Accelerate WPI helps students and faculty determine if and how their great idea or innovation will be received in the market. 

Many innovators find roadblocks when they try to get products or ideas to market. They might find the price is prohibitive, the prototype is impractical, or the real market demand is low. Accelerate WPI helps those with excellent ideas get a pulse on their approach before they even set foot in a lab or attempt the first design. The process of refining an idea based on customer feedback about what’s worthwhile, what they need, and what they are willing to pay for, gives innovators a clearer picture of the steps to a successful result.

Modeled after the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Site program and funded through the Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation’s donations-based WPI Accelerator Fund, Accelerate WPI welcomes applications from both student and faculty teams twice a year. The five selected teams are matched with a mentor and receive financial support through the Tech Advisors Network, a volunteer advisory group of seasoned business leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators.

Over the four-week non-credit program term, the teams must conduct 30 customer interviews to see if the idea they have is worth pursuing further. Teams develop a hypothesis about customer needs, the planned development approach, potential market competition, and the benefits of the product or idea. They bring the hypothesis to 30 key stakeholders they have researched and identified to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their plan. As the customer interviews progress, teams might find they pivot and change their approach over time, eventually walking away with a viable plan or an understanding of why their initial proposal won’t work in the market.

Read more about how Accelerate WPI helps innovative and entrepreneurial students.

For additional information or to complete an Accelerate WPI application form, contact Todd Keiller, director of Intellectual Property and Innovation, at tkeiller@wpi.edu or 508 831 4907.