Just like that, and the 1st Annual J-Term Startup Sprint is over.
During J-Term 2018, when most students basked in the joys of sleeping in, 31 co-founders—consisting of 61% female members and making up 13 teams of early-stage startups—met at 8:30am every morning to go from an idea to a viable startup in only 10 days. After a much-needed cup of coffee (or three), the teams enthusiastically jumped into action. Going from defining their initial target customer segment and value proposition, to Venture Capital and startup law fundamentals, the teams explored a breadth of topics related to building their startups.
Here are some fun facts from the program:
10 days of rigorous learning
659+ customer interviews
120+ office hour sessions with Blackstone and Institute coaches
3 “Founders Unplugged” AMAs
6 expert guest workshops
100s of hypotheses invalidated
500+ cups of coffee consumed
The culmination of hard work was on display during each team’s final presentation. Encapsulated into 12 minutes each, every team expressed numerous pivots in nearly every aspect of their startup, from how they see their customer needs, to fundamentally shifting or debunking major assumptions of their business models. Most teams made assumptions about their initial target customers that were proven wrong. Others shifted their product and/or business model entirely.
One of the biggest lessons learned is that you are never done with customer discovery! “I am now more aware that I need to learn a lot more about the industry and about our customer. I'm happy that I finally learned the concept of customer discovery,” reflected Muddassar Sharif from the team MLTrons. The transformations arising from customer discovery—and therefore insights into and empathy for customer stories—were so impactful that by the end of the program, every team reported a desire to always conduct customer discovery.
Prior to starting to the program, teams often didn’t give much thought to their startups’ competitive landscape. Ten days later, many reported huge lessons from simply researching and in many cases interviewing their competitors to learn more about what’s already happening in the industry.
It was clear that the teams’ tireless efforts paid off as many of them reported experiencing profound shifts for their startups. Daniella Blanco from Sunthetics felt the program was “amazing.” “[J-Sprint] was truly game changing. It was very intense, a lot of work, but I am glad because it maximized what we were able to learn.”
Rachel Konowitz from MotiVote reflected, “I really valued having dedicated time to spend on my startup and I think how much I enjoyed these two weeks really reaffirmed that I want to be working on this startup.”
Our hats off to these dedicated co-founders and their tremendous efforts! The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute hopes to continue to be a resource for them to build their startups.
Are you interested in entrepreneurship? Do you have a startup idea but don’t know where to start? Sign up for one of our many workshops and classes or book an appointment for 1:1 coaching from a startup expert!