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 supports both Lab-to-Market approaches with training and resources. Speaker events through IPO’s Berkeley Lab Innovation Corps (BLIC) highlight successful researcher startups, funding opportunities, and related topics on interest. Scroll down for a list of past BLIC events and slides/handouts.
April BLIC Event: Rapid Fire Elevator Pitch Contest
Entrepreneur and pitch coach Christina Ellwood provided insightful feedback on elevator pitches from six entrepreneurially-minded Berkeley Lab researchers at the most recent Berkeley Lab Innovation Corps (BLIC) event, April 24, noon – 1 pm, Perseverance Hall (54-130). Christina holds a similar session at the Cleantech Open West Academy every year. The audience selected Reshma Singh (personalized office space comfort) their “People’s Choice.” Gregory Scharfstein came in second pitching a high performing, less expensive mass-spec tool for pharmaceutical research. Read Christina’s LinkedIn post on the event.
Lab-to-Market Resources, Training, and Events
Check out IPO’s Entrepreneurial Resources page for events, workshops, conferences and local resources of interest.
Energy I-Corps Training
Spring 2018 Cohort is now closed. Contact Russell Carrington, KRCarrington@lbl.gov, x6439, if interested in future training.
Based on NSF’s I-Corps™ model, DOE’s Energy I-Corps is an immersive training experience giving national lab-based research teams the tools and training to help transition energy-related technologies into products that benefit society and the national economy. Highlights of the six-week Energy I-Corps program include
- 100-interview milestone so you have more opportunities to learn about product-market fit, the business model canvas, and the commercial potential of your technology
- Teams from all national labs so you can network with a broader group of business-minded researchers, mentors, and instructors
- Funding to cover your time so you don’t have to moonlight as much
Watch short films of Berkeley Lab researchers in the MyGreenCar team and Ring Burner team as they participate in past Energy I-Corps sessions. Each film series captures the participants conducting information-gathering interviews with potential customers and supply chain members and then addressing hard decisions about markets, applications, and pivoting.
IPO / Bay Area NSF I-Corps Short Course
Winter 2018 I-Corps Short Course is now closed. Contact Russell Carrington, KRCarrington@lbl.gov, x6439, if interested in future training.
Ninety-five percent of participants in IPO / I-Corps training said they would enthusiastically recommend the course to a colleague, and eighty percent said the course changed their understanding of their technology’s market.
- “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.
Read experiences and positive outcomes from Berkeley Lab teams participating in Bay Area Regional NSF I-Corps in a 2015 article for Innovation magazine.
Past BLIC Events and Slides
The Path to Market: Mike Biddle, Evok Innovations
February 22, 2018 – Presentation slides (pdf)
Dr. Mike Biddle, Managing Director of Evok Innovations, presented perspectives on the technology-to-marketplace process from his point of view as a former startup founder and, now, investor.
Writing a Successful Grant: Michel Foure’ of Berkeley Grant Writing
October 12, 2017 – Presentation slides (pdf)
Michel Foure’ translated his grant writing success as a researcher into a consulting business, Berkeley Grant Writing LLC. Michel’s presentation featured an interactive exercise to support grant writing efforts — whether for startup funding or continuing research.
Adam Lorimer / Alphabet Energy (Berkeley Lab startup)
May 9, 2017 (no slides available)
Adam Lorimer, Co-Founder and VP of Engineering for Berkeley Lab startup Alphabet Energy, discussed the company’s path to commercialize hard science cleantech developed at an academic institution. Alphabet Energy offers thermoelectric generator products converting waste heat into energy for a variety of industries.
Steve Visco / Polyplus Battery Company (Berkeley Lab startup)
February 10, 2017 (no slides available)
Steve Visco, founder of Polyplus Battery Company, discussed the evolution of his startup and provided insights into the battery industry. Earlier in 2017, Visco was featured in Nova’s Search for the Super Battery.
Mark Modera / Aeroseal (Berkeley Lab startup)
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)
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)