical Review

The Technical Review is the second step in TAP's three-part admission process. Technical Plans are distributed to three-to-five relevant technical experts, mostly from academia and/or government labs. Such persons review, comment on, and score technical plans. When TAP distributes Technical Plans to such reviewers, TAP also sends a copy of the applicant's executive summary. In some instances, reviewers forward questions about the applicant's Technical Plan to TAP, which questions are then directed to the applicant. Generally, the Technical Review process lasts two-to-three weeks, unless a substantial number of questions are raised by reviewers.

Resensys LLC develops
self-powered, wireless, distributed sensors for monitoring structures such as bridges, buildings, and pipelines. The company's technology will detect strain, deformation, and cracks forming in structures, and provide early warnings when problems arise. Resensys’ sensors attach to existing structures.

Business Plan

TAP Business Plans should be limited to 15 pages (single spaced OK), plus exhibits for financial information, customer testimonials, and other relevant supporting documents. The primary purpose of a business plan is to (a) convey the opportunity for the new venture; and (b) explain how the venture will execute and capitalize upon such opportunity.

In the Business Plan, companies are requested to include the following information:

  • Clear and focused mission statement for the company.
  • Synopsis of key technical, marketing, and financial milestones achieved to date.
  • Synopsis of the proposed product(s) and service(s).
  •  Synopsis of the underlying technology supporting the proposed product(s) or service(s).
  • Synopsis of the market, designed to convey the opportunity for the business, including:
  • Reasons customers will purchase the product(s) or service(s);
  • Size, scope and expected growth in the market with data from credible research and/or news organizations;
  • Preliminary segmentation of prospective customers;
  • Synopsis of key existing or potential competitors, including a chart distinguishing the company from competitors using product or service features, pricing, lead-time, etc.;
  • Expected adoption cycle and timeline for the product(s) and service(s) ro reach the marketplace.
  • Brief description of and rationalization for the company's business model, whether product sale, licensing, subscription-based, or services.
  • Synopsis of the company's sales and business development plan and related efforts:
  • Will the company use distributors? Direct sales effort?
  • How will alpha and beta customers be identified and engaged?
  • Synopsis of the company's financing strategy, including:
  • Funds committed and current burn rate;
  • Funds needed to reach (a) commercialization; and (b) break-even, with supporting rationale for such figures;
  • Existing burn rate per month;
  • Existing and proposed sources of funds, and proposed timeline for attaining such resources.
  • Synopsis of key facilities and equipment needed by the company during the proceeding 24-36 months, as well as synopsis of the company's manufacturing strategy pre and post-commercialization, if applicable.
  • Brief overview of the existing and proposed management team, advisory board(s), and board of directors. [Complete resumes should be attached as an exhibit to the Business Plan.]
  • Synopsis of key technology, marketing, and business risks the company currently faces and may encounter in the future.
  • Timeline for proceeding 24-36 months with brief descriptions of key future milestones. Please include technology, marketing, financing, and personnel-related milestones.
  • Synergies and benefits with the University of Maryland and TAP that the company expects to achieve.
  • Pro Forma income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement with supporting explanations should be attached as an exhibit.

Business Plan Submission Guidelines

Business Plans should be submitted electronically as PDF files attached to emails. Upon receiving Business Plans, TAP's staff will communicate any questions or recommendations for modification. TAP's staff will send finalized Business Plans to those persons selected for a company's Business Review. Questions about the Business Plan should be communicated to TAP via e-mail or telephone at 301.314.7803.

FlexEl LLC develops custom battery solutions.

Business Review

As part of the Business Review, TAP's management schedules a presentation by the principals of the prospective company to a selected panel. The presentation should be directed to the following persons:

  • In-house TAP senior staff
  • Faculty from the A. James Clark School of Engineering and Robert H. Smith School of Business
  • Venture capitalists
  • Senior personnel from major accounting and law firms
  • Other outside business experts

A meeting will be scheduled with the above panel to discuss the Business Plan. It usually lasts from 90 to 150 minutes. Visual aids are recommended; appropriate projection equipment will be provided. A specific date for the review session will be arranged after receipt of the written plan. Generally this step can be concluded within a 10-day period following receipt of a finalized Business Plan.

The Business Panel will provide TAP with an assessment of the company's suitability for the Program shortly following the review. A final decision incorporating inputs from both the Technical and Business Reviews, as well as the evaluation of other factors, will be made by TAP management, and the company will be officially notified of the results within a few days following the Business Review. If the decision is favorable, the company will be invited to proceed to the final step of the admissions process--the signing of the TAP License Agreement. If the decision is unfavorable, the company will be briefed on the Panel's findings and provided with suggestions for possible corrective actions that may improve the potential for success. A re-application following corrective changes is welcome.


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