Accelerator - Startup Weekend Style Assignments, Prototype Day
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It is hard to imagine that we have already passed the one month point! After five full weeks at AcceleratorHK, most of cohort 2 is starting to move past customer interviews and into serious MVPs. Paul and I keep reminding the teams that they are still testing assumptions with the MVPs and not building “beta” releases for “feedback.” (The classic mistake that leads down the road to tradition product development.)
On Friday we had our first “Prototype Day” or when the teams make their Demo Day presentations to a group of mentors and have live Q&A on their business model. This is different from each of the Friday check-ins that we do when the teams may present on what they have done the prior week or practice their investor or potential customer pitch that they may be doing that week. While Demo Day is a full two months away, we want to get everyone started and get feedback on their business from more folks than just the cohort and Paul and myself. During the course of the program we have two Prototype Days, usually around the end of the first month and at the end of the second month. (Prototype Day #2 is July 26th.)
We had four rock star mentors show up:
- Felix Lam: angel investor at Red Chapel Advisors
- Marcel Ekkel: co-founder at SynergySynQ Ltd. and Startup Weekend Hong Kong organizer
- William Liang: co-founder at Grabbit and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Poly U
- Allison Baum: founder/director of HK’s General Assembly location
The six teams made their presentations and the mentors gave them tons of feedback. The mentors really challenged the teams to think through their models and underlying value prop. The most surprising thing to the teams was that they had the “curse of knowledge” since sometimes the mentors had no idea what the team’s value proposition was all about. Some mentors even provided feedback on the team’s logos. It was great for Paul and myself to take a week off from providing all the constructive criticism.
The teams soaked up the feedback and after a few hours of presentations and Q&A, most of us went to the local Japanese place for lunch.
After Prototype Day, we had a scheduled rooftop party, however, it had to be postponed due to rain. Instead Team Portugal and I went to a MVP dinner and got to play with an “Appcessory” or rather a device that turns your iPhone into a pinball machine.
We have a big week coming up, two mentor visits, the last public class for the “Early Venture Survival Series”, and of course all the regular 1:1s and check-ins! Stay tuned…