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WSU I-Corps Team Members

Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) – this team member is the “CEO” of the team and will work with the Teaching Team to determine the best business case for the Team’s idea. The EL is required to interview potential customers and industry experts to learn more about how the Team’s idea would solve a pressing need in a way that can make money as a business.

The Principal Investigator (PI) – this team member is most often a professor, post doc, or graduate student, although sometimes undergraduate students are the best choice for a PI. The PI is the scientific lead on the project and is responsible for knowing the technical limitations of any proposed value proposition. In cases where the new business idea is using currently-existing technologies, the PI should be a subject matter expert and be able to point to examples of the state of the art, patents, companies, and other projects that may already be taking on the problems that the business idea is trying to solve. Whenever possible, the PI should be a good source of interview contacts for the EL to help the Team do the best job possible assessing their business idea.


The Mentor – this Team member is the “Wise owl” with several years of experience working in product development in industry and ideally in starting a business of their own. A Mentor does not need technical expertise specifically in your Team’s subject matter and should be able to meet with the Team periodically throughout the 10-week program.

Team Support – additional Team members lighten the load for everyone and bring new perspectives and ideas that are very helpful when the Team is trying to prioritize their time toward building the best business model possible during the 10-week program. In most cases we consider all additional Team members to be “Co-ELs,” and they can help the Team depending on their expertise. Most Co-ELs learn to interview customers, but many also have specific skills in business/finance, website design, coding, or graphic design.

Creating Your Team

WSU I-Corps Team must have at least 2 members:

  • At least one person who has a business idea or is capable of performing technological assessment of an idea adopted by the Team. [PI]
  • At least one student, alumni, or post-doc interested in taking the entrepreneurial lead (this person is responsible for collecting data about your idea through customer interviews). [EL]
  • Whenever possible, we want your team to have a Mentor, which could be a faculty entrepreneur at WSU (such as an EFA member), or a business person in the community who can help you make connections with industry experts and discuss the pros and cons of your business idea throughout the 10-week program.

The WSU I-Corps Teaching Team will help individual applicants find Teams to match up participants with different experiences and needs.

Please contact us at if you have questions regarding teaming for I-Corps.