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ABOUT STARTUP SPIRIT

We are an dynamic agency located in the heart of Europe. We've been featured tons of times in newspapers, TV and tech blogs!

 

Advice

We help you to work with startups and to develop entrepreneurship within your own organization

Startup Speaker

Speaker power!!

Are you looking for awesome speakers on startups? Someone who speaks from his own experience and shares successes and failures? We can help you to inspire and guide your audience into innovation, business development and strategies? The Startup Speaker represents high level entrepreneurs specialized in entrepreneurship and startups who are currently shaping the future.

Inspiration and knowledge transfer can be done in many different ways: via a keynote or presentation, an in-house inspiration session, a workshop, a brainstorm or a quick scan

NEED ADVICE?

Check out our awesome speakers and if you need any help just contact us for advice.

Doug Ward

Doug Ward

Speaker

Doug Ward is co-founder of Tech Britain, Techhub and a serial entrepreneur. He’s also an advisor to the UK government. Doug is well-known in the UK for his efforts to strengthen startups and technology business.

More about Doug
Leo Exter

Leo Exter

Speaker

Leo Exter is one of the main figures in the Brussels and Belgian startup scene. In the past he has done several startups. Now he supports them through his program Healthstartup and the startup support network WeStartup!

More about Leo
Vidar Andersen

Vidar Andersen

Speaker

Vidar Andersen is a Norwegian living and working in Cologne. He’s a renowned figure in the German and European startup scene. Vidar has done several startups in ICT. He’s very well connected, gives lectures and workshops.

More about Vidar
Doug Ward

Doug Ward

Speaker

Doug Ward is co-founder of Tech Britain, Techhub and a serial entrepreneur. He’s also an advisor to the UK government. Doug is well-known in the UK for his efforts to strengthen startups and technology business.

More about Doug
Leo Exter

Leo Exter

Speaker

Leo Exter is one of the main figures in the Brussels and Belgian startup scene. In the past he has done several startups. Now he supports them through his program Healthstartup and the startup support network WeStartup!

More about Leo
Vidar Andersen

Vidar Andersen

Speaker

Vidar Andersen is a Norwegian living and working in Cologne. He’s a renowned figure in the German and European startup scene. Vidar has done several startups in ICT. He’s very well connected, gives lectures and workshops.

More about Vidar

Methodology, Audience and Example Program

Target Audience

High school, college and university students or product managers, innovation managers, project managers, general employees, decision makers tasked with growth and innovation, pre-incubation stage startups or business units.


Methodology

Learning Objectives:

The student will be able to apply the principles of customer development and business model generation to move from idea to validating product-market and problem-solution fit. He or she will be able to use a single-page business model canvas to convincingly present a business case. He or she will be able to effectively conduct customer interviews to validate the idea, followed up by building a simple Minimum Viable Product to start measuring and learning and finally prepared to pitch the findings and the business idea to accelerators, investors or internal stakeholders.

Overview:
The 1, 5 or 12 week program consists of 5 full, 5 half-day and 12 half-day classes respectively with approximately 2, 10 and 20h of hands-on homework between each weekly class. Mentors remain available online (e.g. Skype, mobile, email) to clarify issues that come up in between classes.

Flipped Classroom Approach:
To maximize learning the course uses a flipped classroom approach: short lectures outlining the core concepts during class & lots of self-study and practical, hands-on homework in between classes. Weekly 1/2 day meet-up: Half of the face-time is spent on deep exploration of the core topics a corporate entrepreneur needs to master. (e.g. the Business Model Canvas). The other half is used to peer- review the progress of each participant, mentoring and hands-on practical help with their business idea.

Homework:
Participants are expected to spend +8 hours per week outside class to get exposed to real market conditions and to talk to real potential customers for unfiltered input.

