Penn Launches Newest Start-Up Accelerator

The stage of Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live overlooked a packed house last Tuesday afternoon, but instead of the usual sea of music lovers, the brightly-lit venue overflowed with Penn students, researchers, and local entrepreneurs. Penn’s new NSF I-Corps Site officially launched on February 24th, kicking off the summer accelerator program designed to spur commercialization of university research.

Penn I-Corps Site Launch
“As Penn goes, so goes Philadelphia,” said the city’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger, referring to the university’s role in fostering innovation amid the city’s already robust entrepreneurial scene. The I-Corps site is one of the university’s many new cross-disciplinary programs designed to foster commercialization, joining the Y-Prize and Innovation Clinics sponsored by the Mack Institute.

For those who were not able to attend the Launch, participation details are below. The next Penn I-Corps event is March 24th at the Weiss Tech Houseregister here.

How to Participate in Penn I-Corps

Collaborate, Educate, Accelerate

  • Form teams and apply by April 12.
  • Attend workshops on customer discovery from June 2 through July 9, Tuesdays (11-2) and Thursdays (12-2). The expected workload is 10 hours/week per person.
  • Develop the idea over the next eight weeks. The program concludes with a final showcase event where an external review board of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts will select five teams for company creation.

Team Composition

  • 3-5 members
  • Must include an Entrepreneurial Lead, an Academic Lead, and a Mentor.
  • Penn students, post-docs, staff, faculty, alumni, and members of the local entrepreneurial community are eligible

Program Benefits

  • Education, mentoring, and up to $2500 in funding
  • Readiness for National NSF I-Corps program, competitions, and VCs
  • Continuing commercialization support through Penn Center for Innovation
  • SBIR funding rate of 60% for I-Corps graduates (as opposed to an 18% baseline)

icorps logo
Read the program details here (PDF), and learn more at

2 comments on “Penn Launches Newest Start-Up Accelerator

  1. To Whom It May Concern,

    I’m currently working on a side project for my Fulbright grant that assesses the hiring and talent staffing needs of very promising early-stage companies. The project is meant to find better ways to get high quality talent to young companies so they can grow.

    I have a few questions that would really benefit from your input, would you be willing to discuss or respond by email? They are simple Yes/No questions.


    • Hi James,

      We will do our best to help answer your questions – look for a follow-up email soon!

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