Market Validation Updates
Now that the Top 10 finalists have been announced, they are in the BCC's Market Validation programme. Our Innovate tailored 10 week programme is a process of lowering the risk of a market accepting your product. The programme involves extensive customer engagement that allows startups to confidently make decisions about the direction their venture needs to take in order to become commercially successful.
Meeting weekly at the BCC, our Top 10 will engage with our experts, talk to potential customers and re-tool their ideas for their final "pitch" to our judges before our grand final winner is announced.
Last week the teams all had a "Catch-up Pitch" with the Judges. It was an opportunity to update the Judges on some of the progress they have been making, and a real chance to get feedback from the experienced entrepreneurs and business people on our panel. The judges told us afterwards that they were positively stoked with the giant leaps forward the groups had been making, and demanded additional time with the groups at the final judging session.
The groups themselves buckled down this week and made clear goals of what they want and need to have done before they next step in front of the judges.
Just a reminder - most of the groups are still looking to contact people in industry or potential customers. We sent out an newsletter asking for help, get in touch if you can! Thanks to those who have already answered the call.
After six weeks of grueling Market Validation through the BCC, the finalists in Innovate Manawatu 2012 are light years ahead of where they began. This week they have the opportunity to catch-up with the judges and impress them with progress-to-date
It is also another opportunity to hone their pitching skills as they will open with a five minute pitch on how far they have come since the start of the competition.
After the pitch, each group will have some time with the judges to talk through their challenges, and to receive some guidance on ways forward. Then it's back into Market Validation and the final sprint to the Awards Dinner and the end of the competition!
We'll be live tweeting during the pitching sessions so make sure you are following us on Twitter - @innovatemanawat
Our finalists have been busily working through The BCC's Market Validation Programme, and after weeks of straining their friend's and family's little black books, they now need to cast a wider net for relevant people to talk to.
The teams need your help to find and talk to their target customers. They've put together a description of who they are looking to talk to, if you know people who fit the descriptions (including yourself) please get in touch with them!
And if you have a competitive streak, there's also a magnificent prize up for grabs for the company who proves the 'most helpful' - a delivery of pizza and champagne from Innovate Manawatu's furriest friends! The gorillas have informed us that they do in fact enjoy a glass of bubbles so they might even stick around for one or two...
Week 4 of the Top 10's Market Validation programme was held on Tuesday night. With the finalists first catch up with the judges two weeks away, the key message was 'focus on traction'.
Traction is a measure of how much their market desires and enthuse about their product. Basically it's a measure of how quickly they are getting new customers and building relationships.
Traction is a key indicator for the BCC Market Validation programme, finding out how their customers will receive their product, and where they need to make changes. After an explanation of the continuum of traction, the finalists sharpened their focus and created goals for the next few weeks. Overall, the groups are taking great leaps forward week-by-week as they learn from customers and potential partners.
Revenge of the Cost Benefit Analysis
Last night was the third meeting of Market Validation for the Innovate Manawatu 2012 finalists. Everyone bounced enthusiastically in action despite the dreary weather. This week Warren led a conversation about potential channels and partners for the finalists' products. The teams also updated us on their progress. Everyone is still furiously hitting the phones and pavements, learning from their customers.
The group also worked through a friendly version of a cost/benefit analysis, aimed at helping them clarify their point of difference from their competition. This week, in addition to finding more customers, the teams are going to learn more about their channels to users. Should be an exciting week!
Last night the teams returned for the second evening of Market Validation hosted by the BCC. Over the last week they have been furiously engaging with their customers; calling, emailing and surveying. Several of the teams have begun changing the way they think about their customers and users, locking down customer segments that either have more pain or more pocket change to spend.
This week's focus was on refining the techniques for customer engagement. The group shared their methods for finding customers, along with a few tips and tricks from the BCC team. As the teams speak to customers, they gain an understanding our how their product needs to, and will, fit into the lives of their customers.
Over the last week the Top 10 have spoken to just under a hundred people!
Tuesday night marked the beginning of the Market Validation programme for the Top 10 contestants in Innovate Manawatu 2012. Experts from the BCC helped the contestants isolate their biggest risks and formulate experiments to test them on customers. The Top 10 will be busy this week learning how much their ideas are worth to actual customers potentially a brutal lesson! At their meeting next week, they'll debrief and begin to build the new information into a much more robust way forward.