 

Outside work

- Video Lectures
- Written Material
- Customer Interviews

Meetups
- Discussions & Insights
- Lectures
- Accountability
- Feedback

Mentoring
- During Meetups
- Between Meetups

 

EXAMPLE PROGRAM AGENDA

Half-a-day to full day meet-ups on or off-site for one, five or 12 weeks, depending on intensity and depth. Here is an example of a half-day 5 week program agenda:

LECTURE & GROUP ASSIGNMENT (75 minutes)
The instructor will explain the topic of the day through an opening lecture. Teams will be broken up and expected to discuss the respective topic of the day, e.g. customer development, with each other and agree upon a common definition. Afterwards, the Instructor will ask the groups to present their definition and clarify any questions that may exist amongst the class.

TEAM PRESENTATIONS (75 minutes)
Each team will present their current learnings and updated business model canvas with their assumptions and validations. During each presentation, program participants are expected to comment on each other’s presentation, share their insights and offer possible connections to potential customers live using the Peer Review section of the program software.

PEER REVIEW (75 minutes)
The teams will be paired up to discuss the feedback they have received and written in the Peer Review session and ask questions to help strategize their actions for next week and get mentoring from serial entrepreneurs.

ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT WEEK, WRAP-UP (15 minutes)
The teams will Interview 15 potential customers and update their business model canvas with new assumptions and read additional written and watch additional video material in between meet-ups.

 

Instructors

 

About Vidar Andersen

Mr. Andersen is a Norwegian entrepreneur and Internet industry veteran with over 18 years of professional experience working exclusively with F500 corporations and GOs, currently living in Cologne, Germany.

His work has been featured & recognized by The New York Times, The BBC, Business Insider, CNN, TechCrunch, Netzwertig, TechHustlers, TechCocktail, DViCE, BasicThinking, MLOVE, ZDF, UP Global, Global Week of Entrepreneurship, C’n’B, The European Pirate Summit, LeWeb Paris, London Web Summit, TechCocktail SxSW, Startup Weekend, Nordic Startup Awards, Maastricht Week of Entrepreneurship, StartupBus Europe, Monaco Media Forum, Deusto Business School University of Deusto & more.

He founds tech startups to solve problems, consult F100 enterprises on Corporate Entrepreneurship – Growth & Innovation, lectures on startup entrepreneurship at universities, keynotes entrepreneurial events globally and volunteers for the local Cologne startup ecosystem, organizing various groups and events.

He has lectured and taught at NEXT Cologne, BiTS Iserlohn, University of Cologne, Rheinische University of Applied Science Cologne, Knowmads Business University Amsterdam, Karlshochschule International University, NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management Hamburg, at creative agencies, TEDx and keynoted industry events & more.

In March 2014 he was invited to officially represent the state of NRW and Germany at SxSW in Austin, TX as an ambassador. He is also a GEAP scholarship recipient from the esteemed Deusto Business School in Bilbao, Spain and a winner of the Nordic Startup Awards 2012.

In 2013 he was named one of the top 5 must-know people in Germany by a leading technology publication and he was invited to Stanford to receive the Lean Launchpad Instructor certification by Steve Blank and to speak about the Cologne startup community to 100 international professors in entrepreneurship education. Today he teaches the experiential LLP entrepreneurship curriculum from Stanford and Berkeley to our European universities.

On arriving in Cologne, Germany in 2005, he headed the lead digital media agency to T-Mobile International / Deutsche Telekom for almost five years and was also responsible for the launch DMEXCO. For over nine years prior, he had worked with enterprises and GOs – the larges oil companies, publishers, energy providers and government – in Norway to solve their problems with software, creating many Internet industry-firsts.

 

In 2001 Mr. Andersen also co-founded the popular open source enterprise content management system Plone together with Alan Runyan and Alexander Limi. Users include NASA JPL, The CIA, The FBI, Lufthansa, eBay, Deutsche Telekom, The Government of Brazil, College University London, Yale University, Oxfam and many more.

 

In 1997, he founded his first company, blacktar.com, to help corporations solve problems with web technology.

