LAUNCH! IS AN 8-WEEK ENTREPRENEUR WORKSHOP SERIES designed to introduce early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs to key topics and principles to help build, launch, and scale successful businesses. The 8-week series will survey a host of topics from ideation to launch. Each workshop will be taught by successful entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts experienced in building, launching and scaling ventures. This new workshop-style format is designed to have participants leave with practical knowledge that can be immediately applied to their ventures.
75 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
Ideation & ValidatioN
Company & Team Formation
Strategy and FinancE
Pitching / Storytelling
WE OFFER THE PROGRAM IN TWO FORMATS:
(1) APPLY TO ATTEND ALL 8 PROGRAM DATES (15 AVAILABLE SPOTS for all 8 sessions)
(2) APPLY TO ATTEND THE PROGRAM DATES THAT RESONATE WITH YOUR CURRENT NEEDS (10 AVAILABLE SPOTS in each session).
LIMITED SPACE. FREE TO ATTEND.
(1) have an idea that you could think through during the duration of the workshop series.
(2) this program is open to any type of entrepreneur including current entrepreneurs and aspiring.
(3) you must make a commitment to the dates you have registered for. this program has limited space and we request you attend all the series dates you have applied to.
LAUNCH! SERIES overview
Week 1: IDEATION, VALIDATION & BUSINESS MODEL DESIGN
Week 1: Tuesday, Feb 25th, 2020
Are you solving a problem that people care about? How do you identify problems worth solving? How do you determine if you are building a business that earns money or one that should be relegated to hobby status?
This workshop will explore the fundamentals of evaluating an idea to determine if you can build a viable business from the problem you are trying to solve. You will be introduced to several tools to help you “get out of your head” and build a product or service that customers will pay for.
- How to identify problems that a business can solve.
- How to test and validate that a problem has a viable business solution.
- How to test and validate your solution hypothesis.
- How to design a business model and test its components.
Le Zhang is the founder and CEO of Squadle, an IoT platform company that helps automate multi-unit restaurant operations for the likes of Sonic Drive-In and Chick-fil-A. Squadle is backed by 500 Startups, Bolt VC, Accomplice, Walnut Ventures, and more. He is named in several patents in the IoT field. Le has experience building technology companies from scratch, building scalable software technology platforms, fundraising, and in enterprise sales.
Week 2: Product Design
Workshop 2: Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
Once you have early validation that your idea may have viability, how do you define your target market and target audiences? How do you decide which features your product/service should have? How do you prioritize the features of your product/service?
This workshop will help you research and define your target audience and create a basic user persona. You will be introduced to techniques to turn your customers’ observations into product features and how to prioritize the features for development.
- How to research and define a target market.
- How to create a user persona.
- How to develop a product feature set.
- How to test product features.
- How to prioritize product features.
Aloshri Mukerji is a seasoned product management, market research, and operations professional with a marketing bent experienced in scaling Saas start-ups and driving growth through innovative products and business models. She is currently Chief Operating Officer at CoUrbanize and former Vice President of Product at Buildium where she led the product team to unprecedented increases in customer satisfaction. Her expertise includes increasing revenue through pricing models and new product lines, driving customer acquisition through frictionless product experiences and marketing alignment, and exceeding customer satisfaction targets by understanding real customer needs and building a great product around those needs. She has a passion and unique understanding for helping small businesses grow through years of research and launching successful Saas products. Aloshri is metrics and results-driven but based on her understanding of market needs. She was part of the product team at Constant Contact that grew the business from start-up stage to a multi-product, public company. A strong leader for product teams focused on growth along with alignment with marketing and sales.
WEEK 3: Customer Development & Growth Hacking
Workshop 3: Tuesday, March 17th, 2020
Having early and initial insight from potential customers is not enough to build and launch a successful business. Oftentimes, the “shiny new ideas” begin to distort insights collected from potential users. To avoid this common pitfall, you will need a disciplined approach to achieving product-market fit from idea to launch. You will then need to build the audience for your product or service, with little to no budget. How will you do that?
This workshop will help you understand the tools and techniques to engage your customers and continually validate your product/service evolution across its life-cycle. You will also learn how to grow your customer-base in quick, lean, and cost-effective ways
- What is customer development and how it is used
- What are the types of prototypes used across the product/ service life-cycle
- What is growth hacking and what is the AAARRR framework
- How to design and run basic experiments to convert prospective customers into paid customers
Franco Iudiciani Jr. is a growth and retention-driven entrepreneur with experience scaling both products and communities to the millions of users. He cofounded Fam, a group video chat app, where he led user acquisition & retention, driving growth from 0 to 7 million users in 1 year. He also cofounded SmackHigh, the nation’s largest high school news, sports, and opinion site, where he led platform growth from 0 to 1.2 million subscribers. He is currently on the retention & monetization team at DraftKings, leading retention marketing efforts in five of the company’s major sports offerings, in addition to channel creative testing.
