More startups fail from a lack of customers than from a failure of product development. Fortunately, the UGA NSF I-Corps curriculum is designed to help mitigate this market risk through its focus on customer discovery. Teams are asked to identify, interview and gain valuable insight from potential customers, competitors, partners and other industry stakeholders.
By Week 4 of UGA’s Summer 2020 I-Corps cohort, which concluded on July 13, the 11 participating teams had already performed nearly 200 customer discovery interviews.
BrickMaster VR is currently leading the way with 42 interviews conducted thus far. The team is evaluating the market opportunity for virtual reality building materials that are more affordable and engaging than existing products. While the global virtual reality gaming market has been growing steadily since 2016, initial findings from the customer discovery interviews suggest a profound need and desire for higher-quality virtual reality content.
Project Chef is runner-up with 24 completed interviews, gaining firsthand knowledge of food services and meal programs provided by public K-12 school systems across the nation. The team is assessing whether automated technologies could solve problems affecting school lunch programs, such as employee turnover and funding constraints.
Platelet Lysate and Insect Catcher each performed 21 interviews. Kudos to these UGA I-Corps teams and the others for moving their projects forward.