Blog the startup collaborative

TSC fellow Collin Ward loves building things that bring people together. With his concept, Postworld, Collin aims to create a unique platform to help people share and discover their cities — to create local connections. When he dug into his LEVEL 3 // Messaging work session, it became a challenge to define and outline what it really means to “connect” with a city. Connection can mean different things to different people. Does a large network of friends make a person feel connected? Familiarity? Participation in local events? Is feeling comfortable in your community a sign of connectedness?

This stage in the fellowship is often a bumpy ride as you begin to make initial assumptions about customers’ pains and gains. It can be difficult break down all your feedback.

You’ve talked to potential customers, gained insight, validated your problem statement and now need to nail down messaging that properly paints a picture of the unique value of your solution.

Collin learned so much through his time surveying and interviewing his customer segments in LEVEL 2. After identifying connected themes, honing in on the strongest sentiments, and using the language of his customers, he arrived at a solid messaging set that will push him well into solution validation. Collin is connected in good company with more than 30 other TSC fellows currently navigating the twists, turns, and breakthroughs of the Discovery Phase! Are you ready to join? Apply today. Persisting Through MVP // HerHeadquarters

Carina Glover is a go getter, which is why she flew through LEVEL 1 and LEVEL 2 outcomes. Her true tenacity showed when she arrived in LEVEL 3 // Messaging, and her large collection of completed Solution Validation Surveys mysteriously vanished into the internet abyss. Determined, she recovered in record time and arrived at her LEVEL 4 // MVP module with some unsolicited wireframe drafts already drawn up. “I just can’t sit still!” she said. Carina also arrived at her LEVEL 4 work session with a new business partner: a UX designer, Bianca, whom Carina connected with via Girls Who Code. Discussion began with critical analysis of her Unique Value Proposition which guided the rest of the session. Early wireframes should only focus on interfaces that map back to what makes your product truly special.

The duo is going places with their concept, HerHeadquarters. The revelations made during the work session are proof. Now the team will begin designing wireframes and getting them in front of potential customers. LEVEL 4 // MVP is one of the most important and strenuous modules in the fellowship, so it’s a good thing this fierce founder loves a good challenge. HomeFree // Team Effort Drives Customer Discovery

Shane, Chad, and Alex make up a motivated trio from different professional backgrounds, working to simplify the home maintenance process to benefit home owners and create an influx of recurring work for contractors. Multi-person teams often encounter indecision, divides, and distrust, but these guys have used their collective knowledge to push quickly and carefully through LEVEL 2 // Lean Canvas + Lean Methods in the first couple weeks with TSC.

Their deep desire for additional insight is evident in their LEVEL 2 discussions regarding survey logistics and data tracking: ideas include creating unique trackable links, A/B testing with subject lines, dividing results by neighborhood – lots of great, optional strategies to retrieve more information about their customer segments. Interesting data points gathered at this stage will help buy down risk, reveal insights about customer engagement, and guide their work through LEVEL 3 // Messaging.

While B2C survey results have stalled (which is common), their B2B Problem Validation Surveys are being sent off to a hearty list of service providers. The HomeFree team is making steady moves to drive a second-round push of B2C survey feedback, and complete their customer discovery interviews. We’re eager to check out what is sure to be a discovery mother lode. Founder Basics // Always On the Prowl for Problems

The problem has always existed: the inability to confidently plan, manage, and allocate finances in order to lead the life you imagined. But these days, the mental toll of this burden is next-level, as this team’s research shows. Fellows Terry and Courtney spy an opportunity to implement artificial intelligence (AI) to create automated financial roadmaps and optimized guidance to help lessen the stress of finances.

While continuing to manage their cybersecurity, AI, and business operations consulting firm, they completed their initial Lean Canvas, generated robust lists of B2C customers and B2B customers, created and sent out problem validation surveys, gathered validation, and moved into our TSC headquarters as residents — all in two weeks. Let’s just say, there’s no slowing them down.

The team’s broad survey feedback confirms that both consumers and business leaders are valuable customer segments. After working through their LEVEL 3 // Messaging module, the team continues to gather feedback and make tweaks to perfect their product language before pushing on to LEVEL 4 // MVP, where they’ll create wireframes of the financial planner. We’re excited to see this determined couple use their AI and FinTech knowledge and help individuals live their best lives today, tomorrow, and well into retirement.