Through a grant from NSF, the I-Corps program works with Penn faculty, staff, post-docs, and students to test and validate startup ideas through Customer Discovery.
Participants learn valuable skills in connecting with customers, asking the right questions, and how to find partners to help get startup ideas off the ground. Plus, qualifying teams will be recommended to apply for the National I-Corps Program
Applications are now being accepted for the 2022 Fall I-Corps cohort.
To learn more and meet potential teammates, sign up for an upcoming info session
The Penn I-Corps program will help you:
- Better understand why technology has value and to whom.
- Explore taking new technology to the marketplace
- Completing the program puts your team in an excellent position to apply to the National I-Corps Program — where you’ll have $50,000 in support to conduct customer discovery.
- Increase chances of receiving an SBIR/STTR award
- Participation in PCI events that expose you to key stakeholders and funders in the entrepreneurship community
- Mentors to guide you going forward
- Support for applying to follow-on programs
- Exposure to the Philadelphia startup ecosystem
Each I-Corps program comprises a workshop on customer discovery, where teams complete 20 customer interviews. The program is free and does not require current/prior NSF funding to participate. We offer workshops in the Fall and Spring semesters.
The key requirements are:
Team composition: two or more team members, all actively affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania (faculty, students, post-docs, alumni graduated within the past year)
Technology area: revolving around fundamental discoveries in science and engineering
Intellectual Property: developed by a team member as part of research or classwork at Penn
Participants should have:
Enthusiasm to engage in learning about primary market research
A commitment to attend all sessions and complete assignments, including conducting 20 interviews.
An established record in following through complex endeavors
Demonstrated ability to work well with others
How Does It Work?
We accept participants on a rolling basis for either the fall or spring program. We help you de-risk your idea to move it forward quickly and find answers to:
- Who are my customers?
- Do they care about the problem or need I am addressing?
- Does my solution fit their needs?
For an in-depth discussion of Penn I-Corps, see I-Corps as a Training Tool for New Technology Development.
I-Corps by the Numbers
Teams Since 2015
Funds Raised by Teams
Teams Participated in National I-Corps
Support & Sponsors
The Penn I-Corps Site is an NSF program designed to facilitate the commercialization of university research. The program is housed at the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI). It was established in 2015.
Penn I-Corps is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number IIP2044502
I-Corps is currently sponsored by Pearl Cohen. Our first corporate sponsor was PwC.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.