LAUNCH!

LAUNCH! IS AN 8-SESSION ENTREPRENEUR WORKSHOP SERIES DESIGNED TO INTRODUCE EARLY-STAGE AND ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS TO KEY TOPICS AND PRINCIPLES TO HELP BUILD, LAUNCH, AND SCALE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES. 

ROXBURY INNOVATION CENTER

LAUNCH!

LAUNCH! IS AN 8-SESSION ENTREPRENEUR WORKSHOP SERIES DESIGNED TO INTRODUCE EARLY-STAGE AND ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS TO KEY TOPICS AND PRINCIPLES TO HELP BUILD, LAUNCH, AND SCALE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES. THE 8-ESSION SERIES WILL SURVEY A HOST OF TOPICS FROM IDEATION TO LAUNCH. EACH WORKSHOP WILL BE TAUGHT BY SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS AND SUBJECT-MATTER EXPERTS EXPERIENCED IN BUILDING, LAUNCHING AND SCALING VENTURES. THIS NEW WORKSHOP-STYLE FORMAT IS DESIGNED TO HAVE PARTICIPANTS LEAVE WITH PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE THAT CAN BE IMMEDIATELY APPLIED TO THEIR VENTURES.

PROGRAM DATES

LAUNCH! is held in the Spring and Fall. The program runs for 8-sessions.

Tuesday’s | 9:30A-11:30A

Feb 25, Mar 10, Mar 17, Mar 31, Apr 7, Apr 14, Apr 28, May 5

LOCATION

The program is held at the Roxbury Innovation Center in Roxbury, Mass.  We also offer this program virtually via live stream.

 

topics

Ideation & Validation 
Product Design 
Customer Development 
Marketing 
Company & Team Formation 
Strategy & Finance 
Funding Options 
Pitching & Storytelling

PREREQUISITES

The only requirement and prerequisites is that you have an idea and/or a business that you can use as your case study throughout the duration of the workshop series. This program is open to current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

8-SESSION APPLICATION PROCESS

We accept 20 applicants to attend all 8-sessions free of charge.  Application is requried and selected business will be notified.  If accepted, you are required to attend all 8-week sessions.

Benefits of acceptance into our pre-accelerator Launch! Program includes: access to 8-experts to move your idea from ideation to launch, access to our LaunchedBY workspace, Certification of Completion of a Pre-Accelerator Program, access to use accelerator emblem for promotional/website, and access to compete for a guaranteed slot in our Pitch Night.

LIMITED SPACE. BY APPLICATION ONLY.

DROP-IN WORKSHOP SESSIONS (IN-PERSON AND VIRTUAL)

For those not accepted into the 8-session pre-accelerator or for those that are interested in attending certain topics of interest that resonate with your current needs, we invite you to register at a cost. These sessions have limited spots for drop-in in person and virtual.  First come, first serve. 

LIMITED SPACE. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE.

LAUNCH! SERIES OVERVIEW

 

WEEK 1: IDEATION, VALIDATION & BUSINESS MODEL DESIGN

Week 1: Tuesday, Feb 25th, 2020

Workshop Overview

Are you solving a problem that people care about? How do you identify problems worth solving? How do you determine if you are building a business that earns money or one that should be relegated to hobby status?

This workshop will explore the fundamentals of evaluating an idea to determine if you can build a viable business from the problem you are trying to solve. You will be introduced to several tools to help you “get out of your head” and build a product or service that customers will pay for.

Learning Objectives

  • How to identify problems that a business can solve.
  • How to test and validate that a problem has a viable business solution.
  • How to test and validate your solution hypothesis.
  • How to design a business model and test its components.

Instructor

Vinay Ganti is an experienced leader of teams at the intersection of technology, business operations, and strategy. He has worked in a variety of industries, including education, social entrepreneurship, and agriculture. Specialties: Early-stage/growth stage company advisory, online education, education technology, content strategy. He has a JD/MBA from New York University.

WEEK 2: PRODUCT DESIGN, TARGET MARKET, RESEARCH YOUR MARKET

Workshop 2: Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

Workshop Overview

Once you have early validation that your idea may have viability, how do you define your target market and target audiences? How do you decide which features your product/service should have? How do you prioritize the features of your product/service?
This workshop will help you research and define your target audience and create a basic user persona. You will be introduced to techniques to turn your customers’ observations into product features and how to prioritize the features for development.

Learning Objectives

  • How to research and define a target market.
  • How to create a user persona.
  • How to develop a product feature set.
  • How to test product features.
  • How to prioritize product features.

Instructor

Perry DeNicola is a Product Designer at Chewy.

WEEK 3: CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT & GROWTH HACKING

Workshop 3: Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

Workshop Overview

Having early and initial insight from potential customers is not enough to build and launch a successful business. Oftentimes, the “shiny new ideas” begin to distort insights collected from potential users. To avoid this common pitfall, you will need a disciplined approach to achieving product-market fit from idea to launch. You will then need to build the audience for your product or service, with little to no budget. How will you do that?

This workshop will help you understand the tools and techniques to engage your customers and continually validate your product/service evolution across its life-cycle. You will also learn how to grow your customer-base in quick, lean, and cost-effective ways

Learning Objectives

  • What is customer development and how it is used
  • What are the types of prototypes used across the product/ service life-cycle
  • What is growth hacking and what is the AAARRR framework
  • How to design and run basic experiments to convert prospective customers into paid customers

Instructor

James Kwon is the Founder & CEO, Lead Strategy & UI/UX at Figmints Digital Creative Marketing.  Through his work in branding & identity design, marketing strategy development, UI/UX implementation, and video production, he hopes to infinitely expand understanding of creative territory and transcend the boundaries of the normative world of design. 

WEEK 4: MARKETING, BRANDING & GO TO MARKET STRATEGY

Workshop 4: Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Workshop Overview

Consumers have many companies, organizations and institutions vying for their attention through brand marketing and product messaging. A strong brand is not only important to create a relationship with your customers but it’s important for attracting all your important stakeholders (team members, board members, investors, volunteers, etc.). How will you establish a unique place in the consumers’ mind and consistently break through the noise that your target audience is bombarded with every day? Once your brand has been created, how will you reach your target audience and where will you promote your product to reach them?

This workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of creating your brand identity and the basics of your go-to-marketing strategy.

Learning Objectives

  • What are the key elements of branding?
  • What tools and resources are available to help build your brand?
  • How best to use brand assets to build and scale your businesses.
  • What is a beachhead strategy?
  • How to design your channel strategy.
  • How to design a promotional strategy.

Instructor

Mark Dockser, is a senior marketing executive formerly with Luminopia, Keurig, and iRobot. He is a seasoned CEO/President/COO, Entrepreneur and Board Member, who synthesizes innovative technology, customer understanding, and the ability to motivate teams to achieve meaningful results. Expertise in starting up new consumer and industrial goods companies, developing and launching new consumer tech concepts and products in unstructured, high growth, investor-backed environments from inception to $50M. General manager with functional strengths in marketing, sales, product development, branding, and operations. Extensive experience developing global partnerships for business development and production in Europe, Asia. 

WEEK 5: COMPANY FORMATION: COMPANY STRUCTURE AND TEAM

Workshop 5: Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

Workshop Overview

How do you turn a product with traction into a company? When should you form a company? Which company structure is right for your business? How do you form a team when you are one motivated person working from your kitchen table?
This workshop will help you make critical decisions about selecting a company structure and building an early team that aligns with your mission and values.

Learning Objectives

  • What are the different company structures an entrepreneur has to choose from?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different corporate structures?
  • How to define your mission, vision, and values.
  • How to leverage your purpose as a competitive advantage.

Instructor

 

Jessica Manganello is a business attorney and Founder of New Leaf Legal, a flat fee firm that provides corporate and IP services to emerging and small businesses and artists. Her expertise is comprised of everything from designing corporate structuring to expansion and growth to developing an exit strategy. New Leaf Legal, a flat fee firm, provides corporate and IP services to emerging and small businesses and artists. Her passion lies in everything from helping businesses design their initial corporate structuring, through their expansion and growing pains, all the way to developing their exit strategies. Her work involves contract drafting of all kinds, with a focus on intellectual property and licensing. Her firm particularly enjoys working with socially/sustainably minded businesses using experimental new models and cementing new core values into the old tried and true models. 

