No Whimper Here. LEP Cohort #2 Ends with a Bang

Our own John Gray's latest recap of our Lean Entrepreneur Program, check it below! This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper. - (The Hollow Men) T.S Eliot

With a mix of insatiable curiosity, imagination, and determination the entrepreneurial endeavour promises never to be boring. It also doesn’t guarantee success. In fact many startups end with barely a whimper. This wasn’t the story with the recent cohort of our Lean Entrepreneur Program. Cohort #2 of the LEP ended with a definitive bang.

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The final week started with DataHero founder Chris Neumann dropping in. Neumann’s a strong Launch Academy supporter, and squeezed time out of a family visit to share some of his entrepreneurial experiences. With the last class focusing on metrics, having a data-focused guy answer the many questions floating around the room was valuable. One never knows who will make a guest appearance on any given LEP evening.  It’s an added bonus that we bake into the program.

Teamwork is a key component of the program. Most startups are small teams. Five teams of three total strangers working through this experience together is a big part of turning a classroom into real life. Our final night of LEP had the spotlight focused brightly on the five teams. In fifteen minutes they each shared what was learned, where they are, and the future vision.

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In barely four weeks seeing how far they’d pushed ideas from a flicker, onto paper, and right out of the building is wondrous. There’s something powerful about customer discovery. It’s discovering that this is a process of real learning, not an exercise in pitch validation.

With Kate, Haig, and Rebecca from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, some of our past LEP participants, and a few interested extra guests joining us, “pitch night” was extra vibrant.

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While the night was about the teams, it’s important remembering that the purpose of this program isn’t about attempting to incubate five ideas into startups. The LEP is about helping to develop 15 better potential entrepreneurs.

Team #1 - TidyDojo (Alan, Ashley, and Jean) - was looking into the viability of a new productivity or communication application for the world of martial art dojos.

Team # 2 - Find My Bike (Mike, Jessica, and Matthew) are working to combine hardware with software and creating a device that messages your phone when your bike is being stolen.

Team #3  - An Interactive Story (Eileen, Bob, and Eubene) want young children to create digital interactive stories and then enjoy the sense of a physical connection coming in the form of a 3D-printed superhero.

Team #4 - One Place to Work Together (Dina, Raffi, and Anthony) wanted to see if there’s a market for a BaseCamp-like tool for small business.

Team #5 - Cotuto (Lee, Laba, and Jon) is creating a new marketplace to connect independent art and music teachers with students looking for more instructional options.

There was a small boatload of Ferrero Roche up for grabs. As sweet as that is, the team with the most votes from their peers, and the “judges”, (Ray, Alex, Rebecca, Haig, and myself) are earning the opportunity to join Launch Academy as full members for three months.

The vote was close, with Cotuto claiming 3rd, Find My Bike as runner-up, and team TidyDojo claiming the top spot. We’re looking forward to seeing more of Alan, Ashley and Jean working with us in the months to come.

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We were also fortunate having Gordon Goldsmith (Business Advisor Youth Mean Business & Self Employment - YMCA of Greater Vancouver) join us for the four weeks, observing, contributing, and getting a flavour of what we’re working to accomplish specifically with LEP, and Launch Academy in general. He generously shares -

"Launch Academy is an amazing place for startups. They have created an environment where people can learn from Launch Academy's experienced and talented team, as well as connect to fellow startups which is essential to growth. The Lean Entrepreneur Program is a must-attend for any tech business serious about success."  

Our next cohort starts soon. Don’t miss out! There are only a few tickets left. Get yours today - right here.

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A special note of thanks to Emily Carr for arranging the evening photography, and sharing all of these great shots!