Nine teams will embark on a 10-week journey to learn the Lean Startup methodology as part of the inaugural class of the UCF I-Corps program beginning January 30, 2015.

The class represents a cross section of students from various UCF programs, including College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), Institute for Simulation and Training (IST), Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), NanoScience Technology Center (NSTC), College of Science (COS); Center for Advanced Turbine and Energy Research (CATER); College of Medicine (COM) and  School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD).

UCF I-Corps teams generally consist of an Entrepreneurial Lead (EL), Principal Investigator (PI) and Industry/I-Corps Mentor. Inaugural teams include: Talon Simulations (CECS); Autonomous Vehicle (IST); Smartphone Spectrometer (NSTC, COS, CATER); e-Book Platform (CECS); Xapagy (CECS); MotiveATE (COM); HybridaSol (FSEC); Healthshares (COM); and iBeacon Platform (SVAD).

These aspiring entrepreneurs will participate in an immersive, hands-on program designed to teach them how to test their ideas, gauge feasibility, understand consumer demand, examine competition and develop mutually beneficial partnerships to help transition their ideas into profitable enterprises. Experienced advisors and mentors oversee the teams and coach them toward success.

The inaugural teaching team consists of a mix of experienced entrepreneurs and UCF faculty including Thomas O’Neal, Oscar Rodriguez, Michael O’Donnell, Cameron Ford, Ivan Garibay and David Metcalf. The entire teaching team was trained at the Lean LaunchPad Educators Seminar at Stanford. This training was facilitated by Jerry Engel and Steve Blanks, creators of the Lean Launchpad movement. Engel, a professor at Berkeley (University of California) and National Faculty Director of the NSF

I-Corps program, will be co-teaching the first and last inaugural classes with the UCF teaching team.

Nicoleta Hickman UCF’s FSEC, will serve as the PI for HybridaSol. “Our entire team is excited to accept this honor and challenge,” says Dr. Hickman. “To be part of this first group is very special, and we are determined not to disappoint. We realize this is a major investment in HybridaSol by the National Science Foundation and the I-Corps committee.”

Ivan Garibay serves as Program Director for UCF I-Corps. “Being named one of only 15 universities nationwide to lead an I-Corps site is an incredible opportunity and privilege for UCF,” explains Garibay. “The I-Corps committee put much time and effort into choosing teams representing diverse ideas and innovations. We look forward to seeing the transformation and progress of our inaugural class.”

UCF has been selected by the National Science foundation (NSF) to provide Florida’s first implementation of one of the agency’s flagship programs, an I-Corps Site. The I-Corps Site’s purpose is to foster innovation among faculty and students, promoting regional coordination and linkages in the innovation ecosystem, as well as develop a National Innovation Network. The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to provide University scientists and researchers the program, process, and resources to investigate and validate the commercialization of their science. UCF has one of the nation’s best innovation and entrepreneurial networks and is one of 15 universities nationwide that is leading an I-Corps Site program. The UCF I-Corps program is administered by the university’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), a department that consolidates and coordinates UCF’s major innovation and entrepreneurship support activities.

For more information about UCF I-Corps, please visit or contact Ivan Garibay at or via phone at 407-882-1163.