This is a team, multi-part deliverable. You should start looking at this at the start of the Term Project part of the course so you know what you are working towards. Don’t be scared by all the words below, I am just trying to be clear and detailed. Questions are welcome!
Remember, 9 out of 10 startups fail. It is not expected that each project yields something that merits investment. The important things are the journey, the process, and what you learned that will help you be a better entrepreneur.
Final Presentation Day (“Friendly Shark Tank”)
On Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. we will have final presentations. Several industry and/or venture experts will be invited to listen to each team do their presentations, ask questions, and have one on one conversations while we munch on snacks and drink delicious beverages.
The Judges will ask to review the projects as if they were looking for angel funding. Their review will be based on the formal presentation. But your grade will be based on that plus the the additional deliverables described below.
Check out some photos from previous Presentation Days!
What Judges will be looking for
NB It is crucial that the reader/listerner clearly understand what your product is trying to do and for who. More than once I've seen the audience puzzled about the basic question: what is this product and what does it do? Don't let that happen to you! Test it with friends and family!
My instructions to them will be something like this:
- Students have been studying Lean Startup for 3 months
- They have worked in teams of about 4 on a product of their own devising
- They are given 8 minutes to present their business
- It is likely that they have pivoted at least once during the semester
- They have written a far more detailed report (but that you won’t be looking at)
- Please look for the following:
- Can you really understand what they are proposing?
- Have they done a credible job backing up their story with ‘outside’ data?
- Are they persuasive in their presentation?
- Consider the proposed pricing, growth assumptions, and market segments
- Would you give this team seed money to develop the ideas further?
Due on the last day of class, at 11:55pm
An 8 minute presentation. Will be delivered by all the students on a team (although they don’t all have to speak or speak the same number of minutes.) The presentation needs to be rehearsed and fit to the time constraint. Questions will be held to the end, and will go for up to 8 minutes. You can think of the audience as angel investors.
Slides for the presentation. These should be submitted for grading as a pdf. (Note that slides may be resubmitted up until the day before Showcase day.)
Final Report for your project, with additional information (max 15 pages.) You can assume that whoever reads it also has the presentation slides. The report should be of an academic high quality (in terms of writing, formatting, grammar, spelling and so on.) You may think of the audience for this piece to also be angel investors. You should submit it for grading as a pdf. See Term Project Final Report
A “portfolio” static web site, consisely reporting on the project, the process and the results. Here are some suggestions for the Portfolio Web Site. This is part of your portfolio which we will add to a Cosi Projects web site and you can use for letting other people learn about your project.
A text file describing the project, following these instructions: Brandeis Projects Description File. This will create the entry for your project in BrandeisProjects
Showcase Day Presentations
- The showcase will be held in a slightly larger classroom (not yet assigned)
- The audience will be your classmates and anyone else you want to invite
- You should wear “business casual”, no ties or dresses required.
- Whatever you feel comfortable with.
- There will be a panel of Judges to listen and comment on the presentations
- I will determine the order at the last minute
- The Judges will give their feedback and rank the products
- But, your grade will be based on much more than that.
Slides and/or demo
- Given the time you should probably not have more than 10 slides
- Think of the slides as a story. Make sure there’s a logical flow to them.
- Make sure there’s a clear beginning slide and a clear final slide.
- As each product is quite different, there’s no single recommended outline
- Don’t have too many words on the slides. Don’t read the slides.
- Visual images - diagrams, screenshots etc. are great
- Weave in your empirical (out of the building) quant or qual info whereever possible
- Below are a set of possible topics to give you inspiration. Pick and chose.
Each final report is different because each product is different. In some cases the vision is very simple to explain, but the business model is complicated and takes several paragraphs. In other situations, the only way to explain things is with a diagram or with reference to outside research. Sometimes a working prototype is the most compelling.
Below is general guide to the kinds of information that might appear in your report. It is deliberate that there is not a specific required outline. We want you to discuss and debate with your team what makes the most sense for your project and then divide up the work among your team members
- Product or codename. Team members names and emails
- Tweet Length summary of the product
- Product, Service or other description. Very important that the listener understand what you are proposing. Many teams miss this. If the listener is vague or confused about what it is, they will be distracted for the rest of the presentation.
- Problem, or Opportunity, or How the world today sucks. A strong problem statement. What can be improved? What is the pain you are alleviating or pleasure you can deliver? Make sure it’s credible and serious enough that someone would actually pay for it.
- How does it work, what is the underlying magic, are there any interesting technology elements, what is non-obvious? The less text and the more diagrams, schematics or flowcharts, the better. If you have a prototype or demo to show that would be excellent as well.
- Sometimes it is useful to include an Elevator Pitch) for your product
- Key hypotheses, and whether they were proven or not. What type of hypothesis? (customer, problem, etc.) Any leap of faith? Which ones did you validate and which ones failed? By what evidence? Key experiments. Design and results of “out of the building ‘experiments”” to test hypotheses with multiple proven or disproven. It might be useful to list the key MVPs used. What tools and techniques did you use, what were the results? Which ones would you still like to validate? What dead ends did you pursue?
- A summary of the closest competitors. What might be your response to them? Why are you worried or not worried about them? * What similar products exist that would be competitors to your product? Can you analyze competitors using a feature grid? Does their existance support or refute your product ideas, how are you different or differentiated from them?
- Value Proposition in more detail. For specific segments what are the pain points? What is the value to the customer of alleviating that pain or providing that pleasure?
- What is the business model, what kind of pricing have you tested, are there any analogies with existing products or services you can use to justify, have you created a simple financial model to forecast growth?
- Who are your target customers or users and how might you reach them? Where do they congregate? What evidence do you have that they want and will use and will have benefit from what you are proposing?
- A visual mockup or good paper prototype to use in further experiments and as input to the design. It should include all the important screens and give the reader a sense of the product.
- Any web site, diagram, sketch, photograph, diagram or flow chart that would illustrate the product and the research. A diagram showing the flow of screen to screen in the user interface and explanation thereof.
- How confident are you in this product, how excited are you, what is needed next, what is the team’s recommendation, is there a pivot that you know you need, are you ready for seed funding, are you planning to apply for Spark?
- Strategy going forward: Immediate next steps; identified risks and ways of addressing them; reasons to believe this will be a fundable product going although further pivots will be needed
How to write an excellent report
Based on my experience in previous years, here are some general tips that will allow your report to stand out.
- Give consideration to visual appearance of the report, it should look professional.
- It should have a logical flow of an argument with an introduction and a conclusion. It should be readable as a stand alone document without reference to your presentation or previous homeworks in class.
- Try to have as much substance as you can based on outside research, meetings, references etc. Don’t be satisfied with just a few datapoints. Show that you’ve ‘done your homework’
- Your work is evaluated not just on whether you follow the steps or the format but based on whether you are being realistic and intellectually honest about your proposal. Would you actually pitch this to an Angel?
- Edit, edit, edit! Don’t include all your raw data (you have too much.) Include information that is meaningul to the case you are making and provide context and analysis so the significance of the information is understood.
- Report should be submitted as a pdf
- Length should be between up to 15 pages, including a title page. You may add supplemental information as an appendix, but the main part should stand on its own.