LHX Weeks 1-4: Discovery
As promised, this week’s Monday Recap will cover the first few weeks of the LaunchHouse Accelerator (LHX). It’s been an adventure, but the first few weeks were unique in terms of discovery. The teams set out (literally, out of the building) to validate customer pain points. Face-to-face interactions, surveys, and IngenuityFest pulled in over 3,000 points of info and feedback. This contributed toward creating a business model hypothesis.
Here’s a breakdown of the first few weeks of the LHX program:
Week 1: Bob and Shannon introduced the business model canvas and asked the companies to create a series of hypotheses for elements of the canvas. Once the canvas was created, teams went out and talked to between 50-100 customers. Each subsequent week they honed in on the business model canvas to show how it changed based on what they heard from their markets.
The teams’ biggest challenge at that point was stepping out of their comfort zones to talk to people. Not just through online surveys but face-to-face. It was also difficult not to disclose their solutions to customer pain points, since they were still doing market research. Telling the solution would mean biased results in surveys and interviews. Bob and Shannon had to remind the teams not to disclose their solutions, but to ask customers about the pain points they were facing. It produced funny conversations between the teams; they had to hold back from selling their products!
Week 2: The second week provided the opportunity of exhibiting at IngenuityFest. They endured long hours and crowds of hundreds of people all weekend. It created a social network and support system among the teams – they felt more comfortable opening up to give feedback, blow off steam, and just develop a cohort and network. Most importantly, they were challenged with validating customer segment and basic features to solve problems they were seeing.
Week 3: The focus of this week was to demonstrate what presenting on showcase day would be like. Brad Boyer flew in from NYC to host an eccentric session of stage performance. Projection, story telling, setting complexity, explaining how your product is better… these were all tactics taught in the session. Basically, the teams needed to know, “What’s the story?”
The whole point was to simulate investor presentations. While techies and actors aren’t usually found in the same sentence, these guys showed their commitment by stepping out of their comfort zones once more to prepare for showcase day. This week provided time for the teams to better understand which questions they could ask the mentors. Teams started forging relationships with mentors as they began to play a key role in the program.
Of course, LHX isn’t all work. We host happy hours to unwind, talk to mentors, share funny stories, receive feedback, and blow off steam. We work hard and play hard, as they say. Stay tuned for the next LHX update!