 

Leo Exter

Connecting people for better entrepreneurs

Leo Exter - low

 

 Talk to your potential customers and next talk to more of them

Leo is an expert on creating business opportunities by bringing domains together. He is the founder at westartup – a community of over 3,500 first-time entrepreneurs, co-founders, mentors and investors. As partner in HealthStartup, he organizes acceleration events for startups in healthcare and HackForHealth hackathons designed to create brand-new startups.

Leo is the founder, chief indoctrination officer, business architect, all-around marketing guy, business developer, product manager, copywriter and occasional janitor at westartup – a community of first-time entrepreneurs, co-founders, mentors and investors.

He’s also partner in Healthstartup, organizer of a series of events in Europe that bring together web and mobile entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, policy makers and investors.  HealthStartup also tracks emerging trends in health-tech and builds an international network of healthcare experts and decision makers. Hack for Health brings together a group of enthusiastic software developers, healthcare professionals, designers and project managers for 2 days of intense collaboration on health-related challenges and datasets. It’s a very powerful, efficient and proven way to create innovative solutions to Flemish healthcare problems.

In addition to his work at westartup and HealthStartup, Leo is founder and co-organizer at Bizcamp Belgium.  He introduced Startup Weekend in Belgium, and co-organized four Startup Weekend events over the years.  He managed the Microsoft Innovation Center’s Boostcamp startup acceleration program and coached over 30 startups.  Last but not least, he created BetaInvest – a matchmaking service of BetaGroup that puts startups in direct contact with relevant investors.

Leo Exter holds an MBA in General Management from Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School (Belgium), and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Valdosta State University (USA).  He speaks fluent English and Russian, and has a working knowledge of French.

Leo’s career began at The Coca-Cola Company, where he acquired an in-depth knowledge of Consumer Research in a variety of roles in Moscow and Brussels.  As a Product Manager at Info2clear – a small company in the sunset years of the dot-com boom he was for the first time exposed to the mysteries of product creation, and took that knowledge with him to his job as the Marketing Manager Europe for Mio Technology. In that role, Leo has created a new brand of portable GPS devices in Europeand led it to the 3rd position in the highly competitive, dynamic market.  After Mio, Leo served as Managing Director at the Belgian branch of Trimedia, a Pan-European public relations consultancy. In this capacity Leo provided communications consultancy to clients as diverse as an oil company (LUKOIL), a media buying agency (Mediaedge), and a number of FMCG and Fashion clients.

 

Leo Exter – Westartup from Startups.be on Vimeo.

 

Doug2

 

Give before you get!

Doug Ward is co-founder of Tech Britain, a resource that aims to promote all of the United Kingdom’s tech clusters and foster greater links between them. He is also a technology advisor to No.10 Downing Street as part of the UK Technology and Business Cluster Summit Group created and headed up by Joanna Shields (CEO of Tech City Investment Organisation), UK Ambassador for Digital Industries and an advisor to the University of Manchester innovation centre. Doug is a serial startup entrepreneur, and worked from Melbourne to Manchester. He has been speaking at events like FutureEverything and TEDx. He’s been interviewed by the Financial Times, The Guardian and ITV. He’s co-founder of Techhub Manchester and a firm believer in startup communities.

 

 

Vidar Andersen

Ideas are worthless

photo_vidar

 

Go out there and meet the customer!

Vidar focuses on advising corporates and startups on improving entrepreneurial skills. He’s an certified Lean Launchpad trainer.

Mr. Andersen is a Norwegian entrepreneur and Internet industry veteran with over 18 years of professional experience working exclusively with F500 corporations and GOs, currently living in Cologne, Germany.

His work has been featured & recognized by The New York Times, The BBC, Business Insider, CNN, TechCrunch, Netzwertig, TechHustlers, TechCocktail, DViCE, BasicThinking, MLOVE, ZDF, UP Global, Global Week of Entrepreneurship, C’n’B, The European Pirate Summit, LeWeb Paris, London Web Summit, TechCocktail SxSW, Startup Weekend, Nordic Startup Awards, Maastricht Week of Entrepreneurship, StartupBus Europe, Monaco Media Forum, Deusto Business School University of Deusto & more.

He founds tech startups to solve problems, consult F100 enterprises on Corporate Entrepreneurship – Growth & Innovation, lectures on startup entrepreneurship at universities, keynotes entrepreneurial events globally and volunteers for the local Cologne startup ecosystem, organizing various groups and events.

He has lectured and taught at NEXT Cologne, BiTS Iserlohn, University of Cologne, Rheinische University of Applied Science Cologne, Knowmads Business University Amsterdam, Karlshochschule International University, NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management Hamburg, at creative agencies, TEDx and keynoted industry events & more.

In March 2014 he was invited to officially represent the state of NRW and Germany at SxSW in Austin, TX as an ambassador. He is also a GEAP scholarship recipient from the esteemed Deusto Business School in Bilbao, Spain and a winner of the Nordic Startup Awards 2012.

In 2013 he was named one of the top 5 must-know people in Germany by a leading technology publication and he was invited to Stanford to receive the Lean Launchpad Instructor certification by Steve Blank and to speak about the Cologne startup community to 100 international professors in entrepreneurship education. Today he teaches the experiential LLP entrepreneurship curriculum from Stanford and Berkeley to our European universities.

On arriving in Cologne, Germany in 2005, he headed the lead digital media agency to T-Mobile International / Deutsche Telekom for almost five years and was also responsible for the launch DMEXCO. For over nine years prior, he had worked with enterprises and GOs – the larges oil companies, publishers, energy providers and government – in Norway to solve their problems with software, creating many Internet industry-firsts.

In 2001 Mr. Andersen also co-founded the popular open source enterprise content management system Plone together with Alan Runyan and Alexander Limi. Users include NASA JPL, The CIA, The FBI, Lufthansa, eBay, Deutsche Telekom, The Government of Brazil, College University London, Yale University, Oxfam and many more.

In 1997, he founded his first company, blacktar.com, to help corporations solve problems with web technology.

 

Speakers

Doug Ward
(Serial entrepreneur, Techbritain and Techhub Manchester)

Doug1

Doug Ward is co-founder of Tech Britain, Techhub and a serial entrepreneur. He’s also an advisor to the UK government. Doug is well-known in the UK for his efforts to strengthen startups and technology business.

More about Doug



Leo Exter
(WeStartup and HackforHealth)

Leo Exter - low

Leo Exter is one of the main figures in the Brussels and Belgian startup scene. In the past he has done several startups. Now he supports them through his program Healthstartup and the startup support network WeStartup!

More about Leo



Vidar Andersen
(Lean Launchpad)

photo_vidar

Vidar Andersen is a Norwegian living and working in Cologne. He’s a renowned figure in the German and European startup scene. Vidar has done several startups in ICT. He’s very well connected, gives lectures and workshops.

More about Vidar

 

Courses

"No Business Plan Survives First Contact With A Customer"

Learn the key tools and steps to build a successful business (or at least reduce the risk of failure). We offer courses and workshops developed by Stanford and Berkeley, like Lean Launchpad, Customer Development, Pitching, Startup Marketing. The courses and workshops are developed for corporates, SMEs, startups and education.

All Courses

Learn Lean!

The highly experiential and evidence-based entrepreneurship curriculum developed by the father of Lean Startup, Steve Blank taught at Berkeley and Stanford and in corporations as a pre-incubation qualifier like Deutsche Telekom and organizations like The National Science Foundation. The Lean LaunchPad curriculum is available with a 1, 5 and 12 weeks syllabus depending on scope, depth and educational goals.

Find out more about the Methodology, Target Audience, Example Program and   Instructors  .


Seminars & workshops

 Lean Startup Crash Course

This seminar will give you an comprehensive understanding, also for non-entrepreneurs, of what the Lean Startup is and how to apply the methodologies in your life and work. It’s divided into theory and hands on practice. Complete with certificate of participation.

