Licensing and Ventures Group Relocates to Thriving Startup Corridor: New Facility Offers Entrepreneurial Work Space

A building once devoted to the production of fizzy beverages has become a thriving hub of University and commercial activity. The former Coca-Cola Bottling Works, located on Preston Avenue, is now home to the University of Virginia’s Licensing and Ventures Group (LVG) as well as a bike shop, a gourmet café, and other food and retail outlets.

LVG’s new office is located near an important startup corridor in Charlottesville, near Harris Street, Dale Avenue and the downtown mall, home to many University companies. Occupying 9,640 square feet of the building’s 38,000 square feet, LVG has set up its intellectual property and business development operations in the former truck-loading area of the old bottling works. Although the building itself is on the National Register of Historic Buildings, the space inside is wide open and modern, incorporating the building’s historic wood, brick and concrete in an innovative way.

“Our goal at LVG is to help the University bring its most promising research to market,” explained Michael Straightiff, Executive Director of LVG. “This new space reflects our commitment to being innovative in our approach to support a wider array and greater number of University technologies that have the potential to impact human health and other social and industry needs.”

LVG has seen increased commercial activity, such as more licensing transactions and new company formation, over the last few years. Much of this activity can be attributed to the region’s entrepreneurs who bring critical business expertise and fundraising capabilities around early-stage research and technologies.

 “Part of our excitement about this new space is our ability to offer entrepreneurs who are working on University opportunities access to our new facilities. For some, it may be a place where they can work as they explore market sectors and initiate operations. For others who are interested in perhaps forming collaborations and partnerships, we hope that they will use the space for meet-ups and conversations. We hope that it will be a place where new relationships are formed and problems are solved.”

The new entrepreneurship space includes private offices, communal work areas, free wifi, parking and access to a boardroom and kitchen facilities. Working in close proximity to LVG’s licensing and business development professionals, the hope is that the entrepreneurship space becomes a hub of activity, where faculty members, students, entrepreneurs and other professionals come together to explore creative solutions to pressing business and social issues. Programs to provide
entrepreneurial support are currently being developed.

Faculty, students and entrepreneurs who are working on UVa-related projects are invited to contact Michael Straightiff at straightiff@virginia.edu to learn more about the entrepreneurship space and its amenities.