WEek 4: Marketing, Branding & Go to Market strategy
Workshop 4: Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
Consumers have many companies, organizations and institutions vying for their attention through brand marketing and product messaging. A strong brand is not only important to create a relationship with your customers but it’s important for attracting all your important stakeholders (team members, board members, investors, volunteers, etc.). How will you establish a unique place in the consumers’ mind and consistently break through the noise that your target audience is bombarded with every day? Once your brand has been created, how will you reach your target audience and where will you promote your product to reach them?
This workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of creating your brand identity and the basics of your go-to-marketing strategy.
- What are the key elements of branding?
- What tools and resources are available to help build your brand?
- How best to use brand assets to build and scale your businesses.
- What is a beachhead strategy?
- How to design your channel strategy.
- How to design a promotional strategy.
Mark Dockser, is a senior marketing executive formerly with Luminopia, Keurig, and iRobot.
WEek 5: Company Formation: Company Structure and Team
Workshop 5: Tuesday, April 7th, 2020
How do you turn a product with traction into a company? When should you form a company? Which company structure is right for your business? How do you form a team when you are one motivated person working from your kitchen table?
This workshop will help you make critical decisions about selecting a company structure and building an early team that aligns with your mission and values.
- What are the different company structures an entrepreneur has to choose from?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different corporate structures?
- How to define your mission, vision, and values.
- How to leverage your purpose as a competitive advantage.
Jessica Manganello is a business attorney with New Leaf Legal, a flat fee firm that provides corporate and IP services to emerging and small businesses and artists. Her expertise is comprised of everything from designing corporate structuring to expansion and growth to developing an exit strategy.
WEek 6: strategy, Financial Planning & Management
Workshop 6: Tuesday, April 14th, 2020
In order to launch and run your business successfully, you will need a good financial plan. How much funding will you need to launch and run the day-to-day operation? How many customers will you need to break-even, at what price point (s) and over what time horizon?
This workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of creating a practical financial model and basic forecasts for your business.
- How to build a financial model?
- How to use financial modeling to help you make decisions for your business?
- How to use a financial model to determine how much funding will you need to launch, scale?
- How to calculate your true costs to build, scale launch hire?
Scott brings over 18 years of experience of working closely with venture-backed, emerging growth and sophisticated public and privately held companies in the software, life sciences, clean-tech, manufacturing and distribution industries. He provides tremendous value to these companies not only in the areas of audit, attestation, and tax but also operational guidance. Scott also works with entrepreneurs on forecast preparation, fundraising support, as an outsourced CFO and a general advisor. Scott currently at Partner with Silverman, Avila, & Gershaw, CPA’s.
WEek 7: Funding Options
Workshop 7: Tuesday, April 28th, 2020
Starting a business from the ground up is one of the toughest challenges one can take on. One major hurdle is designing a financial plan to produce and launch your product/service into the market. There are a variety of funding mechanisms for startups but not all are well suited for every business. Which funding model is best suited for your venture?
This workshop will introduce you to different funding options for startups and how to decide the model best suited for your business.
- What are the funding options for starting a company? (e.g. bootstrapping, grants, angel funding, loans, venture funding, etc).
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of funding options?
- How to choose the best option for your business type and growth stage?
Jesse Bardo is a vice president in Early Stage Practice for SVB in Boston, where he helps Boston’s early-stage founders build amazing businesses in one of the world’s best innovation ecosystem. To this end, he connects entrepreneurs with Boston’s accelerators, universities, and partners, as well as internal SVB staff, to help his clients scale. Every day, Jesse sits at the intersection between founders, who are dedicated to what they are building, and the bank’s global network and from this vantage point he gets to help companies and individuals grow.
WEek 8: Pitching & Storytelling
Workshop 8: Tuesday, May 5th, 2020
What are you working on? It’s a common question heard at Venture Café and in many startup circles. If you are able to answer that question appropriately, it could lead to cofounders, team members, and partners, funders and lots of customers. Can you convey the essence of your business’ unique value without eyes glossing over? This workshop will teach you how to effectively explain what you do to key stakeholders.
- How to build a narrative about your business?
- How to effectively share a story about your company?
- What are the types of pitches you will need to give?
- How to present an effective pitch?
Thara Pillai is a veteran marketing & business development professional who has mentored and advised 75+ companies in Boston and beyond. She is a Board Member at TiE Boston, a mentor at Founder Institute, and the founder of a networking and mentoring group for female entrepreneurs, RebelWomen. Over the past three years, she has held roles at Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, running programs to support alumni ventures. Prior to this, she ran a successful consulting firm that advised seed and Series A startups.
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APPLY TO BE A MENTOR
Mentors are critical to the success of entrepreneurs. Mentors share with mentee information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling. A mentor may help with exploring business ideas, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources. We have an application process and interview process for potential mentor acceptance into our Mentor Program.
Host a Workshop
Throughout the year we host a blend of our own curated content as well as community-sourced content. Please complete this form if you are interested in proposing a workshop for our community.