"The goal of a startup is to not be a startup anymore. It's to be a real company, and you're a real company once you have a real customer. A technology without a customer is really just an idea."

Starting Blocks is designed to help scientists and engineers of all types find a market for their innovations. This is the shortest “introductory” version of the I-Corps methodology taught by the NSF, DOE, and NIH, which helps inventors build a customer discovery toolkit and learn to talk to industry/business funders about their technologies. 

The core concept is to “get out of the building”—go talk to decision-makers in your industry to find out what they need your product to do. Starting Blocks teaches the fundamentals of how to use the scientific method to sort through many options and arrive at a path to market.

July 31 & August 14, 2020
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Virtual - ZOOM

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Here's what people have to say about Starting Blocks:

"Maybe ten stars. Don't miss this program. Understanding customer needs is the key to success."

"Great workshop - I was new to the topic and learned a lot!"

The Program Details

  • Starting Blocks, presented by Venture Partners at CU Boulder's Commercialization Academy, is a 2-day workshop based on the Lean Startup methodology, specifically designed for university researchers commercializing their inventions.
  • Starting Blocks consists of two days of half-day lectures, plus six interviews during the week done off-campus in a target industry.
  • Mentoring and advising will be available as needed.


  • Learn about the importance of customer discovery and finding a product-market fit using the I-Corps method.
  • Become well-versed in basic business terminology and learn skills to help you connect with industry.
  • Guide your team through six interviews with industry contacts to learn their perspective on your innovation.
  • Help you accelerate the commercialization of your invention.
  • Better position yourself to win proof-of-concept grants and licensing partnerships, land a spot at an accelerator, and attract startup capital.


Starting Blocks is free for CU and NIST students, postdocs, faculty and staff. 

For questions, please email Sally Hatcher, Commercialization Academy Director for Venture Partners at CU Boulder:  sally.hatcher@colorado.edu.