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Guest Blog: Norm Rapino, Director of Mentoring, Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan

By Posted on March 4, 2015

Norm RapinoSometimes it takes a village…to find the right market fit for great technology. By the end of this blog, you will learn of the potential $1 million commercialization funding cascade available for your energy or transportation project.

These days, everyone seems to have access to a high-level commercialization program close to home. So why travel to Detroit for the I-Corps Energy and Transportation program? The answer is simple – the village / critical mass.

First, we are gathering together an exclusive group of industry members and technology experts with direct knowledge, and a connection to these vertical areas. These are people who are typically not easy to meet with one-on-one, and who have come together because of a second group, participants like you. Your group consists of sophisticated academic, government and private sector researchers with energy and transportation linked projects. All will gather to investigate customer need and value propositions that will let these projects transition to the marketplace, while aiming to change the world for the better, one project at a time. One group attracts and supports the other, but that is not enough. There are two more critical groups in the mix.

Next are venture capitalists and other investors looking to meet and interact with energy or transportation tech developers. These people know the strength of the program, NextEnergy and University of Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship, and they will come. The final group is the teaching team who brings with them a particular program methodology. With years of experience in these specific domains, the teaching team implements an experiential program, in which you and your team learn not only what to do, but actually go out and do it yourselves, embarking on your own discovery and commercialization journey.

When you emerge you will be four times more likely to get a SBIR Phase 1 award, compared to an applicant without I-Corps training like ours. And if all goes well, a Phase 2 can be on the horizon. This is the potential entry point to access over $1M of funding.

I’m excited to be contributing this guest blog to NextEnergy’s regular outreach to its network. Connect with us about joining this unique opportunity to:

• Get your technology to market faster

• Find follow-on funding sooner

• See your tech make a difference now

• Join, learn and be a part of the highest level energy/transportation group in the country

For more information visit or contact Norm Rapino, | 734.647.7459 or Kyle Mills, | 313.833.0100 x180


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