The NSF I-Corps Bay Area Node trains faculty, researchers and students in commercializing university research, while building the connective tissue for deeper, more impactful public-private networks.

Through free online classes offered monthly, teams learn the basics of customer discovery and apply them immediately  to “get out of the building” and interview 15 potential customers. Eligible teams may then apply to the National I-Corps program that includes a $50k grant for customer discovery activities.

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About

The NSF I-Corps Bay Area Node trains faculty, researchers and students in commercializing university research, while building the connective tissue for deeper, more impactful public-private networks.

Through free online classes offered monthly, teams learn the basics of customer discovery and apply them immediately  to “get out of the building” and interview 15 potential customers. Eligible teams may then apply to the National I-Corps program that includes a $50k grant for customer discovery activities.

Technology commercialization is about making a series of choices.  What problem does the technology solve? Who is the customer and why do they care?

NSF I-Corps is based on Lean Launchpad, applying the scientific method to business.  Through a guided curriculum and flipped classroom model, I-Corps teaches the basics of Customer Discovery as well as how to use the Business Model Canvas to capture and iterate on evidence, so that you make the right choices for your technology.

Learn about one UC Berkeley team’s journey through the process in this two minute “Lessons Learned” video at the end of their National I-Corps experience in August, 2018.

Click here to find the outcome of their story in August, 2020. 

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Training

The I-Corps training is focused on helping early-stage teams who have a fundamental technology, engineering, or business model innovation learn how search for a scalable business model through the Customer Discovery process. Teams are typically composed of three members: the technical lead (hacker), the entrepreneurial lead (hustler) and the mentor (entrepreneurial experience).

There are two types of I-Corps training, both based on our National Faculty Director, Steve Blank’s Lean Startup methods.

Immersive Short Course

7 DAYS

3hr sessions held Mon – Wed – Mon

15 customer interviews

Within a 1 week period

nationals

Upon completion and recommendation

APPLY for the next Immersive Short Course starting January 25, 2021  online via Zoom. Applications due January 8, 2021

Apply here

If you have any questions about the application, use the Contact Form at the bottom of the site.

2021 planned start dates:

Winter SpringSummer Fall
Jan 25Apr 12Jul 19Oct 4
Feb 22May 10Aug 16Nov 1
Mar 8 Jun 14Sep 13Nov 29

Short Course Program Team Eligibility

2-4 people

Business and Technical Lead (Mentor optional)

20 – 40 hours

Commitment during program week

Attendance

Of all 3 sessions

Additionally, the team should be open to learning through the Customer Discovery process. Be willing to fail or succeed as a team and have a high tolerance of uncertainty in startups. And Describe the customer value proposition without revealing proprietary intellectual property.

National Course

for current NSF grantees or Immersive Short Course completion + recommendation)

$ 50k Grant

Non dilutive grants for customer discover activities

Flexible Cohorts

Rotating App + courses around the year

Boot camps

3 +2 day bootcamps in beginning +end of sessions

Video Sessions

5 bi-weekly sessions between bootcamps

More info & schedule here: I-Corps Curriculum

Benefits of both courses include learning techniques for using Customer Discovery and  the Customer Development process to rapidly evaluate the business potential of technologies and ideas.  Teams should reach a go/no go decision by the end of either course. Course structures also facilitate personal connections to the faculty, mentors and other team members in the program.

Case Study

UCB PhD Eric Munsing shares his experience with NSF I-Corps training here.

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Contact

If you have questions about I-Corps, Application, or have any comments, please fill out the form below.

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Bay Area NSF I-Corps Blog

Hacking for Defense is a new class in Stanford’s School Engineering, where students learn about the nation’s security challenges by working with innovators inside the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community. The class teaches students the Lean Startup approach to entrepreneurship while they engage in what amounts to national public service.

Hacking for Defense uses the same Lean LaunchPad Methodology adopted by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and proven successful in Lean LaunchPad and I-Corps classes with 1,000’s of teams worldwide. Over 70 students applied to this new Stanford class and we selected 32 of them in 8 teams read more

Coreshell Technologies Raises $4M

National NSF I-Corps team Coreshell Technologies recently announced raising $4M for their lithium-ion battery coating. After completing National I-Corps as a community-track team (Summer ’18), the company obtained a Phase I NSF SBIR grant. Since then, they’ve continued to refine their technology to align with the needs uncovered during customer discovery: reduced cost with added … Continue reading Coreshell Technologies Raises $4M

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