"NYCRIN is dedicated to teaching technology entrepreneurship and performing research that advances this endeavor. Its aim is to become a global leader in technology innovation and entrepreneurial business development by leveraging the existing innovation ecosystem in New York City."
Gillian Small, Ph.D., NYCRIN Principal Investigator, City University of New York
"I learned a lot from the I-Corps experience and I feel like my strategies toward my research have also changed. I am grateful for the time [the teaching team] spent reviewing my business canvas and interviews and providing [their] advice."
Omid Dehzangi, EL,
NYCRIN April 2013 Cohort
"The [I-Corps] program, along with the entire 'Teaching Team', was outstanding, even for someone who thinks they know a lot about the world of startups. It was, as they say, a valuable learning experience for me as a Mentor, as well as for our Team."
Tom Harrison, IM, NYCRIN April 2013 Cohort
"Thanks again for a job well done!!!!! Everyone I reached out to the last couple of days had nothing negative to say. At times, PIs, mentors or ELs would approach me on their own and offer ONLY positive comments about both the curriculum and the instructors."
Rathindra (Babu) DasGupta, Program Director, I/UCRC and I-Corps
"I'd like to thank you all for guiding us throughout the customer discovery process."
Maciej Pietrusinski, EL, NYCRIN April 2013 Cohort
"Thank you so much for your constant support and advice in training me towards entrepreneurship. The program was fun and educational at the same time."
Raviprasad Aduri, Ph.D., EL, NYCRIN April 2013 Cohort
"Thank you again for being a critical (literally!) part of the I-Corps program for me. It was a great experience and I learned a lot."
Linda Plano, IM, NYCRIN April 2013 Cohort
The NYC Regional Innovation Node (NYCRIN) teaches the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) course using the Lean Launchpad curriculum based on Steve Blank’s Customer Development methodology and Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. As such, it demands that teams ‘Get out of the Building’, and spend the majority of their time talking to potential customers to discover how their technology could effectively ‘solve’ customers’ unmet needs or pain points. This program not only helps teams commercialize their specific research, but also teaches researchers how to approach their work by thinking about market needs earlier in the process.
Teams, usually made up of three members, will create detailed “customer profiles” that clearly identify and distinguish between beneficiaries, users, decision makers, influencers, and payers in their target markets. More importantly, teams will have to understand and clearly articulate why each of these customer types would value the product or service from the customer’s perspective (i.e., determine the value proposition for each customer type).
Teams will also map out the expected sales, distribution, and service channels that will be needed to get their products to market, either through a startup company or licensing arrangement with an established company. Teams will identify key partners, activities, and resources required in their business models. Finally, teams are expected to identify likely revenue streams and the cost structure associated with their proposed business model. During the process, teams will estimate the market opportunity and assess the competitive landscape facing their innovations.
The types of technologies assessed by each team must be developed at a university within New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Connecticut. The technology you choose will come from your laboratory or an idea that you have for a company based on your technology concept. The team's PI should have disclosed the technology to the university's Technology Transfer Office who will we contact to confirm. The technology may be funded by any government agency (NIH, DOD, DOE, NSF, etc).
Most researchers, technologists, and startup founders in all industries make a similar assumption – they presume that “what they are working on” has inherent value in the market. Sometimes this turns out to be true, but often it does not. Even for technologies with obvious benefits (e.g., a therapeutic drug), founders often misunderstand the market they are entering. They focus on technical risk while neglecting customer risk, which is a general way of saying that they do not identify clear product-market fit or viable business models necessary for commercializing their technology. The NYCRIN I-Corps program is specifically designed to help teams reduce customer risk, and therefore increase the odds of your success.
The program is free for participants, but requires a significant effort over the seven-week duration. The program is immersive and experiential, as the teaching team creates an experience that reflects the chaos, uncertainty, and demands of a real startup company. The team leader, called the Entrepreneurial Lead (EL), should expect to put in 15-20 hours per week on the project. The program is designed to generate a maximum impact over a relatively short duration, and should be considered a “required first step” for anyone interested in commercializing a technology or product, whether through a startup or licensing arrangement .