This course is designed to help founders who already have a clear idea about their venture and wish to rapidly move to obtaining paying customers and be prepared for funding (if desired).
There are two versions of the programme:
- A non-mentor based programme where founders will need to find their own advisory board to undertake reviews with them
- A mentor-based programme where Mashauri provide a mentor to act as that advisory board.
(You will be given the choice of programme when you enrol)
The programme has been designed around a classic startup accelerator process blended with critical learning elements.
You will be guided through a scientific venture development process developed using best-practice from the startup world. Most activities are template-driven to ensure you spend time in undertaking the key activities, not wasting time designing the process and Google-seeking appropriate tools.
At the same time as you go through the business development (marketing, product, finance, etc), you will be testing the key assumptions and refining your business model. Regular meetings with your mentor and/or advisory board will keep you and your team accountable while you receive ongoing objective inputs and advice
A two week cadence of testing, investigation, conclusions and review meetings will help you to keep focussed on the priorities and help you not to get distracted by the "shiny new things" of the startup world (like entrepreneur events and the latest build-your-own-chat-bot offer). The pressure may be intense but we know that time is the biggest enemy of new venture development and this drive is absolutely necessary.
You will cover a number of critical issues that are often missed by founders such as co-founder alignment, exit strategy considerations, personal finances and founder stress. Disagreements among co-founders are one of the biggest threats to new business development so it is better to be prepared to handle them.
The programme has been designed with technology-based products in mind. That does not mean it is not appropriate for other verticals, however it will need to be applied intelligently. For instance the two-weekly cadence may need to be extended under certain circumstances.
Please note: this programme is designed to give you the greatest chances of success through using a scientific, proven process. However, there can be no guarantee of success as the failure rates of new ventures is high for a multitude of reasons. This programme is aimed at de-risking the probability of failure; but no programme can ever eliminate it.
Professor Simon Gifford is an industry professional who has assisted multinationals and public sector organisations around the world in his role as a strategy consultant. Clients have included the likes of Barclays, Arcelor, Kimberley Clark and American Express to name a few.
He is also an entrepreneur who has launched a number of businesses, the latest venture being that of Mashauri which is an online education platform used by universities to provide their students with experiential entrepreneurial education. His current role there is Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he also sits on the advisory board as a mentor to various startups and scale-ups.
He is an adjunct professor at IE Business School and other institutions where he lectures on entrepreneurship, strategy, M&A and decision making.