Unreasonable Lab North Texas

Dallas, TX // Sept. 12-16, 2016

Applications Closed // Check Back for Info on Future Labs

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.

Why Dallas?
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”.

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!

The Problem

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.

Daily Schedule

The curriculum of the Lab oscillates between in-classroom workshop time and in-market customer interaction time.

  • Connector.

    Day 1

    Starts with orientation and workshop on assumption mapping in the morning. The afternoon is spent interacting with target customers.

  • Connector.

    Day 2

    Starts with a workshop in the morning on how to rapidly prototype. In the afternoon entrepreneurs will physically build a prototype.

  • Connector.

    Day 3

    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.

  • Connector.

    Day 4

    Mentor Day! 10-15 mentors will attend the Lab to work directly with entrepreneurs.

  • Connector.

    Day 5

    Begins with a workshop on how to validate the cost assumptions in the business. Afternoon is spent on strategic planning.

Tangible Outcomes

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

Mentors

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.

[First Name]
[Last Name]

[TEXT ABOUT MENTOR]

[First Name
Last Name]

[TEXT ABOUT MENTOR]

[First Name
Last Name]

[TEXT ABOUT MENTOR]

[First Name
Last Name]

[TEXT ABOUT MENTOR]

[First Name
Last Name]

[TEXT ABOUT MENTOR]

FAQ’s & More About This Program

Application and Selection
Apply by scrolling up and clicking on the pink button at the top of this page. This is not the pink button in the upper right. Instead scroll up and look for the button that says “Applications Open // Apply Now” in the center of the header section.
Entrepreneurs who are eligible are:

  • Committed to social and environmental impact with their venture
  • Idea-to-early-stage in their venture’s development
  • For-profit
  • 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.
This Business Model Validation Lab is designed for idea-stage to very early-stage entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out:

  • 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
Entrepreneurs will complete the short online application (link above). Then the Unreasonable Lab Team will review all submitted applications and schedule 30-minute interviews with those who move on. After the interviews, 10-12 entrepreneurs will be offered a spot in the Lab.
This 5 day Lab costs $300 for solo teams and $500 for teams of two.

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!

Lab Details
If you are accepted to attend the Lab, we will ask that you attend the Lab in its entirety. The curriculum is cohesive and builds upon itself, meaning that if you miss a day, you will be at a significant disadvantage.
Each Day is different!

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.

Specific lodging is not provided, but can be arranged after your acceptance in the Lab.
You will only gain access to the network of mentors and entrepreneurs who attend this Lab… but we promise they will all be awesome!
Be a Supporter
If you are interested in being a mentor we would love to share a conversation with you.

Click here to email our team to discuss becoming a mentor.

We call the people who help us find venture Pipeline Partners. If you are interested in helping us find ventures we would love to share a conversation with you. Click here to email our team to discuss becoming a Pipeline Partner.
We would love to explore sponsorship opportunities with you. Click here to email our team to discuss sponsorship opportunities.
We would love to explore opportunities to get you involved! Click here to email our team and let us know how you could see yourself helping make this Lab happen!

Pipeline Partners

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.

Supporters

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
company.

Dolphin Blue
Certified B corporation offering the first and only online, all-green general store.

Our Team

Here is the team that is making this happen.

Justin Nygren
cofounded The Grove—the only social impact coworking community in North Texas.

Andrew Brown
launched a successful tech startup in Dallas as well as a water drilling social enterprise in East Africa.

Debra Swersky
develops systems and processes for tech startups & establishes entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa.

Tim Girgis
has worked with non-profits specializing in community & leadership development in the U.S. and Haiti.