NSF I-Corps

The Sustainable Microgrids Partnership (SMP) team was accepted to the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps summer 2020 cohort. The award funds academic research groups to explore commercialization of their technology. The I-Corps program trains the selected teams on different aspects of the business model canvas and supports them to conduct 100 customer discovery interviews over the course of 6 weeks with the aim of gaining insights on product-market fit. The SMP team had developed a solar and battery-based energy assurance platform and demonstrated its use for energy backup and primary energy access in rural and urban households in India. In order to explore its applications in the context of home healthcare in the United States, it was necessary to understand the nuanced requirements of this setting. These include not only technical requirements such as energy capacity and power ratings but also socio-economic factors such as ease-of-use, price-point, and payer. It was necessary to understand the problem from the vantage point of the end-user and other stakeholders. With this goal, the SMP team worked with UW-Madison’s Discovery to Product and conducted 100 customer discovery interviews with different stakeholders through the I-Corps program.

The report Energy Resilience for Home Healthcare summarizes the insights obtained through the program.