Bay Area NSF I-Corps Node – UC Berkeley, Stanford and UCSF
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 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 immersive short course, taught by UC Berkeley faculty, is a 1 week program where you’ll learn how to conduct interviews to gain customer feedback and define your customer segment. There is no cost to the course, and UC Berkeley postdocs who participate may be eligible for a $5,000 grant through PostX.
Short course teams must have between 2-4 members, and the technology must have a current or recent University or National lab connection.
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.
Immersive Short Course
3hr sessions held Mon – Wed – Mon
15 customer interviews
Within a 1 week period
Upon completion and recommendation
APPLY for the next Immersive Short Course starting November 1, 2021 online via Zoom. Applications due October 15, 2021
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 thefaculty, mentors and other team members in the program.
UCB PhD Eric Munsing shares his experience with NSF I-Corps traininghere.
If you have questions about I-Corps, the application, or have any comments, please fill out the form below:
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