Transforming Africa's most promising university research into its most inspiring startups

Africa's #1 university
business builder

University research can become products that shape the lives of people around the world. We serve as the commercial partner that deep technical experts need in order to transform their intellectual property into high impact, scalable startups

University Technology Fund

The UTF is a venture fund specifically focused on commercialising technology, intellectual property, and research originating from South African Universities. The UTF bridges the gap between technology ideation, research, and intellectual property development and the commercialisation thereof. It aims to catalyse and commercialise the technology transfer industry in South Africa for the benefit of all South Africans.

SU LaunchLab is the Preferred Partner of the UTF for its pre-seed, seed, series seed and series A investments. 


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Technology originating at an African university

One or more full time employees

Are you eligible?

Incorporated spinout company

Commercially viable technology

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Our aim
is to transform inspiring research into products that can shape the world. 


Commercializing university technology is difficult. Searching for the path to market can be arduous.  Straddling the worlds of research and business can feel overwhelming.

That's why we created a program that meets you where you are right now and provides us with a starting point for our co-building journey. We walk the path with dedicated founders focusing on business, product & entrepreneur development. 




To serve as a trusted partner helping technology transfer entrepreneurs transform their early stage venture into a fully fleshed out business with a clear business plan and budget based on defined mission, vision, values. We assist in accessing various forms of funding  while growing sales, team and impact.

Company Stage

Pre-Seed, Seed, Series Seed, Pre-Series A 

Program Specifics

Ignite is a 5-month business building programs that combines foundational knowledge with bespoke support to ensure teams make great leaps on their startup journey.

It focused on business, product and entrepreneur development with experienced professionals administering each unique aspect of business formation.

It is the ideal starting point for funded, post spin-out startups originating from university research with 1+ full-time employees and a dream to change the world. 


  • Mission, Vision, Values

  • Business plan & strategy

  • 12 month budget

  • Funding pitch deck & data room

  • Product development support from SU network

  • IP & regulatory support

  • Entrepreneurial coaching & skill development

  • Access to grant, debt and equity funding 

Program Dates

Cohort 1:  1 April - 31 August

Cohort 2: 1 September - 31 January

Want to learn more?


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Nolan van Heerden

Business Building Lead

Experienced startup founder with a successful exit to a USA multi-national. Played a pivotal role in scaling the product across Africa and leading a growing team. A strong activator and catalyst for disruptive product development with a passion for building great engineering teams and enabling them to exceed their dreams.

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Francois Esterhuizen

Entrepreneur Growth Coach

A life and career coach, therapist and former youth pastor, Francois has been helping people achieve their dreams for over 20 years. His motto is "if you change your mind you can transform your life."

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Josh Romisher

USL Facilitator

SU LL CEO and serial entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio of ventures across the US, Africa and Asia, including a boutique investment bank, solar irrigation, frozen yogurt franchise and solar home business.