WEEK 6: STRATEGY, FINANCIAL PLANNING & MANAGEMENT

Workshop 6: Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Workshop Overview

In order to launch and run your business successfully, you will need a good financial plan. How much funding will you need to launch and run the day-to-day operation? How many customers will you need to break-even, at what price point (s) and over what time horizon?
This workshop will introduce you to the fundamentals of creating a practical financial model and basic forecasts for your business.

Learning Objectives

  • How to build a financial model?
  • How to use financial modeling to help you make decisions for your business?
  • How to use a financial model to determine how much funding will you need to launch, scale?
  • How to calculate your true costs to build, scale launch hire?

Instructor

 

Scott A. McKenzie brings over 18 years of experience of working closely with venture-backed, emerging growth and sophisticated public and privately held companies in the software, life sciences, clean-tech, manufacturing and distribution industries. He provides tremendous value to these companies not only in the areas of audit, attestation, and tax but also operational guidance. Scott also works with entrepreneurs on forecast preparation, fundraising support, as an outsourced CFO and a general advisor. Scott currently at Partner with Silverman, Avila, & Gershaw, CPA’s.

WEEK 7: FUNDING OPTIONS

Workshop 7: Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

Workshop Overview

Starting a business from the ground up is one of the toughest challenges one can take on. One major hurdle is designing a financial plan to produce and launch your product/service into the market. There are a variety of funding mechanisms for startups but not all are well suited for every business. Which funding model is best suited for your venture?
This workshop will introduce you to different funding options for startups and how to decide the model best suited for your business.

Learning Objectives

  • What are the funding options for starting a company? (e.g. bootstrapping, grants, angel funding, loans, venture funding, etc).
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of funding options?
  • How to choose the best option for your business type and growth stage?

Instructor

 

Jesse Bardo is a vice president in Early Stage Practice for SVB in Boston, where he helps Boston’s early-stage founders build amazing businesses in one of the world’s best innovation ecosystem. To this end, he connects entrepreneurs with Boston’s accelerators, universities, and partners, as well as internal SVB staff, to help his clients scale. Every day, Jesse sits at the intersection between founders, who are dedicated to what they are building, and the bank’s global network and from this vantage point he gets to help companies and individuals grow.

WEEK 8: PITCHING & STORYTELLING

Workshop 8: Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Workshop Overview

What are you working on? It’s a common question heard at Venture Café and in many startup circles. If you are able to answer that question appropriately, it could lead to cofounders, team members, and partners, funders and lots of customers. Can you convey the essence of your business’ unique value without eyes glossing over? This workshop will teach you how to effectively explain what you do to key stakeholders.

Learning Objectives

  • How to build a narrative about your business?
  • How to effectively share a story about your company?
  • What are the types of pitches you will need to give?
  • How to present an effective pitch?

Instructor

 

Tara Atwood is a Serial Entrepreneur and currently the Senior Entrepreneur Program Manager at Venture Cafè Foundation.  She is the Founder of Tara Atwood Wellness (Mindfulness + Meditation) and co-founder of organic skincare and cosmetic brand, Amber Blue Skincare.  In addition, Tara has over a decade of experience working for Fortune 500 companies and startups, including 8-years at Time Warner and Time Warner Cable in New York City where she helped deliver business strategy and financial news to the media and financial community through strategic communication.  She has been a participant in start-up incubators, accelerators, hack-a-thons, and pitch events and is part of the team that organizes Pitch Competitions in Boston.  Tara works 1×1 with entrepreneurs to help tailor their pitch and prepare them for investor pitches and pitch competitions.  She has her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Entrepreneurship, Management, and Sustainability from Baruch College in New York City.   

Christian Appia is a Program Coordinator at Venture Café Foundation and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable Community Development with a focus in Urban Planning and a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning and Economic Development. Christian is part of the team that organizes Pitch Competitions in Boston and he works 1×1 with entrepreneurs to help tailor their pitch and prepare them for investor pitches and pitch competitions. 

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Sponsors

Thank You To Our Sponsors + Partners

Venture Cafè gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the sponsor and grant partnerships

that support the Roxbury Innovation Center programs.

FOUNDING SPONSORS

2019-2020 Gold Sponsors and Grantors

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