Wave energy developers are increasingly moving towards beachhead markets that do not require megawatt-scale machines, as a strategy to overcome commercialisation barriers, by accelerating deployment, learning, and intermediate returns. Mocean Energy’s embodiment of this approach is an off-grid 10kW rated wave energy converter (WEC), Blue Star. This paper focuses on the tank testing of a 1:20 scale physical model as part of Mocean’s wider route-to-market strategy. Experimental results from an early geometry iteration are presented. Tests were carried out at the University of Edinburgh Curved Tank facility and centred on validating the WEC’s predicted hydrodynamic response, involving regular waves of full-scale equivalent conditions up to 8.4s in period and 1.7m depth-corrected wave height. Results are compared to numerical predictions and linked back to Mocean’s design targets, leading to a discussion on the role of small-scale physical model testing in accelerating WEC performance optimisation. Tentative technical solutions are proposed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of such testing during future design iterations. The role of physical model testing in accelerating commercial deployment is also considered.