On Feb. 21, 2013 the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) effort awarded grants totaling $11,239,921 to three consortia of universities.
The first is a collaborative effort between Richard Lyons at Berkeley Haas School of Business along with Steve Blank, who teaches at Berkeley and Stanford. The grant is to look at the Lean LaunchPad methodology which has been utilized by high-tech start-ups. Understanding why certain start-ups succeed and others fail has been Steve Blank's passion as a serial entrepreneur. He has started eight businesses at different levels of success. Steve Blank states in the video at the Commonwealth Club of California,
Startups in their early days are searching for a business model... in the old days you would write a business plan... but a start-up is a faith-based enterprise from day one. Your job is to turn it from faith to facts...
The I-Corps grants are also awarded to:
- DC, Maryland, Virginia Region, led by Dean Chang at the University of Maryland, in collaboration with George Washington University and Virginia Tech
- New York City Regional Innovation Node (NYCRIN), led by Gillian Small at the City University of New York, in collaboration with New York University and Columbia University.
"These new nodes will significantly expand our reach in bringing innovation education to faculty and students,"
"The nodes are the foundation of a national innovation ecosystem, and focus on the front lines of local and regional commercialization efforts..."
These three nodes will begin to look at start-ups both in web/mobile products and physical products. Validating customer data is key in a successful start-up. One of the most difficult things for an entrepreneur is understanding the problems of an individual and trying to solve it in a pervasive way. Steve Blank states,
A startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
The challenge is once you have it, how do you grow it? The goal of the NSF is to try and increase the odds of success for start-ups by networking these three innovation nodes of academia and business through education, technology, and research.
For additional insight watch the full video on Steve Blank at the Commonwealth Club of California.