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In preparing for the next set of Fall courses, we've been analyzing some of the data from the Spring 2012 Technology Entrepreneurship course on Venture Lab.
We looked at the average team scores at the end of the course (averaging across all 3 scores) for teams that received three feedback reports. We also did some normalization.
The first insight is that teams with a mentor scored significantly higher.
The second insight was that teams from the US were not the top scoring. Teams from Russia and India did quite well.
Out of the top 10 teams in the course, they were from a variety of regions.
It was also not the case that younger individuals did particularly better. I was especially happy to see that the over 50 crowd did quite well as did the youngest 21-25 year old group. These were scored by the age of the team lead.
Women did just slightly better than the men (differences are not statistically significantly different).
Teams did well across industries. Medical devices, finance and management consulting firms were particularly hot this year.
The team score was not significantly higher for those with larger teams. At the beginning I recommended teams of 3-4 people. Once teams got too large there appears to be some decline in performance, but otherwise, team size did not significantly influence the average score. A team that is too large can have difficulties with fast decision making and coordination/communication.
Of course all of these are correlations and do not necessarily imply causation. It may be that teams that were motivated or interesting enough to attract and find a mentor were higher quality teams or ideas to start with. However, it does indicate that for the fall, teams would be wise to try to find a mentor and not to make the team size overly large.
Finally, here's a cool photo of a set of customized, handcrafted soaps from one of the teams that is producing eco-beauty products and soaps: