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Market Discovery

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Growth Fund: Market Discovery

During Market Discovery, campus inventors receive up to $5,000 to focus on understanding their innovation’s value proposition and product-market fit. (Unsure about what a value proposition is? Learn more here.) The key outcome of this phase is, through extensive stakeholder interviews, to thoroughly understand the market, including what customer pains and problems your innovation can solve, as well as the most strategic commercial development pathway.

Inventors who participate in the Market Discovery round of the Growth Fund serve as a detective, looking for clues and patterns to help gain insight. Additionally, participants will gather feedback directly from industry on the market-centered data or prototypes that are necessary to move their innovation closer to commercialization.

Working with the Office of Technology Commercialization, recipients gain access to resources and trainings to better understand how to guide the commercial development of their technology into a product or service to benefit society.

The Market Discovery process requires a minimum commitment of conducting at least 12 quality interviews over at least 12 weeks.

Benefits to participants:

  • Education on the business of science
  • Develop a more complete understanding of technology commercialization, with specific focus on your technology
  • Access to additional funding for commercial development, including lab work and/or prototypes*

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By its conclusion, a successful Growth Fund: Market Discovery project will have:

  • Developed understanding of the product-market fit of the innovation based on a wide breadth of stakeholder interviews
  • Determined the best commercial development pathway, including what modifications, market-centered results, and/or prototypes must be accomplished to move the innovation closer to commercialization
  • Conceptualized a research plan and specific aims to produce the modifications, market-centered results, and/or prototypes found during market discovery. This plan will form the basis for application to the Growth Fund: Translational Research phase, which provides access to additional funding to support lab work or testing*

Ideal participants must:

  • Possess a strong drive to commercialize their innovation
  • Be adaptable and willing to learn about commercialization
  • Remain open to listening to market feedback and making adjustments as necessary based on this information
  • Commit dedicated time to focus on market discovery OR designate a Market Discovery Lead

Market Discovery funds can only be used for market-discovery related expenses (such as travel and salary/stipend), and cannot be used for lab work or lab supplies. A detailed budget will be developed in conjunction with the Office of Technology Commercialization if your application is accepted.

Additionally, the Growth Fund operates on a reimbursement model, and you will be required, through your lab or other departmental funds, to provide funding to cover expenses prior to submitting paperwork for reimbursement.

As customer discovery can occur anytime throughout the year, Market Discovery applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please allow up to three weeks for your application to be reviewed and for notification of your status from the Office of Technology Commercialization.

If your application is accepted, you and/or the Market Discovery Lead will be required to attend an orientation and training meeting with the Office of Technology Commercialization.

Apply now!

*Note: Growth Fund: Translational Research funding is not guaranteed, and is awarded on a separate application process based on results from the Market Discovery phase

Questions? Contact Andrew Pollock, Growth Fund Coordinator, at 405-325-3800 or