Unreasonable Lab North Texas
Dallas, TX // Sept. 12-16, 2016
This North Texas Business Model Validation Lab is a 5-day accelerator for early/idea-stage 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.
Texas is about as unreasonable as it gets. You won’t find a lot of boots and horses here, but you will find a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. Dallas is overflowing with opportunity for startups and is well on its way to becoming the “Impact City“. Come join us!
Why The Grove?
With more than 100 companies committed to social good, The Grove is the first and only social impact coworking community in North Texas. We’re well connected with local mentors, funders, entrepreneurs, and universities and care deeply about providing entrepreneurial education and connecting the dots between the players in the local social impact community. Plus, we’re located in the heart of Dallas’ new “Innovation District”.
Apply to be an entrepreneur, become a mentor, be a sponsor, or help our Lab team find entrepreneurs. Read on to get involved!
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:
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 will actively involve a diverse set of mentors. These mentors will be custom-selected after selecting the Lab ventures to assure mentors meet their needs. Interested in mentoring? Email our team.
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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
- 18 years of age or older
Here’s a bit more on location:
- If I am an entrepreneur from somewhere adjacent to North Texas, can I apply for this Lab? If you are outside of North Texas, you can still apply if you can make a compelling case for why you wish to attend the Lab in North Texas.
- My venture’s headquarters are here in North Texas, but my operations are elsewhere? Can I apply? Sure! Be aware that the Business Model Validation Lab is designed for ventures to interact directly with their target market during the Lab. For example, during the Lab entrepreneurs will go and do “customer discovery” by interviewing people (in-person) in their target market. If you are unable to do this because your venture’s operations are elsewhere, we can work to creatively connect you to customers, but the Lab will possibly be less valuable to you. In any case, please feel free to reach out us if you have specific questions about this.
- 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
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
Scholarships are available on a limited basis. We 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!
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 our team 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 our team.
We’re looking for supporters to help make this Lab possible.
Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Email Andrew!
The Grove – Dallas
The only social impact coworking community in North Texas.
Christiansen & Rawls
DFW law firm committed to helping local businesses thrive.
Rebel Riot Printing
Dallas-based custom printed t-shirt & apparel
Certified B corporation offering the first and only online, all-green general store.
Here is the team that is making this happen.
cofounded The Grove—the only social impact coworking community in North Texas.
launched a successful tech startup in Dallas as well as a water drilling social enterprise in East Africa.
develops systems and processes for tech startups & establishes entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa.
has worked with non-profits specializing in community & leadership development in the U.S. and Haiti.