UC Riverside Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. students Nami Davoodzadeh and David Halaney, along with UCR Entrepreneur-in-Residence Steve Sharp, participated in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program this Winter. This program simulates a business start-up environment, enabling teams to assess product-market fit through intensive customer discovery. During the 7 weeks, the Portable Perfusion Monitor (PPM) team assessed the marketability of a blood perfusion monitoring device by interviewing over 100 professionals throughout the medical device business ecosystem, including 50+ surgeons. Key learnings were insights pertaining to the target customers, the value that PPM could provide them, and options for next steps to move toward potential commercialization. Of the 24 international teams participating, the PPM team received special recognition with the “Spirit of I-Corps Award”, for the team most exemplifying “hard work, discipline and intellectual honesty” as recognized by the National I-Corps instructors leading the curriculum.