- What we now know – The Past vs The Status Quo

- What is Lean Startup and where does it come from and what does it all mean for you

- Learn to use the Customer Development Methodology, find product-market and problem-solution fit without programming a line of code or building a single prototype

- Master Business Model Generation instead of Business Plans

- What is a Minimum Viable Product, how to define and build it

- Innovation Accounting & Metrics, what to measure and how to measure it

- Applying the Lean Startup methodologies outside of the startup

 

Seminar Corporate Entrepreneurship

This seminar is aimed at decision makers and will give you an executive-level introduction to what the lean startup methodologies and the whole startup revolution mean to the corporate world, what we now know about the difference between a startup and a corporation; what works for both and what doesn’t – and how the game of growth and innovation has changed and how you can use this new knowledge for innovation and growth in your organization.

“Execution has beaten innovation out of the corporation.” – Steve Blank

In the last decade it has become clear that companies are facing continuous disruption from globalization, technology shifts, lower barriers to market, rapidly changing consumer tastes – you name it.

Business-as-usual management techniques focused on efficiency and execution no longer serve as a viable and credible response.

The old game of growth used to be about the market capitalization – owning the market. The new game of growth – of innovation – is about continuously creating new markets and owning their market caps – But corporations are still trained, organized, staffed and managed for the old game and they keep on doing the same things that do not work.

The continuous disruptive innovation that is needed in today’s market rarely emerges within large corporations. Instead, we see innovation thrive in smaller organizations like startups.

While large companies excel at executing and administrating existing business models, they have a poor track-record of finding and managing new business models. Why is this?

- Finding a viable business model is not a linear, analytical process that can be guided by a business plan or executed by standardized processes.

- Finding a viable business model requires iterative experimentation, talking to large numbers of potential customers, trying new things, taking risks, failing on a regular basis, continually making adjustments.

- Discovering a new business model is inherently risky, and is far more likely to fail than to succeed.

- Lack of direct responsibility and accountability (it’s always the other department’s fault or the strategy’s fault)

- The enterprise’s aversion to failure and lack of room for real experimentation sets it up for failing to truly innovate.

A new systematic approach is needed to enable large corporations to search for new and viable business models to create new markets.

We call this Corporate Entrepreneurship.

 

Targetted workshops 

We offer several workshops specially developed for corporate executives, consultants, agencies and startups. If you want a workshop that fits to your own needs, please contact us and we do a fully customized workshop.

 

Additional workshop

Lean Startup Crash Course (1 Day, adapted for corporate and organziational employees)

This seminar will give you an comprehensive understanding, also for non-entrepreneurs, of what the Lean Startup is and how to apply the methodologies in your life and work. It’s divided into theory and hands on practice. Complete with certificate of participation.

- What is Lean Startup and where does it come from and what does it all mean for you

- Learn to use the Customer Development Methodology, find product-market and problem-solution fit without programming a line of code or building a single prototype

- Master Business Model Generation instead of Business Plans

- What is a Minimum Viable Product, how to define and build it

- Innovation Accounting & Metrics, what to measure and how to measure it

- How to apply these methodologies inside an organization instead of a startup

 

Additional Workshop #2 (optional in-depth workshop, Pre Startup Days, 

This workshop will provide more in-depth practice of the theories introduced in workshop #1 based on the participants actual business ideas. Complete with certificate of participation.

- Customer Development

- Which customer segment to interview, how to select

- How to get the first actual 50 customer interviews

- How to define pass/fail criteria for my tests

- How to interview customers, the techniques

- How to evaluate and filter customer input

- How to track results using tools

- Business Model Generation

- What does my current business idea look like in a Business Model Canvas

- What other value propositions could I offer

- What other customer segments could I serve

- What other revenue sources could I add

- Which of the elements in my business model are facts, which are guesses

- What are the most critical assumptions, what needs to be correct for me to have a business

- What are my competitors and my unfair advantages

- How big is this market, is the size of this opportunity big enough for my organization

