5 Questions With Josh Green, Director of ICAP

“5 Questions With…” is a recurring BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This week we welcome Josh Green, Director of the Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP).

Josh Green is a mentor and entrepreneur whose career has primarily focused on business and organizational development. He is currently the Director of the Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP) – a program of George Mason University and the Virginia SBDC. ICAP works with early-stage technology and innovation-driven companies to validate their market and continues to support them as they seek investment and scale their ventures. For 15 years, he has advised private companies and nonprofit organizations across the United States in a wide array of industries.  

Josh is also a founding member of a startup that produces a high-performance and environmentally safe hydraulic fluid, as well as an aerospace startup that manufactures next-generation unmanned systems.  

Josh received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and an MBA from the University of Nevada. 

1) Please introduce yourself to our audience by looking at your career. What do you enjoy about your role?

I really love my job as the ICAP Director. I have the ability to work with amazing ICAP Mentors who bring hundreds of years of experience to the table. We also work with a tremendous number of partners throughout the Commonwealth and region – all focused on helping entrepreneurs find success. And, I also get to meet and help support tech startup founders working on some of the coolest ideas out there. Now that we are entering our sixth year, I love seeing the progression and success of some of our earliest clients.

I understand the hard work of tech startups as I am on the founding team of two myself. I have seen first hand the benefits of finding those who help support and champion your efforts. My goal with ICAP is to help make sure founders have the support they need to move forward effectively and efficiently, while avoiding the pitfalls that can delay or derail their efforts.  

2) Can you tell us more about ICAP, the services it provides to Virginia entrepreneurs, and how companies can get involved in the program?

The Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP) is focused on helping technology and innovation-driven startups on their commercialization journey – from ideation through funding and scaling. This is accomplished through one-on-one advising and experiential learning programs with a mentor team of experienced entrepreneurs. ICAP currently has 18 mentors with backgrounds that range from drug discovery to venture financing and cybersecurity to aerospace engineering. We are also partnered with a vast majority of the other entrepreneur support organizations across Virginia and help to make connections that move companies forward – like our partnership with Prince William County.

ICAP’s services are offered at no cost and all advising is confidential. Since 2018, ICAP has worked with over 1000 entrepreneurs that have raised over $100M from angel investors, VC groups, SBIRs, and other grants. More information about the program and an application to join can be found here. You can also reach out to ICAP Director Josh Green at [email protected].

3) Prince William County has just opened applications for its IGNITE Program. Can you tell us more about the program and why budding entrepreneurs in Prince William County/NOVA should pursue this opportunity?

The IGNITE Program is an excellent opportunity for early-stage startups and young companies to get access to resources that will help them grow. In addition to the grant funding that is available, the program also includes educational and networking opportunities that provide even longer-term value. It is opportunities like these that can help push a company forward and help to achieve success faster.

4) The IGNITE application process requires companies to create a video pitch. What advice do you have for creating a stellar, impactful video pitch?

The benefit of a video is that there is a greater degree of control over how the message is conveyed. And, it can always be redone if it is not as good as one would like. Taking the time to practice, find a spot with good lighting and sound, effectively sharing a screen, and conveying the passion for the project that shows what they are really investing in – the founder. They are all key things to think about when creating a video. Founders should not try to talk faster to cram in more information. They should also not try to be anything other than themselves. Again, the business idea is important, but funds are going to the founder, so authenticity is vital.

I believe a short pitch video should include a brief, but relevant, introduction of the founder, a description of the problem, how they are looking to solve it, and why they are in the best position to solve it. A short review of the economics/financials should also be included to highlight a realistic entrance into the market. Since the video pitch is short, wetting the appetite of the reviewer should be the main goal – enticing them to want to learn more about the company by inciting them to the next round. Finally, I believe showing the video to an unbiased third-party is important and ICAP would be happy to help support founders in this way.   

5) Talk to us more about Prince William County – what are the top 3 reasons life science businesses should set up roots there?

PWC has a number of benefits that make it a great place for a life science company to locate. There is access to facilities, talent/expertise, and transportation. In addition to the facilities the county provides, there is also George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus with a wealth of resources – equipment, lab space, facilities, etc. Mason also provides a steady flow of new graduates looking to put their knowledge to good use. The easy access to transportation logistics makes it an excellent location as well.