LiftOff is our innovative program to help North Carolina’s scientific entrepreneurs get early funding for their technology start-ups. Our team of in-house executives and grant experts will guide LiftOff start-ups through grant applications so they can earn early-stage funding and keep working prior to seeking venture capital.

We built LiftOff to give early-stage NC science companies professional guidance to increase their success rate at getting non-dilutive funding (non-dilutive means the founder/start-up doesn’t give stock for the funding, like they would with traditional venture funding, so they can control their company longer). LiftOff is designed to be a financial force multiplier bringing in more money and increasing fundability when our companies later seek angel or venture capital funds.

LiftOff Process Graphic

Early non-dilutive funding helps inventors keep company control longer. They can use the funds to do prototyping or limited proof-of-concept field testing, activities investors want to know are underway. These steps de-risk a company making it a more viable investment opportunity. Early-stage investment dollars for science based companies in North Carolina have been moving to companies further along in the product development cycle. There may be more dollars available for investment overall but the gap First Flight fills has grown. LiftOff addresses this trend.

The program hires grant experts to perform a three-step process with every LiftOff company:

  • Step 1 designs a unique Grant Strategy for each company based on its business focus.
  • Step 2 prepares an initial grant proposal driven by the strategy.
  • Step 3 achieves a force multiplier by using and re-deploying initial grant core material in new grant proposals. The cost, on a per company basis, depends on how much work the company, as opposed to the LiftOff team, does. The company must commit to engage in all three steps.

Please help us finish funding LiftOff so we can launch this pilot project for 5-6 companies immediately. We’re just $15,000 away from our goal. Your support can help push us across the finish line.