It usually comes as no surprise to people when I say I'm passionate about entrepreneurs. I love any opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs, particularly those who are coming into our startup community for the first time. The first part of 2016 was a time of much self-discovery and introspection (backstory available here). A couple months ago, the different ideas in my mind started to settle into a single plan, and now I'm ready to jump back in.
An important part of the startup process is conducting experiments and taking risks. The next few months will be full of those, and this post is the first one. As I officially launch startup number seven, I've decided to share the raw, unfiltered story here.
Today, I'd like to introduce you to Startup Services. Most of the wrapping is still on the package, but I'm going to peel back the corner and share the idea behind it. After launching six startups myself, and working with countless others as clients, through mentorship, and with friends, I've seen too many great ideas and passionate founders stumble and fall. It's easy to say execution is the key, but that's not the same as having someone to go through the minefield with you. (Aaron Sorkin explained this much better than I can in this clip from The West Wing, or at least this is a good excuse to share an optimistic West Wing scene in these troubled times.)
At a high level, my goal with Startup Services is to help entrepreneurs move forward. We have several ideas about how to do this, and at this point the only way to know which ideas are good are to try them and see what works best.
The first of these is called Fast Month. There are two main versions of this program, one that focuses on a single new startup, and the other which focuses on a small cohort of four or five founders. It's the cohort model that we'll test in September. For four intense weeks, we'll do all the basic foundational things that every startup (tech or non-tech) needs these days. Most importantly, we'll build good internal processes for communication, lean methodologies, agile development, and marketing. The goal of the program is to take entrepreneurs (and aspiring entrepreneurs) from idea (or more) to a viable startup that can comfortably pitch their validated idea and traction to seed investors and accelerator programs.
I'm confident in every aspect about the program except how to structure the business model. Is this best as a service offering for a fee? An investor-driven incubator? Some combination of the two? Instead of trying to answer that question without data, we're going to run the program in September first, then ask the participants to decide the value afterwards. We'll see in October what kind of idea that turned out to be. :) If nothing else, it's going to be a lot of fun!
I'd also like to introduce you to my compatriot on this adventure, Callan Miller (@CallanRose8). Besides a million essential things she is doing to help launch Startup Services, she'll be taking the role of Program Director for Fast Month. Not only is she a tenacious and energetic entrepreneur, but she's also a highly accomplished classical musician - a field that takes even more work and perseverance than launching a startup!
I'm really excited about what's coming next. I hope you'll follow the journey!