Launchpad, a program within CSU Ventures that focuses on startup companies, has developed a customer discovery program called the Research to Market (R2M) Accelerator, that started it’s second cohort in January and finishes up in late February.
R2M allows scientific teams to experience the process of customer discovery and commercialization in a hands-on program developed to engage customers in the marketplace. The program prepares academicians to understand the customers’ needs, and how those needs can drive a more iterative research, commercialization and execution strategy.
The skills delivered during R2M are pertinent in understanding a multitude of customer types: retail customers, industry partners, program directors at small business innovation programs, and grant reviewers within federal agencies.
“Helping researchers learn to listen to customer needs is key to the launch of a successful company,” said Steve Albers, Associate Director of Launchpad at CSU Ventures. “Once you clearly identify a market need for a product or service then the process and methodology falls into place,” he said.
The R2M program leverages the Lean Launchpad and Business Model Canvas methodologies. These are the basis of curricula utilized by the Department of Energy’s “Energy I-Corps” program as well as the National Science Foundation’s “I-Corps” program. Both these programs are nationally recognized for thought leadership in commercialization of cutting-edge science technologies.
R2M allows researchers to learn the process of developing a business foundation for a specific technology that is based on actual customer demand, not on speculation within the market. This process helps researchers better understand how to engage customers in a constructive conversation that illuminates market needs, and how to leverage this information to further refine product research and development.
Teams, which are typically made of a Principal Investigator, Entrepreneurial Lead and an Industry Mentor, are required to take part in approximately 32 hours of in-person training, six hours of webinar training, and three to five hours of pre-work/homework/workshops to prepare for the program. Additional time will be required of participants based on customer interview requirements discussed later in the statement of work. Each team will be expected to collect 35 customer interviews during the program.
“The program is really intended to help CSU researchers explore a product-market fit and then maximize the value and impact of their ideas”, said Todd Headley, President of CSU Ventures. “R2M is a great fit with our Launchpad program that focuses on leveraging resources to launch successful companies into the marketplace.”
The R2M program is a beta version of a previous R2M accelerator program run in partnership with the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado State University’s Energy Institute, and CSU Ventures.
For more information about the program contact CSU Ventures, (970) 491-7100.