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I-Corps Customer Discovery

I-Corps Customer Discovery

Is I-Corps Customer Discovery Right for My Innovation?

Who should apply?

Faculty and Grad Students/Post Docs who have developed a science or technology innovation.  A team approach is recommended including a technical lead (typically faculty) and an entrepreneurial lead (typically a student).

What you'll get

  • Training: Four sessions introducing the lean startup methodology and guiding teams through customer discovery research – customer, problem, solution and value proposition testing. 
  • Funding: Grants of up to $3,000 are given to each team and can be used to fund expenses related to customer discovery research, including solution-testing costs. 
    Acceptable Expense Policy
  • Mentorship and networking: Teams will receive mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs and innovators. Teams may also utilize many other programs offered by the Hub-affiliated institutions.
  • Follow-on opportunities: Upon completion, teams are eligible for the national NSF I-Corps Teams program which provides an intensive 7-week training course and a $50,000 grant.
  • Other benefits include:
    • Attracting more innovative graduate students to your lab (for faculty).
    • Reassuring potential investors that you have engaged the customer and have reflected their feedback in the development of your innovation.
    • Identifying the first licensees or customers for your product.

When is the best time to attend I-Corps?

  • We encourage teams to apply early in the development of their innovation.  While customer discovery work can be done as early as the idea phase, typically it is most efficient when the initial research is complete or when a prototype or MVP has been developed.  Completing customer discovery before seeking outside investors is ideal.
  • Other considerations:  The $3K in funding for I-Corps participants is most often used for registration and travel to a relevant conference with a density of your future customers.  The meeting must occur within the weeks of your I-Corps program to use $3K in funds.  Therefore, if there is an ideal meeting your future customers are likely to attend, you may want to consider looking for an I-Corps program from one of the Northeast regional hub universities that aligns with your conference.  

Yale I-Corps, Summer 2024 In-person at Yale School of Management; dinner provided
Tuesday, June 4th, 4-6pm
Tuesday, June 25th, 4-5:30 pm
Tuesday, July 9th, 4-5:30 pm

Propelus I-Corps, Summer 2024 Princeton; Virtual and In-person
•    Jul 15, 2024, 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
•    Jul 18, 2024, 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
•    Jul 25, 2024, 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
•    Aug 8, 2024, 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
•    Yale I-Corps September-October In-Person, Dates and location TBD; In person

Propleus I-Corps at UConn: October 2024 (Quantum/Photonics Theme) In-person
•    Oct 11, 2024, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
•    Oct 17, 2024, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
•    Oct 24, 2024, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
•    Oct 31, 2024, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Propleus I-Corps at UConn, November 2024 In-person
•    Nov 8, 2024, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
•    Nov 14, 2024, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
•    Nov 28, 2024, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
•    Dec 5, 2024, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm