Thursday, April 5, 2012

Next round of teambuilding

For the next round of team formation, we will begin after the initial assignment is due (4/14). You'll be able to do some form of searching through profiles on venture-lab for teammates and invite them to join your team. If both people agree, then they will be added to the same team. To balance privacy and search, you will be able to choose how much and which pieces of information to reveal on the site to those searching for teammates. There are over 30,000 individuals from all over the world currently forming teams. The mailing list includes ~85,000. These include successful serial entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley all the way to people in rural areas of West Africa.

We expect that many of you already have teams or want to continue with teammates you're currently working with. In that case then you can add these teammates on your team. I'll be providing some more information on optimal team characteristics, but for now let me suggest teams of 4 (though we will allow larger teams up to a reasonable limit).

Once you have your team, you can begin working on the team project. I will go into more detail, but essentially, your team will have a first opportunity analysis project (OAP) where you are to test whether this idea is worth pursuing as a startup. This will include talking face to face to customers to discover their needs, validating that other customers have the same need, and doing some market size analysis. In this phase, you should begin creating a basic website right away (see the resources and tools page linked here), for instance, if you're building a website, the teammates with a business background should build the initial landing page/prototype and the "engineers" should set up meetings with potential customers. During the second phase, we will flip these roles. Lecture videos will help guide you along the way and we'll also hold a few Hangouts and twitter meetups.

In about a month, you will upload slides and/or a video on YouTube of your 2-3 minute presentation and receive feedback from peers. The top 30 or so teams will be paired with mentors for the 2nd phase.

In the 2nd phase, the opportunity execution project (OEP), you will test the other aspects of the business model, starting with your solution to the customer problem by showing your prototype to potential customers. You'll have another month to test the marketing, value proposition, partnerships, revenue model, etc. before your final presentations. The final presentations will also be uploaded as slides/text and/or a video on YouTube.