2015 Edition of inRes: 2nd Workshop
The Customer Development and Goodness Factor
|l-r: Luís Lucas Pereira (Playsktech), Pedro Santa (Playsktech), Pedro Castro Henriques (Scraim), César Duarte (Scraim), Dave Mawhinney (CIE, CMU), Pedro Brandão da Silva (Sceelix), Frederico Carpinteiro (Adapttech), Francisco Rebello de Andrade (Sceelix)
Dave Mawhinney, codirector of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), was in Portugal to participate in the 2nd Workshop of the 2015 edition of inRes. Between July 14-15, 2015, the teams had the opportunity to listen to his lectures about customer development, the goodness factor, pricing and revenue models. Dave Mawhinney also had one-on-one meetings with the entrepreneurs to discuss each project. Rui Costa, CEO of Streambolico, one of the startups created in the scope of the CMU Portugal Program, was the invited speaker.
The innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at CMU is very lively and dynamic. The university is diversifying its activity in these areas, and more and more researchers, students and alumni are becoming serial entrepreneurs. The strong link with companies such as like Disney, Google, or Uber, strenghens the innovation ecosystem at CMU. "Since ever, Pittsburgh has been a city of entrepreneurs, from steel to science and technology," said Dave Mawhinney.
"Insane perseverance in the face of constant rejection," a statement by Jack Thorne, founder of the Tepper Entrepreneurship Program, is one of the best definitions of entrepreneurship according to Dave Mawhinney.
The numbers are cruel: approximately nine in ten startups fail. To increase the probability of being the one that succeeds, several questions need to be answered: Are you solving a real problem? Are people willing to pay to solve the problem your product/service idea addresses? What is the goodness factor? During his lecturers, Dave Mawhinney emphasized the importance of finding the product-market fit. “The teams should seek for big events to get the maximum feedback about
the problem they are trying to address. They should try to learn more about the market, the channels, and also the
trends,” said Dave Mawhinney.
Resilience and a strong team, with hard and soft skills, are the key
ingredients that characterize Streambolico, a spin-off from Instituto de
Telecomunicações and from Universidade do Porto. With a disruptive
technology that offers a comprehensive set of solutions to significantly
improve wireless communication in mobile devices, the Streambolico's
path has been very challenging. In 2012, Streambolico won the grand
prize award at the Concurso Nacional de Inovação BES 2012,
one of the most prestigious national competitions awarding innovation.
The company is currently at the UPTEC.
Rui Costa shared with the inRes 2015 teams several lessons he learned:
understand well the market where your product/service will be; make sure
that you have a strong team, because they will be crucial to overcome the different challenges your business will face; do not focus to much on solving the problems
related to one potential customer. Rui Costa also spoke about the importance of sharing a white paper on "how in-venue mobile video services can be used as a new advertisement channel. We have shown that this new marketing opportunity has a very high value proposition, enabling a fast ROI of WiFi deployments, with the added benefits of increased direct revenue from higher fan engagement."
The two-day workshop was full of activities: presentations by Dave Mawhinney and Alípio Torre, pitches from the teams, one-on-one meetings to prepare the immersion period in the US, and a networking dinner with Sérgio Costa, a researcher who recently won an award for his work on innovation and entrepreneurship.
The 3rd workshop will take place at INESC TEC, on July 28-29, 2015, with the participation of Tara Branstad, associate director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC) at CMU. The training in Portugal will be concluded between August 31 and September 1, with a workshop at Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN), in Coimbra. The teams will start the immersion in Pittsburgh, anchored at CMU, on September 21, and will be concluded in November, 2015.