What is your role with LearnLaunch Accelerator and how have you worked with/what has your work focused on with the cohort this year?
As an Entrepreneur in Residence at LearnLaunch Accelerator, my role is to provide accelerator companies with coaching on product management and the lean startup approach. This typically involves helping companies examine their customer segmentation, value proposition, and product roadmaps.
The biggest source of failure for most startups is a lack of market for the product. I helped the accelerator cohort build plans to conduct discovery research and equipped them with the best practices to do so.
*Learn more about Colin on his LinkedIn
Which company(s) did you work with specifically and on what?
Two companies that I worked closely with are Beagle Learning and Capti Voice. Both companies entered the program with technology that is aspirational for their respective markets. Given that there are many potential use cases and customer segments for these products, I helped Beagle and Capti conduct discovery that was instrumental in deciding their beachhead markets and value propositions.
What I liked most about working with these companies was their openness toward challenging key assumptions and receiving feedback. Both companies embraced customer research as the tool to connect their product visions to existing problems that customers are willing to spend money on. I appreciated the extent to which these companies asked questions of customers that challenged their core beliefs.
What are you looking forward to most about Demo Day?
Most rewarding for me on Demo Day will be seeing the result of customer research in the cohort company pitches. One thing that investors really look for is the depth of understanding that founders have in their customer’s problems and motivations. My hope is that the customer discovery work completed by companies will embolden entrepreneurs with stronger beliefs, evidence, and anecdotes.
What is a piece of advice you hope the companies you work with bring with them to their pitch?
The greatest increment of progress for a young company is to identify and overcome your fatal assumptions. My advice is to maintain a regular dialogue with your customers and ask questions that have the potential to break your rosy view of the world.