The Delta I-Fund offered multiple cohorts from the fall of 2017 through early summer 2019. To date, the program has assisted 166 entrepreneurs from 20 cities throughout the DRA footprint. 40% of our alumni founders are people of color and 35% are women.
The types of ideas and startups targeted by the Delta I-Fund are those based on innovative business models including:
• Patented university research, including medical, biomedical, science, and engineering applications.
• Software and other IT-based platform solutions.
• Any other patented or proprietary technology or innovation which provides a competitive advantage.
As for the stage of the company, the Delta I-Fund worked with very early-stage ideas and companies that needed validation, including pre-revenue startups and entrepreneurs still in the idea stage.
The structured training provided during the program was modeled after I-Corps™, a program formed by the National Science Foundation in 2011. Thousands of teams nationally have been through I-Corps, and the curriculum is founded on the Lean LaunchPad™ entrepreneurial training developed by Steve Blank and Stanford University. Entrepreneurs in the Delta I-Fund were taught to develop and document their proposed business model on a lean canvas, and then to test their hypotheses through a rigorous customer discovery process.