University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Press Release

National I-Corps Program in Milwaukee Turns Out First FIRST 10 Teams

Applications for next round due Sept. 25.

By - Sep 3rd, 2015 11:21 am

MILWAUKEE _ The first cohort of 10 teams to complete entrepreneurial training in the national I-Corps program in Milwaukee are all moving forward, armed with product ideas from artificial red blood cells to a phone app that adds more security to transmitting photos.

Comprised of faculty and students from five Milwaukee-area universities, the teams were the first group funded by a National Science Foundation grant that aims to connect academic researchers, graduate students and business networks to grow the local economy through research-generated ideas.

The I-Corps Milwaukee site, housed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will train 80 more entrepreneurial teams over the next three years.

Teams are recruited from UWM, Marquette University, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and Concordia University of Wisconsin.

Applications for the fall cohort, which runs Oct. 12 through Nov. 9, are due by Sept. 25. For more information, visit: icorpsmilwaukee.org.

Using a method called the Lean Launchpad, I-Corps training guides budding entrepreneurs in conducting deep research into their chances of starting a viable business based on a product idea.

“This is a structured, hypothesis-based approach that appeals to scientists, faculty and students,” said Ilya Avdeev, UWM associate professor of mechanical engineering and the I-Corps site coordinator. “It’s part of why it has been successful and embraced by the National Science Foundation. The program is also unique because it focuses on the difficult question – is there a market?”

Each team in the I-Corps program consists of an academic lead (a faculty member or a post-doctoral scholar), an entrepreneurial lead (typically a graduate student) and a mentor with business experience.

Teams also receive a mini-grant to use on their endeavor and access to facilities and collaborators provided by the sites’ academic members.

Customer discovery is a central aspect of the Lean LaunchPad process. Teams aim to conduct 40 high-quality interviews with a line of questioning that gets to meaningful answers about their potential business model.

Below is the lineup of the first program graduates:

MCW

  • Confidential Capture. A mobile app that adds more security to transmitting photos.
  • Insight. This mobile app provides access to information on current clinical trials.
  • Angio360 Diagnostics. New cancer diagnostic tools.

Marquette

  • Personal Wheelchair Platform (PWP). Equipment for conducting motion analysis with wheelchairs.
  • Immersive Fitness. A fitness platform.

MSOE

  • SOURCE. A blood product substitute for all blood types.

Concordia

  • Viviform. A nanostructure platform for use in drug targeting and delivery.

UWM

  • NSEE Biosensor. Low-cost, real-time detection for biological applications.
  • Controlled Language. Software that integrates best writing practices into business communication.
  • Light Therapy. Using infrared light for healing wounds.

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