Welcome to Greensboro I-Corps
Cohort 11-Karen Presley & Rhonda Stewart
At Orlay Ventures, we’re passionate about helping entrepreneurs launch and sustain profitable businesses. UNCG’s NSF I-Corps class gave us an incredible opportunity to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers.
Our signature product is Parachute, an online platform that makes it faster and easier for entrepreneurs to identify people they can contact for customer discovery interviews. Parachute guides entrepreneurs and companies to a safe landing by reducing the risk of launching a new business venture.
Thanks to validating our idea through UNCG’s NSF I-Corps class, we got some amazing results in just six weeks: we identified a technical adviser and also a developer who expressed interest in working on our product, we were accepted into a design hackathon to build an MVP of our tool, and we secured a partnership with an organization in Raleigh that wants to provide our tool to its entrepreneurs. Two weeks after finishing the class, we were accepted into a well-known pre-accelerator program. We would not have been able to make so much progress so quickly without UNCG’s NSF I-Corps class.
Cohort 7 – Tyler Puffpaff
As a non-traditional student at UNCG I was focused on getting a degree that would further me on my current career path. However, with more time on my hands and the beyond amazing faculty/staff that are truly there for you, I found myself reevaluating what it was that I was truly passionate about: literature.
After consulting with LaunchUNCG Director Justin Streuli, it seemed like the NSF I-Corps program would be a good fit for me that could yield a company, achieving what I was passionate about and on a bigger scale. I found a team of like-minded people who would together see the inception of Variant Literature Inc.
Today, about 1 million books get published annually in the US, but this is only a small fraction of the authors
Variant Literature Inc. is working on bridging this gap, between the millions going unpublished, by providing a space that may make the independent author get noticed. We are working with our local community and are a proud partner of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
Cohort 2 – Fa’Lon Thomas
Fa’Lon Thomas is the founder of Onyx Ocean Technologies a digital agency that specializes in mobile app development, digital marketing, custom software, and website design. Onyx Ocean serves both universities and businesses throughout the United States.
Her company has recently created a healthcare mobile application for researchers at Duke University. This app helps fathers better communicate with their sons about sexual health and STD’s. She is currently exploring the option of applying for SBIR funding in partnership with the university to expand the reach of the application.
When asked about her experience with I-Corps, she had this to say: “I am so grateful to have been apart of I-corps. They gave me the opportunity to get out and speak to people in my industry in an intentional way. Having a support system available every week and resources to expand my research was invaluable. I was also able to attend conferences to meet and network with people in my field thanks to the grant. They helped me make connections that I would not have had otherwise.”
Cohort 1 – Sandy Shultz & Randy Schmitz
The ArthoLax team also includes Beth Bacon, Hunter Holden, Dennis LaJeunesse, Jeff Taylor and Robert Koshinskie.
We are ArthroLax Solutions, LLC, a company committed to creating products for athletes, soldiers and citizens to prevent and treat joint injuries.
We entered in the national I-Corps program with the ideology of creating a knee injury prevention device for adolescent female athletes. During our I-Corps journey we discovered that this customer base was not the best fit as our initial consumer market. After countless interviews, the data led us to pivot towards the military where our product would be a potential solution to help address a high prevalence of knee injuries.