NSF I-Corps Method – UC Berkeley, Stanford and UCSF
Intro to Lean Startup: NSF I-Corps Method 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?
Intro to Lean Startup: NSF I-Corps Method is based on Lean Launchpad, applying the scientific method to business. I-Corps teaches the basics of Customer Discovery – how to conduct interviews in order to validate who your top customer is and why – 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 hereto find the outcome of their story in August, 2020.
The I-Corps training is focused on helping early-stage teams who have a fundamental technology, engineering, or business model innovation learn how to search for a scalable business model through the Customer Discovery process.
There are two types of I-Corps training, both based on our National Faculty Director, Steve Blank’s Lean Startup methods.
The Intro to Lean Startup: NSF I-Corps Method course, taught by UC Berkeley faculty, is a free 1 week program where you’ll learn how to conduct interviews to gain customer feedback and define your customer segment.
NSF I-Corps Method course teams must have between 2-4 members, and the technology must have a current or recent University or National lab connection.
As part of UC Berkeley’s ongoing commitment to entrepreneurship, UC Berkeley postdocs who successfully complete the 1 week NSF I-Corps Method course can receive up to a $5,000 grant from PostX, and UC Berkeley PhD students can receive up to a $5,000 grant from PhDX.
After you complete the short course, you may be eligible to continue to the National I-Corps Program, a 7 week course that comes with a $50,000 customer discovery grant.
NSF I-corps Method Short Course
3hr sessions held Mon – Wed – Mon
15 customer interviews
Within a 1 week period
Upon completion and recommendation
APPLY below for the next Intro to Lean Startup: NSF I-Corps Method Short Course starting February 28, 2022 online via Zoom.
In February, we are excited to offer a second training happening at the same time, tailored to food related teams. Eligible teams who complete this course will be able to participate in the NorCal SBDC Restaurant Program, which includes resources such as one-on-one advising and a 10-week food business startup accelerator.
The application for both courses is below, and is due February 11, 2022
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.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Please contact Dave Weiner via email – firstname.lastname@example.org
UCB PhD Eric Munsing shares his experience with NSF I-Corps Method training here.
If you have questions about I-Corps, the application, or have any comments, please fill out the form below:
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