Last weekend, I had the privilege of mentoring enthusiastic entrepreneurs at Exeter’s first start-up weekend – and it was awesome!
The event, which is affiliated with Google, was held in our building at the Innovation Centre on the University of Exeter campus. The event gives budding business-folk the opportunity to pitch their ideas, form a team and attempt to create a sustainable business in 54 hours. At the end, judges voted on the best project who go on to receive additional mentoring support from the events sponsors.
As a mentor, it was my job to float between the teams and dish out advice wherever possible. In case you don’t know, Web Wise actively promotes “The Lean Start-up Methodology” to our customers – it is fundamental in all that we do – and it was this ethos that myself and other coaches tried to guide the teams along.
A lean start-up aims to build a “minimum viable product” quickly, launch it, test it, validate it and then re-build it – continuously over and over until a sustainable business develops. When we’re building projects for our customers, we promote starting lean, gathering data and then re-investing (and this is one of the reasons our up-front pricing is often a lot less than our competitors!).
The event was great fun, and there were some fantastic ideas. It was great to see our assigned team win – who created a vocal analysis app that helps to identify a healthy voice and give tips for improving the quality of voice projection. Great work! In particular, we loved their lean approach: rather than building the app, founder Matt Pocock used his existing skills as a singing teacher to validate his market by recording volunteers voices and giving them feedback based on the recordings. By doing it this way, the team were able to launch their business online via a simple webpage with upload form – and forego the need to code the advanced app until they were certain they had a viable market. Brilliant!
I will definitely be hoping to coach again next year, so keep your eyes open and come along if you fancy a challenge. Good luck to Matt and his team!
– Dan Wiseman, Web Wise director.
About the author
Founder & director of Web Wise. He writes about web design, marketing, entrepreneurship, investing and games. Dan regularly speaks on these subjects and is available for coaching and consultancy.
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