SBIR Road Tour: What’s a Quad Chart?

March 9th, 2016 by Sarah Ricard

(Second in a series)

After you register for the upcoming Arkansas SBIR Road Tour, you will need to complete a quad chart if you want to meet one-on-one with agency program managers at the event.

For SBIR purposes, a quad chart is a tool SBIR program managers use in their initial evaluation of an application. “Quad” refers to the chart’s four sections. This quad chart template can serve as a resource for developing your own document.

Why do I need a quad chart?

  • The chart is a concise way to share information about your project and team
  • One is required in order to register for one-on-one sessions with any agency program managers
  • A high-quality quad chart will make a good impression on agency program managers from potential funding agencies

Completing Your Quad Chart

The questions below can help you draft each section of the quad chart.

Section 1: Technology Description and IP Position

Technology/Product/Research Summary

  • What is the product or service to be developed? What critical market will it address?
  • How is it different and better than what already exists or is in the process of being researched and developed through federal funding?
  • What stage is the product/service at in the R&D process? Is the technology still pre-prototype?
  • How would your research team use $150,000 and a six-month project performance period to prove early-stage success of your research idea?

IP Position

  • Have you considered what form of intellectual property protection would be most appropriate for protecting your technology once it is commercial-ready and on the market? Forms of IP protection include patents, trade secrets, and copyrights
  • Have you conducted a preliminary patent search on Have you also run a keyword search for SBIR/STTR awards (which are pre-patent)?
  • At what time during the course of your SBIR/STTR project do you plan to take action steps to protect your IP before it hits commercial market? Only a small portion of SBIR/STTR funding can be used to support legal/other services not permitted with the majority of these awards.

Section 2: Technology / Product Development Milestones

  • What quantifiable measures of success will your team accomplish in the Phase I project to prove early-stage project feasibility?
  • What kinds of product testing will need to be completed after Phase I to prove that your product is ready for commercial market?
  • How will you work with customers throughout the project development process to obtain feedback on your technology that addresses specific needs?

Section 3: Need, Market Opportunity & Impact


  • What kinds of conversations have you had with potential customers to learn about their needs that could potentially be addressed by your technology?
  • What indications of support have you received from potential customers (such as conditional order letters, letters of interest as project partners/customers)?
  • What kind of online market research have you done to explore the competition compared features/limitations of those technologies with your proposed technology?

Value to the Customer

  • Based on your online research and direct communication with potential customers, how big is the problem?
  • What is it currently costing them (in terms of time, cost, quality of life for end users) to address the problem?
  • How much would your customer pay for your technology (per unit), conditional upon developing a market-ready product by the end of Phase II?

Market Opportunity

  • What is the size of the potential customer market that you plan to dominate with your technology?
  • Within the broad market space, who comprises your initial target market?
  • Have you identified existing industry players who could license your product after Phase II?


  • How will your commercial-ready technology measurably improve the lives of end users?

Section 4: Company/Team & Business Model

Key Team Members

  • What key personnel roles do you currently have filled on your team?
  • What kinds of project partners do you need to engage to gain access to specialized individual knowledge, facilities, and other resources?

Targeted Sectors/Research Areas

  • What are the market research areas that you plan to target with agency-specific projects?
  • How does your project idea align with the mission and aims of your target funding agency?
  • Which market segment will be most feasible for your team to address initially? Long-term?
  • How do you plan to sell to customers after Phase II? Directly or via a licensing partner?
  • Will you need a manufacturing partner long-term to assist with large-scale production?

Having a strong quad chart will help you make the most of your 15-minute sessions with program managers. If you have any questions or need help developing a quad chart, please contact your local Arkansas SBTDC. You will want to begin working with your local ASBTDC to draft your quad chart as soon as possible. See ASBTDC locations to find the center that serves your county.