Carnegie Mellon University

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NSF I-Corps Hubs Program

The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program helps university-based researchers investigate the commercial potential of their STEM-related technology.

From 2014-2021, Carnegie Mellon University was an I-Corps Site and worked with over 200 early stage startup teams to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and to gain skills in entrepreneurship through training in customer discovery and guidance from established entrepreneurs.

CMU I-Corps Site teams received over $129M in follow-on funding and were awarded 18 Phase I and 9 Phase II SBIR grants. 12 teams participated in the I-Corps Teams National program, 39 went on to accelerator programs, and 6 were acquired.

Many successful startups launched by CMU faculty and students, including Abililife, Arieca, Bloomfield RoboticsESTAT ActuationFarm to Flame, Fifth Season, Impact Proteomics, Marinus Analytics, Root Health, Vigilant Technologies, and Wise Telemetry, have participated in the I-Corps Site program.

For more information about the CMU I-Corps Site including team information and program outcomes, click here.

As of January 2022, CMU has joined the Mid-Atlantic I-Corps Hub, one of the five inaugural I-Corps Hubs. The goal of the I-Corps Hubs program is to create and sustain a diverse, inclusive innovation ecosystem in the United States by establishing tools and training activities, funding research, providing opportunities to diverse communities and sharing effective innovation practices across the country. The program is designed to support the commercialization of deep technologies with a university connection, which grow from discoveries in fundamental science and engineering.

Continuing in the tradition of the highly successful Site program, the CMU Hub program retains the core emphasis on customer discovery training and Lean LaunchPad methodology. The goal is to help university researchers quickly determine if there is product / market fit for their technologies and significantly reduce the time to translate an idea from the lab to the marketplace.

Team microgrants will no longer be awarded, however, teams that complete the Hub short course program will be eligible to apply for the I-Corps National Teams program which provides $50K in grant funding for continued customer discovery. The I-Corps program is also extremely helpful in developing a commercialization plan for those applying for SBIR/STTR grants. More information about CMU Hub programming will be made available soon.

CMU I-Corps Staff:
Kit Needham, Faculty Lead, Assistant Dean for Entrepreneurship Initiatives and Director, Project Olympus
Melanie Simko, Program Manager