Venture Exploration ProgramBrought to you by the MIT Innovation Initiative and the NSF I-Corps Node at MIT
Learn about pathways from academia to venture creation.
Define and communicate the broader impact of your research.
Think about how to turn your science into a startup.
VEP is a three-part program that allows you to develop a business model for your research-derived product or service.
Learn more about the Spring 2022 program below. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through April 8; click here to apply.
Have questions? Contact Thomas Luly at the MIT Innovation Initiative here.
What is VEP?
VEP has three modules, each geared around one of three goals:
- Determine the product-market fit for your tech
- Understand science startup success factors
- Plan for next steps: communications, networking, and potential funding
More information on these is below.
Who is it for?
VEP is primarily for MIT postdocs and PhD candidates. You may participate as a solo member, or as part of a team. If you’re a researcher, other type of student, and/or from another university, you’re still welcome to apply.
Participants are required to have a technology that will form the basis for their work in the program (usually, the tech that you’ve been working on in the lab).
Module 1: Product-Market Fit
You’ll begin VEP with a brief introduction to the I-Corps process, then embarking on customer discovery to start thinking about product-market fit.
- Product-Market Fit
- Customer Segments and Value Propositions
- Business Model Canvas
Overview of your technology/project
- Who’s your customer, and why might someone pay for your solution?
- Deeper Dive: Customer Segments and Value Propositions
- Customer Discovery
Building a testable hypothesis
Finding potential customers and interviewing
- Overview of other I-Corps programs
Module 2: Science Startup Success Factors
Next, you’ll learn more about success factors that play a role in launching a successful tough tech venture:
- Entrepreneurial strategy
Thinking about your technology, the market, and regulatory considerations
- Early-stage financing and funding sources, including VC and non-dilutive government grants
Past speakers have included Scott Stern and Erin Scott from MIT’s Sloan School of Management; Prof. Oli de Weck, MIT Aero Astro; Shreya Dave, CEO & Co-Founder, Via Separations; Bob Mumgaard, CEO & Co-Founder, Commonwealth Fusion Systems; Veronica Stelmakh, CEO & Co-Founder, Mesodyne; and Michael Kearney, Principal at The Engine
Module 3: Next Steps and Communicating Your Impact
And finally, you’ll put it all together as you consider next steps. What have you learned about the commercialization process, and about you and your technology?
- Receive mentorship from MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service
- Final presentation to share your learnings from throughout the program
Where will the sessions take place?
To maximize convenience for participants, we’ll be holding these sessions virtually, but hope to hold some networking sessions at MIT’s brand-new InnovationHQ.
What’s the schedule?
Below are dates for the Spring 2022 program. (Dates for the speaker sessions are tentative and subject to change.)
- Kickoff - Tuesday, April 12, 12-1pm
- I-Corps Session 1 - Tuesday, April 19, 12-1pm
- I-Corps Session 2 - Wednesday, April 27, 12-1pm
- I-Corps Session 3 - Tuesday, May 3 at 12pm
- Startup Founder Fireside Chat - tbd
- Entrepreneurial Strategy - May 10 and 12
- Funding and Venture Capital - Tuesday, May 24
- Non-Dilutive Funding Opportunities - Thursday, May 26
- Final Presentations and Next Steps - Thursday, June 2