Technology commercialization, crossing the chasm

Podcast: How to Find Technology-Product-Market Fit to Win SBIR/STTR Grants

Small Business Administration has been funding  research and development of new technologies since 1953, primarily using The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.  The mission of the SBIR/STTR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

Podcast: Product-Market Fit for SBIR/STTR grants

Government agencies that fund SBIR/STTR programs have been voicing concern for a long time that commercialization of research projects does not happen as often as they would like it to see. Because of that, the program has changed in 2014 to include Performance Benchmark Requirements for Phase I limiting the number of SBIR Phase I grants a company can win within 10 year period if they do not show progress toward technology commercialization, such as revenue made from the technologies funded or strategic partnerships. Because of that, it is increasingly important to think about technology commercialization process early on by identifying a good technology — product — market fit as part of the grant application.

  • Podcast topic: Technology — Product — Market Fit for SBIR/STTR grants

    How to find the proper technology-product-market fit and demonstrate the viable commercialization pathway as part of the application process for SBIR Phase I, Phase II, and STTR grants.

  • Host:InterKn

    helps you find and acquire SBIR and STTR award funding. InterKn is a collaborative ecosystem that connects you to SBIR and STTRaward funding. We gather information from multiple agencies to help you find and secure awards, saving you time so you can focus on developing innovative R&D and delivering it to the world.

  • Guest Speaker: Dragana Mendel

    specializes in helping companies find their product market fit. She works with entrepreneurs to help them move their innovative technologies over the valley of death on their way to commercialization. She and Mike Pinsky discuss the marketing challenges facing SBIR companies and how thinking about the end user early on can help them commercialize their technologies. Find out more about Dragana’s services at

  • Click below to listen to the podcast in this web page:
  • Click here to listen to the podcast at InterKn.Podcast outline, minute markers:

    • 1:10: Introductions, about InterKn, about ANAGARD Business Growth Consulting
    • 2:10: Typical ANAGARD’s clients, early stage technology startups seeking help with market research and technology commercialization. Dragana leverages 15 years in R&D to connect with her clients developing cutting-edge technologies
    • 4:05: Pre-revenue clients, when are clients seeking my services, when do they reach out to me? Phase I, II?
    • 7:10: “Product-Market Fit”, why do startups struggle with finding it and how do you identify it? Most SBIR/STTR winners have deep bench of PhD educated employees, not as many employees that understand the market forces.
    • 9:05: example of finding a technology-product-market fit for a patented process that creates 10 times less defects in GaN waffer.
    • 11:45: When does market feasibility make the most impact? Early in SBIR Phase I or later in Phase II?
    • 14:00: Understand the vertical value chain in your industry, now and where does your technology fit it. Talk to industry experts.
    • 17:25: Grants as undiluted investments are great, but not enough to build a business. Angel investors, venture capital investors, contracting organizations.
    • 21:00 Breakdown between granting and contracting agencies in terms of awards.
    • 22:10: What are the common barriers to technology commercialization when it comes to raising money from venture capital investors?
    • 24:40: Corporate investors, strategic agreements, licensing agreements
    • 29:45: How to overcome marketing struggles for startups and small business
    • 35:02: Customer acquisition strategies and challenges for startup consultants
    • 36:30: What are the early signs of success or a failure for a new business? Traction, time between raising rounds, team disfunction.
    • 41:00: Final insights, qualitative research is the best tool for customer discovery.

Technology commercialization, crossing the chasm


Finding a proper technology-product-market fit could be challenging process for researchers that do not have a enough experience performing market research and customer discovery process. This process is complicated by the fact that the target customer is typically  located several layers up the industry’s vertical stack from the technology developed. We have years of experience successfully commercializing new technologies. Calls us to schedule an hour long free discovery session to discuss the  ways we can help your startup.