Resources & Funding » Pre-Seed
There's a buzz in Upstate about creating a high-tech region, essentially from Buffalo to Albany. We are looking at our regional universities and research centers which collectively invest over $1B annually in R&D and attempting to determine what foundational technologies out there could form the basis of new start-up companies. Can we commercialize an increasing number of technologies?
Scientists wonder if they have a unique high-tech invention or do they actually have the foundation for a early stage pre-seed company. It's at that point someone needs to do an idea investigation or develop a "thin" commercialization plan. The vast majority of scientists don't know the business questions to ask. "Do I have something commercializable or not?." That is where the PreSeed Workshop comes in.
The Pre-Seed Workshop (PSW) offers an efficient way to give a large number of high tech ideas a solid entrée into the pre-seed stage. The primary goal is to help potential entrepreneurs to determine the commercial merit of their ideas, to assess the team's start-up fortitude, and for those ideas that do have commercial merit, organize the idea to move forward.
The workshop consists of two days of hands-on working sessions. PSW takes six to eight high-tech ideas from universities/research centers and complements the originating "idea champion" with a multi-functional team. Other team members, typically volunteers from the business and academic communities, include another technologist, an MBA student, an IP or business start-up lawyer (or value-added individual), a tech transfer officer, and a business coach (e.g., a serial entrepreneur or experienced start-up CEO). The intent is to simulate a ‘real" start-up team with expertise in technology, business, finance, law, etc.).
The workshop sessions focus primarily on eight critical analyses:
- The Technology: Do you have a proprietary product?
- Technology to Market Map: To whom will you sell?
- Market Need: Where is the pain?
- Competition: Why will you win?
- Business Model: How will you operate?
- Revenue Potential: How big is this opportunity?
- Management Team: You and what army?
- Technology Status: What does the roadmap look like?
During the course of these sessions, each team addresses 20 key questions and prepares a brief presentation for a panel of experts who are asked to provide feedback on 1) Does the team have a business case, and 2) Is it an investable business case?
At the end of the workshop, we provide the teams vectors into the community and encourage those with high potential ideas to conduct an in-depth opportunity analysis.