WE-REACH Biomedical Innovation Bootcamp in Partnership with CoMotion NSF I-Corps is Open to Regional Teams

Learn the steps to move from idea to launch and meet the mentors who can guide you along the way. Online program. More about the experience>>>

Hosted in partnership with CoMotion’s NSF I-Corps Site Program  participants from Pacific Northwest regional research institutions learn about customer discovery, FDA regulatory strategy, business models, legal issues, and more.

Registration for June 2021 session is closed, but join the WE-REACH session fireside chats with entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. More information and fireside chat registration >>>

Start your learning journey virtually by watching the video recordings of our Panels of Experts from past sessions:


I-Corps and WE-REACH session schedule Summer 2021

Kickoff Workshops

June 15 9:00 – 10:00am MENTOR training on Innovation Within platform
June 15 10:00 – 11:00am TEAM Training on Innovation Within platform
June 16 8:30am – 12pm Kickoff Workshop: Introduction to the Lean Startup Method
June 17 8:30am – 12pm Kickoff Workshop: Mastering Customer Discovery

WE-REACH Biomedical Bootcamp Sessions
2-4pm on Thursdays
(for teams with biomedical or healthcare products or services)
June 24  Biomedical Customer Discovery and Competitive Analysis
July 1  Biomedical Regulatory Strategy and Product Development
July 8  Biomedical Business Models, Budgets, and Funding Sources
July 15  Biomedical Legal Issues and Intellectual Property

Additional “All Industries” Bootcamp Sessions
9-11am on Tuesdays
June 22  Competitive Analysis
June 29  Telling Compelling Stories
July 6  How Will Your Startup Make Money? Business Model Breakdown
July 13 Workshop TBD

July 21 or 22 8:30am – 12pm Final Pitch Events for Life Science and Medical teams


The WE-REACH Biomedical Innovation Bootcamp is integrated with CoMotion’s NSF I-Corps Site Program. The approach is designed for academic innovators, whether they be students, staff, or faculty. Each team needs to come with an idea they think has potential for impact. The 6-week program kicks off with Lean Startup and customer discovery training workshops that empower participants to quickly learn where their products fit and who the purchasing decision-makers are. The follow-on WE-REACH bootcamp sessions and “All Industry” workshops help teams delve into their competitive landscape, understand regulatory processes, estimate costs and revenues, be alert to legal issues, learn where market research resources are and become better storytellers.

Each week teams come prepared with slides covering specific aspects of their startup. By the end of the 6-week program teams will have produced their first pitch deck.

Participants from all regional research institutions are welcome to apply.

Questions? Email Terri Butler at TLButler@uw.edu

Week 1: I-Corps Lean Startup and Customer Discovery Trainings

Teams kick off with two half-day experiential training workshops covering the Lean Startup Method and Mastering Customer Discovery. The keys to rapidly determine if your ideal will translate into a compelling business proposition are understanding the essential components of a business and being able to identify key customers and market opportunities. You will learn how to do informational interviews with a wide variety of people in the market ecosystem. The interviews use an open-ended approach, NOT a sales approach. Innovators usually need training and practice to develop these skills and these opening workshops will provide opportunities to practice.

Week 2: Customer Discovery and Competitive Analysis

Teams arrive at the WE-REACH bootcamp following the I-Corps introductory workshops with a first draft of their Lean Canvas. The agenda includes bootcamp orientation, expectations, introduction of teams and mentors, and a fireside chat covering problem-solution, product-market fit, competitors, and market research tools. Breakout sessions connect participants with mentors to discuss what they have learned in their weekly customer discovery interviews and make updates to their Lean Canvases. Video of panel discussion.

Week 3: Regulatory Strategy and Product Development

The whole group will gather to hear a fireside chat with experts covering product development, regulatory processes, and clinical study requirements. In follow-on breakout groups teams will discuss what they have learned in their interviews that week and explain updates to their Lean Canvases with their mentor group.  Video of panel discussion.

Week 4: Business Models, Budgets and Funding Sources

The session will start with a conversation with experts covering business models, budgeting, cost estimates, revenue projections, and sources of funds for development including angel and venture funding, grants, and crowdfunding. Teams then meet in breakout sessions with their mentor group to discuss weekly customer discovery interviews, key learnings, and present their updated Lean Canvases.  Video of panel discussion.

Week 5: Legal Issues and Intellectual Property

The weekly fireside chat will be with legal professionals who will cover important legal and intellectual property issues teams should be aware of. Teams then meet with their mentor group for one final session to review and discuss their customer discovery interviews, related Lean Canvas updates and plans for moving their project forward.  Video of panel discussion.

Week 6: Final Presentations

Teams each give a short presentation to experienced mentors and hear key feedback on next steps. They have an opportunity to apply for $2500 in funding to continue customer discovery activities.

Additional information…

The 6-week program starts with a half-day CoMotion NSF I-Corps Customer Discovery Training Workshop. In the 4 weeks that follow the WE-REACH Biomedical Innovation Bootcamp meets for 2 hours once a week covering competitive analysis, FDA regulatory requirements, product development, business models, budgets and funding sources, and legal issues. Additional optional I-Corps workshops cover storytelling and pitch deck preparation. The 6th and final week culminates with pitch presentations to mentors who offer feedback on next steps. Teams that successfully interview a number of key parties and advance their customer discovery are eligible to apply for a $2500 grant to enhance further customer discovery efforts.

This is a starter bootcamp aimed at teams that are new to innovation implementation and commercialization processes. More advanced teams are welcome to participate if they would like to continue developing their business models and building mentor connections. We use the Lean Startup process.

  • The bootcamp applies a reverse classroom approach with video lectures provided each week so teams come prepared to work with their mentors and hear real-world input from guest speakers at the in-person virtual meetings.
  • The first hour of the weekly meetings include in-person interviews of successful innovators and experts discussing key points relevant for that week’s topic area.
  • During the second hour of each weekly meeting teams will break out into groups with mentors where they will discuss their own projects, highlight weekly changes to their Lean Canvas, and get advice on next steps.
  • Between the weekly meetings teams will interview as many real-world contacts as they can to quickly prove or disprove their assumptions about their innovations. The goal is to do at least 10 interviews per week. These interviews help teams understand where their innovation fits, what needs to be done to further its development, where project/company funding might come from, how the end product or service would be launched and other critical information.