Catalyst is a long format accelerator, providing select, early-stage startups with nine months of program support, including: $20,000 in grant funding, dedicated workspace, experienced founders-in-residence, monthly programming, dedicated staff, a large network of industry experts, and access to nearly $50,000 in additional resources.

Regional and Organic

Our particular focus is upon high potential teams whose core members are already living within commuting distance of our workspace: Third & Main, located on Charlottesville’s downtown mall. Essentially, we are somewhat of a “hometown” accelerator, best-suited to support regional, organically-grown teams.

Scalable and Fundable

Qualified teams will have developed a scalable product or service of some kind, made possible through a novel approach, design, method, or invention. Examples might include: a new formulation for healthy snacks; a creative approach to managing data security on cloud services.

Our program is best suited for those startups at a particular moment in their lifecycle: either headed toward their first round of funding—whether through outside capital, crowdfunding, or bootstrapping—or headed toward a next round of funding after an initial angel or seed round.

Market-ready with Traction

Teams should be at or in the market at the time of their application. Meaning, your product or service should already have its initial batch of customers even if that batch is a small as customer number one. Our program is not well-suited for teams at the idea or prototype stage of their development.

The most qualified teams will be able to provide evidence of meaningful, yet perhaps early demand in the market—with the exception of biomed/biotech, which often face lengthy and regulated paths to market.

Early Stage and Compelling Teams

We are most focused upon startups with at least two active founders, founded no greater than three (maybe up to five) years prior to the application deadline. For solo founders or later stage teams, we provide open programming on a monthly basis and other resources.


The Catalyst accelerator program is a multi-stakeholder initiative, thanks to funding from and a collaboration among a range of public and private organizations in Central Virginia. This broad collaboration leverages the resources of the wider ecosystem to not only support the select set of high-potential startups selected for the accelerator, but also trigger positive impacts upon the community-at-large.

The program is funded by:

  • Commonwealth of Virginia’s Growth and Opportunity initiative

  • Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

  • City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development

  • Albemarle County Office of Economic Development

  • University of Virginia Office of Economic Development.

Additional collaborations to provide resources, programming, and other forms of support to participating startupsinclude a wide range of regional and state organizations:

  • Community Investment Collaborative (CIC)

  • Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development (CVPED)

  • University of Virginia Licensing and Ventures Group (LVG)

  • Charlottesville’s Business and Innovation Council (CBIC)

  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

  • UVA LVG Seed Fund

  • Charlottesville Angel Network (CAN)

  • CvilleBioHub

  • Cavalier Angels (CAV)


While Catalyst is funded, in part, by the Batten Institute at the UVA Darden School of Business, the program is open by application to the community-at-large—we support teams regardless of their affiliation with the University.

We have been running programs to support early-stage entrepreneurs and innovators for nearly 20 years. Since 2000, the Batten Institute has provided a total of nearly $1.5 million in grant support to over 275 for-profit and non-profit startups, across a range of industries. These teams have gone on to raise upwards of $150,000,000 in outside capital.

Learn more about our programs an impact through our Annual Reports


Our shared workspace is located at “Third & Main,” on Charlottesville downtown mall at 225 E. Main St—the corner of Third Street and Main St.



Feel free to drop us a line if you would like more information or to speak with a member of the team. Simply fill out the form below and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as they can.

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