Carnegie Mellon University

Customer Discovery Kickstart Program

The Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship’s Project Olympus Incubator is excited to announce Customer Discovery Kickstart, a new program for early-stage startups to explore the feasibility of their business ideas. This program is designed to help early-stage startups determine product – market fit by connecting with potential customers and industry stakeholders. Through the process, teams will quickly gain insights into their intended market and use customer research techniques to inform the next steps in their entrepreneurial journeys.

The curriculum is modeled after NSF I-Corps, a program funded by the National Science Foundation to help university researchers commercialize their technologies. Unlike I-Corps, the Customer Discovery Kickstart is specifically targeted to student ventures. Preference is given to student startups who have not previously completed a customer discovery program.

Startup teams will learn about the fundamentals of customer discovery, including conducting customer discovery interviews and participating in required Zoom cohort meetings. Teams will receive coaching from experienced Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Teams must commit to attending all required cohort meetings and completing course assignments. The time commitment for participation is approximately 5-7 hours per week which includes prep work, homework, cohort meetings and conducting customer interviews.

Questions can be directed to Melanie Simko, Program Manager.