Delta Innovation Fund (I-Fund)
Free training, mentoring and funding for DRA-based startups
About Delta Innovation Fund (I-Fund)
The application for the spring 2020 cohort is now open. Though the program is mostly virtual, participants are required to attend an opening weekend April 28-29 in Cape Girardeau, MO.
Teams must have at least two team members, though a minimum of three is preferable (single-founder companies are ineligible). It is recommended that teams have a balance of business and science-based backgrounds. During the cohort, each team will be eligible to receive funds for technical assistance and will be assigned an experienced mentor from the business community.
The types of ideas and startups targeted by the I-Fund are those based on innovative business models including:
• Patented university research, including medical, biomedical, science, and engineering applications.
• Software and other IT-based platform solutions.
• Any other patented or proprietary technology or innovation which provides a competitive advantage.
As for the stage of the company, the I-Fund seeks very early-stage ideas and companies that need validation, including pre-revenue startups and entrepreneurs still in the idea stage. Companies that are post-revenue and already positioned for angel and venture capital funding are likely to be too advanced for the program.
The structured training provided during the program is modeled after I-Corps™, a program formed by the National Science Foundation in 2011. Thousands of teams nationally have been through I-Corps, and the curriculum is founded on the Lean LaunchPad™ entrepreneurial training developed by Steve Blank and Stanford University. Entrepreneurs in the I-Fund are taught to develop and document their proposed business model on a lean canvas, and then to test their hypotheses through a rigorous customer discovery process.