QB3 Startup in a Box


Eight hours of help from top Silicon Valley lawyers


A no-fee commercial account from Silicon Valley Bank

SBIR support

Hands-on workshops so you file on deadline


Confirm your freedom to operate in IP space*


Advice & connections from experienced professionals


Interns, joblistings, and discounts on services

*For selected startups. Provided by Berkeley Law & UC Hastings. Twice-yearly application cycle.


“I guarantee you that I would not have gotten the grant (without Startup in a Box).” — Rachel Haurwitz, CEO, Caribou Biosciences (Xconomy, September 29, 2016)


$350, or $250 for UC founders*

*Current faculty, staff, or student, or a recent graduate of any University of California campus

Incorporation Support


These services are provided by QB3 Startup in a Box legal partners. They provide these services to your company at no charge, and your company is not obligated to continue to use the law firm’s services. However, QB3 hopes that the law firm will supply excellent services and your company will naturally want to continue the relationship. The startup is responsible for filing fees. Startups are cycled in order through our partner firms.

  • Incorporation
  • Help in agreeing on a pre-funding cap-table
  • A set of standard documents (NDAs, employment agreements, etc.)
  • Preliminary review of IP position including a letter of intent for an exclusive license with the university if necessary

Commercial Bank Account

In order to apply for an SBIR grant, your company must be registered with grants.gov. This requires a business bank account. Silicon Valley Bank has agreed to provide QB3 Startup in a Box companies with no-deposit, no-fee accounts for this purpose.

SBIR Workshops


“The templates and the spreadsheet with all the account info were extremely useful. We reviewed so many moving pieces that it was hard to visualize everything until you actually started doing them—then it all made sense!” — Jeff Jorgenson, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Plushcare

“I like the idea of a working class where you are actually working on something of your own and not just listening and taking notes.” — Charles Blaha, Project Director, Silicon Kidney

“It was a nail biter getting it in, and we really appreciate you being on hand to help.” — Maurice Garcia, Assistant Professor, UCSF


Sure, it takes a long time to get SBIR funding, and the application is complex, but many startups in our community have gone from their kitchen table to active labwork using SBIR funds. And the funding can be quite substantial. One company has received more than $5 million in non-dilutive financing from the NCI. The trick is simple: apply as soon as possible, apply as often as possible, and file the most competitive possible grant application you can.

This is where we come in. We promise that if you follow our steps you won’t be among the 20% whose applications are rejected before they even make it to review, and we’ll assure you that you will have a well-structured and competitive application.

QB3 offers three SBIR workshops a year geared towards the NIH submission deadlines of January 5, April 5, and September 5, plus a number of two-session bootcamps on the specifics of NSF SBIRs. See below for details, or contact QB3 Entrepreneurship Program Manager Ioana Aanei.

course content

Sessions generally follow the same format, with some variations. Here's what a typical course entails.

This five-session workshop will take you through all the steps necessary to successfully file a well-written SBIR/STTR grant application for the next NIH SBIR deadline. This course will focus on crafting a well-structured research plan, getting persuasive letters of support, crafting an efficient budget, and helping you anticipate reviewers’ comments. We will help you speed through the application instructions, saving you hours of time. The course culminates in a submission clinic that will ensure your application is correctly filed.

One or more team members from the company should be prepared to attend every session. Remember to bring your laptop; these will be working sessions.

Course includes

  • Five 2.5-hour working sessions
  • One 1-hour resubmission working session
  • One 1-hour Phase 2 working session
  • Two 1-hour NSF working sessions
  • Pre-submission review of specific aims by our course instructors

Topics include

  • Understanding the requirements of an SBIR
  • Preparing to apply for an SBIR (company formation, registration at all required websites, identifying the best PI)
  • Assembling all the necessary parts of the application (letters of support, sub-contract quotes and letters, facilities to execute the grant, and research plan)
  • Composing a competitive research plan
  • Understanding and assembling a budget and justification
  • Documentation required to use human samples, vertebrate animals, select agents, resources
  • Composing competitive innovation and significance sections as well as specific aims
  • Searching for program announcements and finding opportunities
  • Assembling and filing (completing the 424 correctly and filing on time)

Workshop Fee

$750 general admission; $150 for members of QB3 Startup in a Box.


The schedule for our Fall 2018 workshop (targeting the Jan. 5 NIH deadline) will soon be finalized. Please join our mailing list to stay informed.


Freedom-to-Operate Analysis

QB3 partners with the Startup Legal Garage at UC Hastings, a selective program offering free legal services to early-stage technology and biotech companies. Typically, five companies are selected to receive FTO help in the spring cycle and another five in the fall.

For biotech startups, the Legal Garage focuses exclusively on patent landscape surveys, otherwise known as freedom-to-operate (FTO) analysis. The free legal services are worth an estimated $15,000 to $30,000 and are performed by top UC Hastings law students working under the supervision of attorneys from prominent law firms, such as Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Orrick, DLA Piper and Pillsbury.

Criteria for eligibility are as follows:

  • Less than $1 million in funding
  • Biotech component to your business model
  • Past the “wet-napkin” stage; i.e. have a beta, an MVP, or a product already launched
  • Ready to commit time to legal needs

The Legal Garage offers services in a semiannual cycle, January through April and August through November. Leading up to each session, QB3 takes applications from Startup in a Box companies and forwards selected candidates to the Legal Garage.



QB3 has developed a network of mentors to help companies create a business plan that includes clarity about the best market to serve, the needs of their customers, the capital required, and the most significant risks that will need to be addressed. These mentors include:

  • The Rosenman Fellows, a network of medical device professionals, expert in fields including engineering, marketing, and regulatory matters. Visit the Fellows page on the Rosenman Institute website to learn more.
  • Our Executive Mentorship program, through which selected companies are connected to industry veterans for guidance on key business matters.



Every summer, QB3 and the Rosenman Institute connect startups with talented interns looking for work experience. The interns come to us from several sources: international partnerships, the UC system, and Bay Area community colleges.


Our jobs page gets more views than any other except the homepage. If you are an early-stage life science company based in California that would like to post openings, please contact us.



QB3 has a partnership with NatureJobs. To get national and international exposure for your hiring, QB3 companies can receive a discount of 25% when posting a job on the NatureJobs.com website or in a Nature family journal. Please contact ioana.aanei@ucsf.edu for more information on how to access the discounted prices:

  • Digital format: $700 for 2 months

  • In print: $4,500 for ¼ page, $11,000 for a full page black and white post, $14,000 for a full page, color print

NGX Bio is an interface between sequencing facilities and researchers. They work with sequencing facilities all over the world and can find the right facility at the best price for any sequencing project. They have successfully helped customers to complete a very diverse list of sequencing projects from taxonomic analyses to RNA-Seq, WGS, WES, PacBio sequencing or single cell DNA sequencing of any given organism. NGX Bio is pleased to provide an exclusive 10% discount on all our NGS services for QB3 companies for up to a year period. QB3 stakeholders will be automatically granted this promotion when using the special discount code and using their company/institution email when placing an order through http://www.ngxbio.com.