- How to track the business model iterations using tools

- Minimum Viable Product (MVP) & Innovation Accounting

- What are the differnt types of MVPs, landing page, concierge, smokescreen, wizard of oz, piecemeal

- What is the most critical assumption in my current business model

- What is the minimum can I build and release in one day start testing my most critical assumptions

- How to perform the test, multivariable A/B testing and cohort analysis

- What to test, defining KPIs for your tests

- How to measure how the MVP is performing, the tracking tools and dashboards

 

Workshop: Lean Startup for Agencies and Consultants 

- What are the lean methodologies and how can you use them in your business, how do you help your cusomers become more entrepreneurial and how can you use them to develop your own products minimizing cost and risk.

In this workshop you will to be brought up to speed about the lean methodologies and best practices, how you can use them in your company to save time and money (and headaches) and then getting hands-on, putting them into practice on either your company’s own existing product or business idea or one you will create during the workshop. It’s divided into two parts: Theory and practice – with lunch in between.

Because of the unique combination of Vidar Andersen’s extensive experience working for and with agencies for over 18 years and startups, Vidar has been approached by many of his colleagues in the industry asking him to explain what this whole new Lean Startup buzz is all about:

What do the Lean Startup methodologies mean for the business? How and what new services can you sell to new and existing customers? How do you structure projects, quotes and pricing in more lean and agile ways? How can you validate what to build – or not – without first actually building it, saving time and profitability?

And most agencies would like to add a product-based revenue source to their existing business model of exchanging hours for money. And a lot of agencies already have a bunch of truly great projects and ideas laying around on their desks – but they rarely ever have the time to get them started and off the ground because of either constraints in resources or hesitancy often due to the lack of experience in building and taking products to market that can survive on their own out there.

So how will the Lean Startup methodologies enable you to find and validate the next big product within your company using your existing talent and resources? How can you realize some of your product potential? How can you minimize cost and risk? He will help you find an answer to that question during this workshop.

 

Startup Days (2 days, additional program after workshops 1+2) 

In this workshop companies and organizations get to unleash their intrepraneurial potential; For twho whole days they get to be entrepreneurs, talk to customers, solve problems, build prototypes and change the world with the help of active mentorship of serial entrepreneurs. The program is based on the immensely successful Startup Weekend format and the corporate innovation program at Qualcomm. The goal of this program is to reinforce the core concepts and methodology for innovation and entrepreneurship in a risk-free environment outside of everyday work and inspire and to stimulate and encourage entrepreneurial thinking and actions back into the everyday work setting.

Day 1

9:00 Registration Starts, Coffee and mingle

10:00 Welcome & Keynote

11:00 Pitches of ideas start

12:00 Idea voting & Team building

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Get in to your rooms and start working!

Coaches available from 14:00. Open end.

 

Day 2

9:00 Opens, coffee

9:30am Call for help (if you need it)

10:30pm Mentor Booking & Call for needs and skills

12:00 Start prepping for presentations

13:00 Lunch

15:00 FINAL PRESENTATIONS

17:00 Judging & Awards Ceremony

17:30 Wrapup & Diplomas

 

Pitching Course 

The aim of this course is to heighten the quality of (startup) pitches by providing intensive training. Pitching is doing a short and convincing presentation for an audience of entrepreneurs, press and investors. All participants get a one hour intensive crash course on pitching and after a rapid-fire elevator pitching session, they get an additional four hours of individual pitch training. At the end of the individual training sessions there’s a competition where the participants/entrepreneurs present the pitch they’ve prepared to their fellows and an audience of entrepreneurs and investors.

 

Startup Marketing

How does the marketing of startups work? Many of them spend zero euro on marketing but get a lot of press anyway? How do clients find you without investing in advertisement? In this course we learn about the strategy and process of startup marketing including tools like social media, video, newsletter and blogs. We’ll get into bits of growhthacking, content marketing and into the tech blogs as well.

