Jen-Yu Huang, a graduate student at Cornell University, experienced an unforgettable pivot while conducting customer discovery in an I-Corps Teams national course that he completed as part of the Commercialization Fellows program at Cornell University.
Huang created a light processing technique to produce programmable mesoporous materials— materials with precise patterns of pores—that could be integrated into medical devices for bio-separation and point-of-care diagnostics. Originally, Huang envisioned his technology being used to make certain medical drugs that require the ingredients to be very pure, as his technology acts as “a very fine filter” for ingredients.
In I-Corps Teams, Huang spoke with more than 100 potential customers to determine the right market fit for his technology. Through this process, Huang landed on another large potential market with a much shorter entry time than pharmaceutical applications—CBD products.
Huang explains why he chose to pivot to the CBD market: “When it comes to producing CBD, the THC level is supposed to be below .03%. Our technology can be used to control the ingredients in CBD, making it very, very pure. The data and labeling for many CBD products have been faked due to a lack of regulation. As we talk with customers, we’ve realized that many CBD customers do not want any THC in their products—we can provide that [with our filtering technology].”