SBIR – The Commercialization Review – A Fast Review

Got a startup? Want a review of your commercialization plan? The Neutrino Donut will review your plan and give you feedback and recommendations for direction. This is a short engagement, fixed cost, and we will ensure you get some good ideas for improving your grant. The Neutrino Donut is on multiple grant review teams, and we know what works and does not work in these sessions. Contact us at ehager 81 at g mail for more information.

SBIR – The Funding Process

The grant seeker will make a mistake if they view the SBIR as the only source of funding. The military runs Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs). Local entities support job creation programs, the development of manufacturing systems is an additional category with a source of funds. Sometimes, all you have to do is whisper the word “Texas” and funding opportunities will appear. (Shout out to Michael). Additional resource and funding options are available. When you break your project into sections, you can isolate funding for specific aspects of the projects and avoid overlap or funding coordination issues.

SBIR – The Grant Process

Startups looking to raise money via SBIR programs tend to focus on their sweet spot – the technology – without understanding the need for commercialization processes. The commercialization process, especially within Phase II, require an understanding of how the product will end up the customer’s hands, their systems, or in their beakers. The product definition, creation, sale, and customer budget process must be tracked thoroughly. If this section is weak, the grant will not be funded.

The Neutrino Donut – Korea – Technology Commercialization Projects

The Neutrino Donut completed technology reviews for several Korean companies who are seeking US entry strategies. The challenge for the companies is the commitment to enter the US market. More importantly, the challenge for these companies is the major Korean companies (Samsung, Hyundai) are seeking to move their supply lines to cheaper countries, such as Viet Nam.

Current Projects – Battery Technology

The Neutrino Donut is providing consulting and SBIR services to a university technology startup in battery technology. Services include developing and executing on sales / marketing, navigating the SBIR process, managing the SBIR Quick Pitch and registration processes, and helping them advance in the marketplace.

New SBIR Program Changes – Project Pitch

SBIR is allowing companies to submit a short pitch to determine if their project is of interest to SBIR funding. The details are as follows:

https://seedfund.nsf.gov/project-pitch/

Project Pitch

The required Project Pitch allows startups and small businesses to get quick feedback at the start of their application for Phase I funding from America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF.

Startups or entrepreneurs who submit a three-page Project Pitch* will know within three weeks if they meet the program’s objectives to support innovative technologies that show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk. They will also get additional guidance and feedback from NSF staff.

If your Project Pitch is a good fit for the program, you will receive an official invitation from NSF to submit a full proposal. If you’re not invited to submit, you’ll be told why your project is not appropriate for the program.

Along with your company information, you’ll have to outline four key elements in your Project Pitch:

1. The Technology Innovation. (Up to 500 words)

Describe the technical innovation that would be the focus of a Phase I project, including a brief discussion of the origins of the innovation as well as explanation as to why it meets the program’s mandate to focus on supporting research and development (R&D) of unproven, high-impact innovations.

2. The Technical Objectives and Challenges. (Up to 500 words)

Describe the R&D or technical work to be done in a Phase I project, including a discussion of how and why the proposed work will help prove that the product or service is technically feasible and/or significantly reduce technical risk. Discuss how, ultimately, this work could contribute to making the new product, service, or process commercially viable and impactful. This section should also convey that the proposed work meets the definition of R&D, rather than straightforward engineering or incremental product development tasks.

3. The Market Opportunity. (Up to 250 words)

Describe the customer profile and pain point(s) that will be the near-term commercial focus related to this technical project.

4. The Company and Team. (Up to 250 words)

Describe the background and current status of the applicant small business, including key team members who will lead the technical and/or commercial efforts discussed in this Project Pitch.

Visit the online form to submit your Project Pitch or to preview the required fields. More details about the NSF’s new process and eligibility requirements are on our Apply page.

*Each small business can only submit one Project Pitch at a time and up to two Project Pitches per submission window. (The submission windows for 2019 are March 4-June 13 and June 14-December 12). Any small business with a pending Project Pitch must wait for a response before submitting another Project Pitch. Any small business that has received an invitation to submit a full proposal must wait for a resolution of the full proposal before submitting a new or revised Project Pitch.

Commercialization in the Grant Process

The Neutrino Donut recently completed a series of review sessions on grants for SBIR, DoD, and a few other places. Commercialization has been a weakness in the process. Let’s review.

  1. You need commercialization experts on your team. People who have taken a product into the marketplace. Not your friend’s nephew and definitely not the grad student who worked on the project.
  2. Who are your customers? Who is going to buy your product? If you have to resell them the product next year, will they be around to buy it? Also, a minor point – do they have money to spend on you?
  3. Who are you selling to? Who approves the sale? Where is purchasing in this process? Who can veto your sale?
  4. How do you create ongoing revenue? Selling to someone once and moving on does not work.
  5. Have you considered partnerships with people who already work with your targeted customers?
  6. Do you need product certifications, such as security with the Amazon Cloud product? This is where the partnership discussion above comes in handy.
  7. Do you have IP that can be acquired?
  8. Do you have any competitors? Don’t forget – doing nothing is a competitor.

Find a consulting organization who can help you with the commercialization part. That would be us at The Neutrino Donut, LLC.