All Courses and workshops:

 Lean Startup Crash Course

 Seminar Corporate Entrepreneurship

 Additional Workshop 1

 Additional Workshop 2

 Workshop Lean Startup for agencies and consultants

 Startups Days

 Pitching

 Startup Marketing

About the Lean Launchpad educational program

About the Lean Launchpad educational program

For the last decade, we’ve been teaching students how to write business plans. They were useful: 1) they provided a comprehensive way to help students envision the issues, 2) were a pedagogically simple paradigm, and 3) were what venture capitalists required. Yet time and again we watched as few of those plans survived first contact with customers. It took us some time until we recognized that business plans suffered from a fatal flaw: they assumed startups were just smaller versions of large companies. We now know that they’re not.

Before the Lean Startup Method started to take hold, conventional wisdom stated that the first thing a founder must do is create a business plan–a static document that with a series of implicit hypotheses describes the size of an opportunity, the problem to be solved, and the solution that the new venture will provide. Typically it includes a five-year forecast for revenue, profits, and cash flow.

A business plan is essentially a research exercise written in isolation at a desk before an entrepreneur has even begun to build a product. The implicit assumption is that it’s possible to figure out most of the unknowns of a business in advance, before you raise money and actually execute the idea.

The problem with this process is that tends to build an increasingly false sense of certainty, in an environment that is fundamentally uncertain. In this conventional model, once an entrepreneur with a convincing business plan obtains money from investors, he or she feels compelled to execute the plan as presented. He or she embarks on developing the product. Developers invest thousands of man-hours to prepare it for launch with little, if any, customer input. Only after the product is built and launched does the product get substantial feedback from customers–when the sales force attempts to sell it. And too often, after months or even years of development, entrepreneurs learn the hard way that customers do not need or want most of the product’s features.

After decades of watching thousands of startups follow this standard regimen, we’ve now learned at least three things:

1. As business plans are full of untested assumptions, they rarely survive first contact with customers. As the boxer Mike Tyson once said about his opponents’ prefight strategies: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

2. No one, aside from venture capitalists and the former Soviet Union, requires five-year plans to forecast a series of unknowns. These plans are generally fiction, and conceiving them is almost always a waste of time.

3. Startups are not smaller versions of large companies. They do not unfold in accordance with master plans. Those that ultimately succeed go quickly from failure to failure, all the while adapting, testing new iterations, and improving their initial ideas as they continually learn from customers.

 

Existing companies execute a business model, startups search for one. This distinction is at the heart of the Lean Startup approach. It shapes the lean definition of a startup: a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. The emphasis on search for a business model versus execution of a plan is at the heart of the Lean LaunchPad curriculum.

When first starting a new venture, the business model is unknown.1 It is a set of untested hypotheses. Startup teams’ key task is to test hypotheses, searching to verify the business model components; e.g., Customer Segments, Value Proposition, product features, channels,

 

Process: Customer and agile development to Product Management

 

Yet as powerful as the Business Model Canvas (a template with the nine blocks of a business model) is, at the end of the day it is a tool for identifying hypotheses without a

formal way of testing them. The Lean LaunchPad approach extends this process, providing a set of tools for testing hypotheses and enhancing the venture through experimentation and iteration.

The processes used to organize and implement the search for the business model are Customer Development and agile development. A search for a business model can occur in any new business–in a brand-new startup or in a new division of an existing company.

The Customer development model breaks out all the customer-related activities of an early- stage company into four easy to understand steps. The first two steps outline the “search” for the business model. Steps three and four “execute” the business model that’s been developed, tested, and proven in steps one and two. The steps:

 

- Customer Discovery first captures the founders’ vision and turns it into a series of business model hypotheses. Then it develops a plan to test customer reactions to those hypotheses and turn them into facts.

- Customer Validation tests whether the resulting business model is repeatable and scalable. If not, the team returns to Customer Discovery.

- Customer Creation is the beginning of execution. It builds end-user demand and drives it into the sales channel to scale the business.

- Company-building transitions the organization from a startup to a company focused on executing a validated model.

