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.


“Entrepreneurs Agree, dilutive funds raised by the LIftOff Program are critical to their success”


LiftOff Provider Network 

The LiftOff Provider Network(LPN) is a membership program of service providers whose expertise plays a critical roles in the success of early stage companies.

LiftOff program participants need a variety of professional services to sustain and protect them along the path to commercialization and we thank these LPN members who support the LiftOff program.


NK Patent Law

NK Patent Law attorneys have extensive experience in the entrepreneurial community, including former roles as in-house counsel for established innovative companies and as counsel for many startups that have been funded and/or acquired.

Hutchison law

 Hutchison is a boutique law firm that embraces the entrepreneurial spirit and steers technology and life sciences entrepreneurs to success through all stages of their company’s life.