Thursday, May 25, 2017

Summer Workshops and Bootcamps at MIN-Corps

Innovation Commercialization Bootcamp

Each bootcamp offers a one-day overview of commercialization principles and processes, including
  • Identifying and Defining a Commercializable Solution
  • Academic Roles in Commercialization
  • Product-Market Fit: Customer Segments and Value Proposition Design
  • Market Assessment
  • Getting Started: Commercialization Milestones
  • Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer - Working With the OTC
The summer session of the Commercialization Bootcamp will be held June 15, 2017 from 10am-4pm, in Bruininks Hall room 530B. Register for the bootcamp here!

Value Proposition Design Workshops

Four hands-on sessions cover the breadth of value proposition design in a cumulative noncredit course. Sign up to learn how product-market fit, customer discovery, pathway to commercialization, and market assessment apply to your innovation.
  • Determine initial product/service application to a specific market, as well as longer-term market potential
  • Develop competence in customer discovery methods
  • Identify steps toward commercialization - scientific, market, and business
  • $3,000 NSF-funded mini-grants available for customer discovery and prototyping
The four sessions of the summer course will take place June 21, July 5, July 19, and August 2 from 1-4pm in Lind Hall 303. Register here!

STARTUP: Customer Development & Testing

Students interested in pursuing their own entrepreneurial ventures are encouraged to apply for a new course offering based on lean startup principles and tools. STARTUP: Customer Development & Testing (MGMT 5102) is an intensive 2-credit course in which students test business model assumptions and receive recurring feedback from instructors and mentors. Anyone taking this class must also get outside of the classroom to meet with potential customers and partners. The class meets weekly during September, with periodic presentations by students and updates from instructors and mentors for the remainder of the semester.

Application is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota. Participating students are eligible to receive pro bono legal assistance and seed capital grants up to $3,000 to fund prototype development and customer discovery. While individual students may apply, teams are encouraged to have sufficient capability to move a project forward. Apply here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

MIN-Corps' Impact on Commercialization and Entrepreneurship

MIN-Corps is coming to our third anniversary as a National Innovation Corps site.  It has been gratifying to teach and coach University of Minnesota innovators as they take steps toward commercialization and entrepreneurship.  We're achieving exciting results!

2016-2017 was our first full year delivering the complete suite of programs depicted above. We also piloted integrating Lean LaunchPad content into the UMN undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Senior Design capstone course. 
  • Over 450 University of Minnesota students, staff and faculty participated in one or more programs, including 90 teams and 685 individual registrations
  • 30% of the technologies in Office for Technology Commercialization Venture Center startup pipeline have participated in MIN-Corps programs
We introduced two ecosystem events to increase interaction between University of Minnesota innovators and the business community.  
  • Our first annual Women Innovators Conference attracted 171 female students, staff and faculty, as well as women STEM professionals
  • We also partnered with the Mayo Clinic to host the Walleye Tank Life Science Venture Competition, which attracted 18 ventures presenting to 120 executives and investors
Our two-year-old collaboration to provide the skills development component of the NIH-funded MN-Reach medical commercialization research initiative has begun to bear fruit:
  • 6 startups
  • 55 business strategies for health care products
  • 6 industry partnerships and licenses
  • $3 million commercialization research funding (NIH and UMN sources)
Additional outcomes include:
  • 6 teams accepted to National I-Corp Teams program (100% yield),
  • $500,000+ commercialization SBIR/STTR grants and angel funding 
  • 3 additional startups launched
  • 9 venture competition semifinalists and prize winners (MN Cup, Clean Tech Open, Walleye Tank) 
Thank you to our collaborators and participants!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

10 Practices of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs

Brian Cohen is a founding partner of New York Venture Partners and has been chairman of New York Angels for nearly a decade.  He's met a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs and noticed a pattern that distinguishes the most successful entrepreneurs from the rest.  In his experience, highly effective entrepreneurs master the following ten practices:

10 Practices of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs

Now let's translate insight into personal action:
Which few of these practices are current strengths?  
How can you build on these strengths and become a master of these practices?

Which two of these practices are limiting your effectiveness today? 
How can you "learn while doing" by collaborating with others who are strong in these areas?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

MN Cup, Walleye Tank…. Why You Should Enter a Venture Competition

The venture competition season is upon us in Minnesota!
April 14 is the deadline for Walleye Tank life science venture competition out of Mayo Clinic. 

April 28 is the deadline for the Minnesota Cup, the largest state-wide venture competition in the U.S., with 8 divisions and over $450,000 in prize money.

Too often, pre-revenue entrepreneurs and soon-to-be entrepreneurs feel that it is too early to enter a venture competition.  Not true!  There are many benefits to entering a venture competition, whether or not you win the grand prize.    

Participating in a venture competition can help you to:

  • Think comprehensively about the business

  • Distill your communication – concisely share the key points

  • Test your key messages – are they as meaningful to others as they are to you?

  • Practice pitching to potential investors

  • Identify your weaknesses and obstacles to gaining business traction

  • Get feedback and advice from experts and investors

  • Get public exposure through the competition’s publicity efforts

  • Develop credibility (with potential customers, employees, partners, investors)

  • (Maybe) win thousands of dollars 
Two key dates: 
  • April 14 - Walleye Tank life science venture competition.  Note that qualifying winners of the junior and professional angler divisions will automatically be placed as semi-finalists in the Minnesota Cup!
 Good luck!