hosted by the University of Alabama in partnership with Alabama A&M
located in Hunstville, Alabama at Alabama A&M
The Regional I-Corps curriculum is a 5-week program for teams of 2-4 persons interested in commercializing research. Teams must apply and be accepted in order to participate. The course consists of a 2-day kickoff workshop (January 26 & 27), 4 weekly meetings (February 2, 9, 16), and a 1-day conclusion (February 23).
Rachel Frazier – Cohort Lead
Rachel helps entrepreneurs plan sustainable businesses as part of her work at the University of Alabama. She is an instructor for the NSF I-Corps Site at UA, where she guides faculty, staff and students on a path to identify viable business models for high tech startups. This includes teaching entrepreneurship, mentoring STEM teams through customer discovery, and assisting faculty with building and testing minimum viable products. In addition, Rachel started a performance materials company that serves the automotive and coating industries, and she actively encourages and supports women startups. Rachel has a B.S. in Physics (2001) and a Ph.D. (2005) in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida.
Molly Wasko – Lead
Dr. Molly Wasko is an experienced academic entrepreneur and brings a unique set of transdisciplinary skills to the program with a proven track record of success in the areas of training, consulting and education at the executive level, experience in the commercialization of academic ventures and the ability to work with academic researchers. Dr. Wasko’s main body of research is in the field of organization science with a focus on innovation and new knowledge creation. One of the greatest sources of innovation is the combination and exchange of knowledge across boundaries. These boundaries can also be viewed as barriers to knowledge exchange, like geographic and temporal distance, professional fields, functional areas, language and culture. Her field of expertise is largely referred to as “team science”, and the mechanisms that enable greater information flows across boundaries to develop new innovations. Dr. Wasko also has extensive experience bringing her expertise in innovation into her teaching and outreach roles with the business community. She currently teaches an Innovation Boot Camp for corporate clients, modeled after the Stanford d.school Innovation by Design program. She is experienced teaching Lean Launchpad and continues to build on the I-Corps methodology targeting translational scientists through a variety of activities. She currently participates in the UAB Scientific Review Processes, exploring areas of research with commercial potential and advising researchers on commercialization pathways.
Colin Ake – Regional Lead
Colin Ake is an entrepreneur with experience in the aerospace and software industries. He currently builds technology startups out of commercialization projects at Georgia Tech’s VentureLab, where he teaches evidence-based entrepreneurship and advises teams on go-to-market strategy. Colin is on staff with the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps node based at Georgia Tech; in addition, Colin has taught innovation and entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico and at the CDC.
Before joining Georgia Tech, Colin played a key role in the rebound of Masten Space Systems, where he recruited key technical and executive leadership, raised money, led sales, and led the transition from an investor-funded business to a cashflow positive business. Under his leadership, Masten began to focus on flight operations as a key revenue generator, providing testbed facilities for JPL and NASA as they tested next-generation planetary landing systems. He built relationships that led to Masten’s current role as one of three contractors for DARPA’s XS-1 reusable spaceplane program. Colin also has experience vetting aerospace startups as a Senior Associate with Space Angels Network, an organization focused on connecting aerospace startups to early-stage investors interested in the industry. Colin was also with Atlanta-area startup Wandering WiFi for two years in their very early stages.
Colin teaches an undergraduate class on innovation for sustainability at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business and guest lectures at other classes at Georgia Tech. He holds a BS in Management and an MBA from Georgia Tech.
Dan Daly – Adjunct
Daniel Daly is currently the Director of The University of Alabama’s Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs (AIME) Center. He has had this position for 13 years. AIME is a proof-of Concept Center which constructs prototypes or Minimal Viable Products (MVP) for the commercialization efforts of the university’s intellectual property. AIME is home to UA’s NSF I-Corps™ Site as well as a participating partner in the I-Corps™ South Node. In addition to running AIME, Dan is responsible for managing the Bama Technology Incubator, a capacity in which he trains the budding entrepreneurs in many aspects of starting a company in technology-based business. Dan was also the Director of technology Transfer from 2005-2007 at The University of Alabama. Before transitioning to commercializing intellectual property in academia, Dan spent 17 years as Technology Manager for several Business Development Groups, for Texaco and Lubrizol where he was responsible for coordinating the marketing, patent strategy and technology development for these emerging companies. Dan was instrumental in several commercial efforts for both Texaco and Lubrizol, most notably, System3, New and Improve System3, Amoco’s Ultraclear and PuriNox.
Rob Morgan – Adjunct
Rob Morgan is Phifer Fellow and Professor of Marketing, and the Director of the STEM Path to the MBA and the CREATE Path to the MBA for the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama. The STEM and CREATE Paths to the MBA are an innovative approach to merging technology and business education. A native of Kansas, he holds degrees in biology and chemistry (Wichita State University), and pharmacy (University of Kansas), an MBA (University of Dallas) and PhD in Business (Texas Tech University). His research interests are in the areas of innovation and marketing strategy as well as emerging markets. Dr. Morgan’s research has been published in a variety of journals, including Journal of Marketing, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Decision Science, Journal of Business Research, and Marketing Management.
Q. Is there a cost or fee to participate in this program?
A. : No, there is no cost to participate in this program. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided during the opening and closing sessions. Teams are responsible for all travel, room, and additional meal costs.
Q. I do not have NSF research funding. Can I participate?
A. Yes. Unlike the national I-Corps program, there is no requirement for NSF funding lineage.
Q. Can I apply as an individual?
A. No. I-Corps is for teams only. Teams are 2 to 4 people, the ideal team is 3 people consisting of combination of one or two Technical Leads, one or two Business Leads, and one Mentor.
Q. I have a team, but not everyone can attend the in-person sessions. Is that OK?
A. At least two members of your team need to attend the in-person sessions.
Q. Is there a grant with this program?
A. No. The regional program is educational only and does not include a grant.
Q. I am not in the state of Alabama. Can I participate?
A. Absolutely! Your team must be willing travel to Huntsville for the opening and closing sessions.
Q: Does completing this program qualify my team for national NSF I-Corps grants?
A: Yes, if you complete this program, you will have the opportunity to be recommended by I-Corps South to the national program.
Q: I do not have a mentor. Can I participate?
A: Yes. While it is preferable that you have a local industry mentor engaged with your team, we will allow teams to participate without this role filled.
Q: Do I have to be affiliated with a university?
A: No, but you do have to have a technology innovation you wish to leverage to create your business model.
Have additional questions?
Email Rachel Frazier