 

In the “search” steps, teams want a process designed to be dynamic, so they will work with a rough business model description knowing it will change. The business model changes because startups use Customer development to run experiments to test the hypotheses that make up the model (first testing their understanding of the customer problem, and then solutions). Most of the time, these experiments fail. Search embraces failure as a natural part of the startup process. Unlike existing companies that fire executives when they fail to match a plan, the Lean Startup keeps the founders and changes the model.

The Lean Startup: Key Principles

First, rather than engaging in months of planning and research, entrepreneurs accept that all they have on day one is a series of untested hypotheses–basically, good guesses. The foundation of the Lean Startup is evidence-based entrepreneurship. Instead of creating an intricate business plan, founders summarize their hypotheses in a framework called a Business Model Canvas. Essentially, this is a diagram of how a company will create value for itself and its customers.

 

Second, Lean Startups use a “get out of the building” approach called Customer development to test their hypotheses and collect evidence about whether they are true or false. They go out and ask potential users, purchasers, and partners for feedback on all elements of the business model, including product features, pricing, distribution channels, and affordable customer acquisition strategies. The emphasis is on nimbleness and speed; new ventures rapidly assemble minimum viable products (MVPs) and immediately elicit customer feedback. Then, using customers’ input to revise their assumptions, Lean Startups start the cycle over again, testing redesigned offerings and making further small adjustments (iterations) or more substantive ones (pivots) to ideas that aren’t working.

Third, Lean Startups practice something called agile development, which originated in the software industry. Agile development works hand-in-hand with Customer development. Unlike typical year-long product development cycles that presuppose knowledge of customers’ problems and product needs, agile development eliminates wasted time and resources by developing the product iteratively and incrementally. It’s the process by which startups create the minimum viable products they test.

 

Lessons Learned

- The search for the business model is the front end of the Lean Startup process.

- This is true in the smallest startup or largest company.

- The goal is to find a repeatable/scalable business model, and then execute. Agile and Customer Development are the processes used to search and build the model.

- Searching for the business model comes before executing it.

- Execution requires operating plans and financial forecasts.

- Product management is the process for executing the model.

- Entrepreneurial education is developing its own management stack:

- Starting with how to design and search for a business model and adding all the other skills startups need.

- The case method is the antitheses of experiential teaching,which is the core of the Lean Startup teaching method.

 

 


 

Our philosophy is

GET OUT OF THE BUILDING!

Steve Blank

 

Events

Get together to connect

We organize several international events and programs for startups and entrepreneurs. Our philosophy is to create and stimulate a mentality of entrepreneurship in an environment that feels comfortable to share ideas and challenges.

 

Web, Wurst, Windmills and Waffles


We organize this event in Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. It’s an event for local startup communities

SUEPR!


The StartUp Europe Program is a two-day event where a startup community from one city visits another city’s startup community. A great with to learn and connect. 

Workshops


We organize workshops for education (see courses) and inspiration. We inspire and explain companies and cities in how startups and startups communities work. 

 

 

Check out the event calendar 

Event Calendar

 

 

Team

Meet our Startup Sprit team members

Rob Aalders

Rob Aalders

co-founder

On his mission for beter entrepreneurship in Europe, Rob started Web, Wurst, Windmills and Waffles, SUEPR! and The Startup Speaker. Supporting startups and spreading the word is what he loves to do!

Milan Vukas

Milan Vukas

co-founder

Milan Vukas is a startup coach and mentor. He has his owned business and worked at several international startup events.

Rob Aalders

Rob Aalders

co-founder

On his mission for beter entrepreneurship in Europe, Rob started Web, Wurst, Windmills and Waffles, SUEPR! and The Startup Speaker. Supporting startups and spreading the word is what he loves to do!

Milan Vukas

Milan Vukas

co-founder

Milan Vukas is a startup coach and mentor. He has his owned business and worked at several international startup events.

Get in touch with us!

Startup Spirit from Europe's Heart!