Innovation and Partnerships Office

Lab to Market: Berkeley Lab Innovation Corps (BLIC) / DOE Energy I-Corps

IPO is committed to supporting and expanding Berkeley Lab’s innovation ecosystem and integrating it with regional and national activity. While not every researcher may want to participate in a startup (entrepreneurship), engaging with the private sector from within the Lab can help researchers move ideas to the marketplace for a greater impact on society (intrapreneurship).

IPO’s Berkeley Lab Innovation Corps (BLIC) is the only group dedicated solely to advancing lab-to-market efforts for Berkeley Lab technologies and to providing entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial training and resources for Lab researchers. All Lab employees are eligible to join.


Innovation Training from IPO and DOE’s Energy I-Corps (formerly Lab-Corps)
Contact Russell Carrington, x-6439, by Fri., May 19, if you’re interested in applying
Go here for program details, dates, and materials.

What are former I-Corps and Lab-Corps participants saying?

“I’m convinced it helped us clench an ARPA-E award. What I learned in I-Corps was absolutely essential to understanding and effectively articulating the business opportunity of our battery technology. It significantly altered our outlook on the technological demands necessary to gain market traction.” Peter Frischmann, former LBNL project scientist accepted into Cyclotron Road program, co-founder of Sepion Technologies

“I’ll never write a funding proposal the same way again.” Brett Helms, staff scientist, Molecular Foundry, co-founder of Sepion Technologies

“Customer discovery principles are influencing all aspects of my research at LBNL. I’m using them on a daily basis now and they will influence the rest of my career.” Peter Therkelsen, staff scientist in Building Technology and Urban Systems Division

What is DOE Energy I-Corps (formerly Lab-Corps)?

Based on NSF’s I-Corps™ model, DOE Lab-Corps is a six-week immersive training experience that gives national lab-based research teams the tools and training to help transition energy-related technologies into products that benefit society and the national economy. Watch short films of Berkeley Lab researchers participating in the MyGreenCar team and Ring Burner team as they conduct information-gathering interviews with potential customers and supply chain members and then address hard decisions about markets, applications, and pivoting. BLIC has also sent teams to the Bay Area Regional NSF I-Corps programRead the researchers’ experiences and positive outcomes in a recent Innovation article.

Entrepreneurial Resources: Events, workshops, conferences and local resources of interest to entrepreneurial researchers are updated regularly.
Past BLIC Events and Slides

Startups and Storytelling: Adam Lorimer, Alphabet Energy Co-Founder and VP Automotive Products
May 9, 2017, 12:15 – 1:15 pm, Perseverance Hall (54-130)
Adam Lorimer, co-founder of Alphabet Energy, presents the power and dangers of storytelling in developing a new business. He will expand on Lean Start-Up and customer discovery concepts and address specific questions from the audience. Alphabet Energy’s waste-heat-to-energy technologies have been featured in AIChE’s ChEnected and Fortune, among many other publications.

Tales of an Inventor Startup: Steve Visco, Polyplus and the Battery Industry
February 10, 2017, 12:15 – 1:15 pm, Perseverance Hall (54-130)
Steve Visco, founder of Polyplus Battery Company, will discuss the evolution of his startup and provide insights into the battery industry. Visco was recently featured in Nova’s Search for the Super Battery.

Tales of an Inventor Startup: Mark Modera and Aeroseal
December 12, 2016 – Presentation Slides (pdf)
While at Berkeley Lab, Mark Modera developed an aerosol-based duct sealing process to reduce heating and cooling energy losses in residential and commercial buildings. Modera established Aeroseal, a startup to commercialize the process, and become the company’s CEO in 1997. Today, Modera is an engineering professor at U. C. Davis, where he also serves as Director of the Western Cooling Efficiency Center and the Sempra Energy Chair in Energy Efficiency. Since its founding, Aeroseal has sealed over 125,000 ducts saving an estimated $4.2 million in annual energy costs. Over 600 dealers in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia make up the Aeroseal network.

More Talk, More Impact
October 18, 2016
Todd Morrill, Faculty Director and Instructor for Bay Area NSF Innovation Corps, on talking to private and public sector “customers” who can help move your ideas forward — even if you don’t want to start a company. More Talk, More Impact (pdf). Berkeley Lab researchers Katy Christiansen and Peter Frischmann will share their customer discovery experiences and outcomes as well. Customer Discovery Experiences – Sepion (pdf).

The Journey from Lab Scientist to Entrepreneur
September 20, 2016
Dr. Peter S. Fiske, published scientist, startup founder, and now CEO of PAX Water Technologies, Inc., on innate similarities between scientists and entrepreneurs and the journey from research to startup. Entrepreneurship for Scientists (pdf)

Navigating Conflict of Interest
April 12, 2016
Berkeley Lab Conflict of Interest  (COI) policies and issues from Molly Stoufer, Requirements Program Manager and COI Coordinator, for staff interested in consulting for an outside entity or starting a company to license and develop Lab technology as well as staff with financial interest in a company that could work with the Lab. LBNL Conflict of Interest and Case Study (pdf)

The VC Landscape
March 2, 2016
Insights on the latest in the venture capital world from Doug Collom, a professor of venture capital and entrepreneurship at The Wharton School’s Executive MBA Program in San Francisco and a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. VC Landscape (pdf)

Legal Considerations and Innovation Resources for Startups
January 28, 2016
Larry Adkison, Senior Counsel for the Business Transactions Group at UCOP, and Todd Rumbrger, Partner at Foley and Lardner, on legal considerations for startups. Noore Kadri, Manager of the QB3 Innovation and Incubator Network, on resources to lower barriers to entry for bringing new innovation to market. Legal Considerations for Startup Entrepreneurs (pdf)

Lab-to-Market Resources
December 8, 2015
Hemai Parthasarathy, Ph.D., of Breakout Labs, a funding and support system for science companies, and Entrepreneur Jim Kiles of YStrategies, on his experience advising DOE’s Lab-Corps program and lab-to-market transitions. QB3 – Resources for Innovators (pdf)

SBIR / STTR Program Goals and Funding Details – July 2015 presentation by Manny Oliver, Director DOE SBIR / STTR Programs Office (presentation may take a few seconds to load)