SBIR Phase 0

SBIR Phase 0 helps teams hone their market fit, identify available resources and next steps, and apply for SBIR funding with Node support.

SBIR Phase 0 helps teams who have developed a deep technology innovation to participate in the I-Corps process to test its commercialization potential, and to receive follow-on workshops and support to launch a new business.  The desired outcome is to increase SBIR Phase 1 success rates and to increase the number, pace, and success rate of “deep technology” startups formed in Upstate New York and the Northeast.


Teams will be evaluated based on potential to succeed in national I-Corps, team composition and suitability for future SBIR funding. Questions? Contact the UNY I-Corps Node team to see if you are eligible.

Applications for SBIR Phase 0 are currently closed.
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To qualify, teams should:

  • Develop a deep technology innovation
  • Consist of two+ entrepreneurs (at least one with a deep technical focus) and one mentor with industry/startup experience
  • Be a company or plan to form a company (upon completion of this program)
  • Plan for the team’s Technical Lead (the future Principal Investigator on the SBIR grant) to have 50%+ effort at the company
  • Plan to submit an NSF SBIR Phase I application (upon completion of this program)

How it works

Eight teams will be selected for SBIR Phase 0. They will receive funding and support to participate in an intensive, seven-week I-Corps Teams national cohort, where they will do a “deep dive” into Customer Discovery and determine if their technology is a “go” for commercialization. This is followed by ten weeks of specialized SBIR Phase 0 workshops that prepare teams to move from a “Go decision” to company formation and seeking initial capital from the SBIR program and investors.

Each of the selected teams will have access to $25,000 to support face-to-face customer engagement, including: travel to national cohort training, registration, and traditional customer discovery activities.

2018 Pilot Program

The UNY I-Corps Node recruited eight early-stage startup companies with deep-tech innovations to participate in the SBIR Phase 0 pilot program.

Phase 0 Teams received $200K in NSF funding, and honed their product-market fit through the I-Corps Teams program. After the program, they attended workshops to launch their businesses and received support in applying for SBIR Phase 1 grants.

View our 2018 Cohort
SBIR Phase 0 Teams

This pilot program is no longer active.