The Deccan Centre for Innovation & Design (DCID) Business Model Validation Lab is a 5-day accelerator for early/idea-stage, India-based entrepreneurs that are tackling social and environmental problems. It is designed to help these entrepreneurs rapidly identify and validate the foundational assumptions of their business.
Bangalore is entrepreneurial, innovative—and unreasonable. And DCID is the best platform, owing to the cross-spectrum entrepreneurial support community that we are able to tap into here. From mentors, to funders, to corporations, to R&D labs, to government, to institutes, Bangalore is the perfect home for us. With DCID’s impact startups incubator, we want to directly support ventures based in and impacting India and help them tap into this rich ecosystem of support.
Get Involved: Apply to be an entrepreneur, become a mentor, be a sponsor, or help our Lab team find entrepreneurs. Read on to get involved!
DCID Founder-Director Ravikiran Annaswamy with young entrepreneurs at Startup Village, Kochi.
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The early stages of a startup are marked with questions. Who is my customer? What problems do they have? Do I have a solution to their problems? What are they willing to pay? Will I be able to break even? An entrepreneur’s ability to quickly convert these questions into answers is one of the few characteristics that separates successful startups from failed ones. The problem is that few entrepreneurs know the rapid and systematic approach required to answer these questions. They go too slow, they focus on the wrong things in the wrong order, and they move forward without truly validating a business model.
The Lab & Curriculum
The Business Model Validation Lab is designed to do one thing: provide entrepreneurs with a step-by-step methodology to rapidly and systematically validate their venture’s business model. Entrepreneurs will:
- Benefit from the combined experience of Unreasonable and DCID in innovation, design and business success.
- Access the extended mentor network of Unreasonable and DCID combined.
Identify the foundational assumptions that underpin your venture.
Design and run experiments to validate / invalidate the foundational assumptions (through customer discovery and rapid prototyping)
Meet with mentors to get feedback and develop next steps.
The curriculum of the Lab oscillates between in-classroom workshop time and in-market customer interaction time.
Starts with orientation and workshop on assumption mapping in the morning. The afternoon is spent interacting with target customers.
Starts with a workshop in the morning on how to rapidly prototype. In the afternoon entrepreneurs will physically build a prototype.
Starts with a workshop on how to build powerful, long-term relationships with mentors, funders, and partners. Entrepreneurs prepare for Mentor Day in the afternoon.
Mentor Day! 10-15 mentors will attend the Lab to work directly with entrepreneurs.
Begins with a workshop on how to validate the cost assumptions in the business. Afternoon is spent on strategic planning.
By the end of Lab entrepreneurs will have something to show for their work. They will have:
- Learned a repeatable methodology for how to do customer discovery
- Built 2-3 prototypes of a key element of their venture
- Tested prototypes with real customers
- Learned how to build and maintain mentor relationships
- Met and received feedback from 10-12 world-class mentors
- Conducted a break-even analysis of their business and identified the key cost and financial assumptions of their business
- Built out a basic budget and financial model
- Created a 6-month operating plan
This Lab actively involves a diverse set of mentors, as you can see below. More mentors will be custom-selected after selecting the Lab ventures to assure mentors meet their needs. Interested in mentoring? Email Ravi or Arvind.
Meera Shenoy is a nationally and internationally known and acclaimed social visionary who has helped bring thousands of persons with disability into the mainstream workforce.
Ravi works with young entrepreneurs helping them to get started and achieve market success with focus on impact innovations.
Jacob is a pioneering designer and social entrepreneur who has launched several successful design-driven ventures, and continues to do so.
Arvind has been involved in several startups, including an environmental NGO, a strategic design consultancy and a design business incubator.
Naveen is a Corporate Innovation Coach and an Innovation Evangelist. He is a Co-founder and Director of Values Centered Innovation Enablement Services, Compassites Software Solutions & Director of Founder Institute, Bangalore.
Aakash Sethi is the Executive Director of the QUEST Alliance, a multi-stakeholder partnership that works to promote innovative and effective uses of ICTs in education..
Raghavan Suresh, Director of Public Affairs Centre is a rural development expert, with specialist experience in programme design, strategic planning, institutional development, training, facilitation, research, policy development, project planning & management and field support.
Anoop is a startup entrepreneur and consultant with a decade’s experience in various aspects of Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Technology Analysis, and Intellectual Property Rights.
FAQ’s & More About This Program
Application and Selection
- Committed to social and environmental impact with their venture
- Idea-to-early-stage in their venture’s development
- Based in India or South Asian countries
- For-profit or non-profit
- 18 years of age or older
- Who their target customer is
- What, exactly, is the problem their target customer has
- What their product/service offering looks like (they haven’t built a prototype yet or have just begun building prototypes) and if it meets the needs of the target customer
- Who are in the cusp of making a pivot after initial market feedback
Entrepreneurs are too late if:
- They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) who their customer is
- They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) what problem their customer has
- They know (with a very high level of confidence and specificity) that their solution solves their customer’s problem
- They have a product/service that is in mainstream production
- They have substantial sales
The Lab Team will work with any entrepreneur who is accepted to attend the Lab but unable to pay. Do not let the cost prohibit you from applying for the Lab!
The Lab will feature both time in the classroom (learning principles of how to validate your business model) and time in market with your customers where you will be interviewing them and having them interact with your prototypes. There will also be one entire day dedicated to working with mentors. Throughout the course of the Lab, you will have plenty of time to work and rest. Taking time to digest the material is an important piece of acceleration!
Day 1: Day 1 starts with a brief orientation and workshop in the morning, followed by an afternoon interacting with target customers.
Day 2: Day 2 starts with a workshop in the morning on how to rapidly prototype. In the afternoon, entrepreneurs will physically build a prototype and then go out again to meet with target customers.
Day 3: Day 3 starts with more time interacting with target customers before having an afternoon workshop on how to build powerful relationships with mentors, funders, and partners.
Day 4: Day 4 is a mentor day when 10-15 mentors will attend the Lab to work directly with entrepreneurs.
Day 5: Day 5 begins with a workshop in the morning on how to validate the cost assumptions in each venture before spending the afternoon working on strategic planning. Then the Lab concludes.
Be a Supporter
Click here to email Arvind to discuss becoming a mentor.
Pipeline Partners are organizations that help us find the entrepreneurs. Like us, they support entrepreneurs doing good in the world. If you want to become a Pipeline Partner for this Lab, please Email Arvind.
Here is the team that made this happen.