Upstate NY I-Corps recruiting for new SBIR Phase 0 program

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NSF has launched a new program, SBIR Phase 0, to help start ups determine the commercial readiness of their technology concept and identify the key obstacles they must overcome to launch their product into the marketplace. The Upstate New York (UNY) I-Corps Nodes will be recruiting eight teams to participate in this program.

Teams will receive national I-Corps training as well as guidance on some of the more common issues in startup formation, including incorporation, licensing and negotiation of intellectual property, fundraising and others. These training programs will help Phase Zero I-Corps teams better prepare a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) proposal.

SBIR Phase 0 helps teams who have developed a deep technology innovation to participate in the I-Corps process to test its commercialization potential, and to receive follow-on workshops and support to launch a new business.  The desired outcome is to increase SBIR Phase 1 success rates and to increase the number, pace, and success rate of “deep technology” startups formed in Upstate New York and the Northeast.

Eight teams will be selected for SBIR Phase 0. They will receive funding and support to participate in an intensive, seven-week I-Corps Teams national cohort, where they will do a “deep dive” into Customer Discovery and determine if their technology is a “go” for commercialization. This is followed by ten weeks of specialized SBIR Phase 0 workshops that prepare teams to move from a “Go decision” to company formation and seeking initial capital from the SBIR program and investors.

Each of the selected teams will have access to $25,000 to support face-to-face customer engagement, including: travel to national cohort training, registration, and traditional customer discovery activities.

The 2018 program will kick off in summer and end by the early December NSF SBIR Phase 1 deadline.

Teams will be evaluated based on potential to succeed in national I-Corps, team composition and suitability for future SBIR funding.

To qualify, teams should:

    •  Develop a deep technology innovation
    •  Consist of two+ entrepreneurs (at least one with a deep technical focus) and one mentor with industry/startup experience
    •  Be a company or plan to form a company (upon completion of this program)
    •  Plan for the team’s Technical Lead (the future Principal Investigator on the SBIR grant) to have 50%+ effort at the company
  •  Plan to submit an NSF SBIR Phase I application (upon completion of this program)

Questions? Contact the UNY I-Corps Node team to see if you are eligible.