Weekly Accelerator Updates

Week 3: Problem-Solution Fit

Important announcements

Workshop recordings & startup perks

We have processed the recordings of all of the bootcamp and workshop videos from the first 2 weeks. The recordings are in a Youtube Playlist that you can always access from the “View recordings” button of the Tufts Venture Accelerator 2022 Workshops Page. You can also scroll to the bottom of the Workshop page and find links to each workshop which in turn includes links to slides and recordings for any workshop with “Recording Available” in the title.

We also posted a speaker review form. From a survey technique standpoint, the 5-point scale is called a Likert Scale. For best practices: 1 is always bad, 3 is neutral, and 5 is good. Please rate how helpful you found each workshop you attended (and please only rate those that you attended live). Thank you!

Lastly, we want to make sure you are aware of our Startup Perks Airtable. This is a curated list of free and discounted services available to first time entrepreneurs (and in some cases, student entrepreneurs). This is also linked from the TVA2022 Landing Page. If you know of additional perks we should include, please let us know and we will be happy to add them to the list

Mentorship updates and pro-tips

For the Full-Time Cohort: Please check your email for your mentor introductions and follow up accordingly. For your convenience, we have updated the People page of the Accelerator Microsite to include biographies of your mentors. The ask is 1-3 meetings for each mentor to speak with the specific team they are matched with. Any additional engagement is up to you and your mentor.

For the Part-Time Cohort: While we are not able to extend team-specific mentor matching service to you, we have capacity within our year-round coaching and mentorship offering to meet with you as needed. We are also in the process of onboarding new coaches and mentors. See our Coaching Page for details.

For all teams: All DEC mentors are provided with mentor guidelines including a link to the official Tufts University Conflict of Interest policy. This ensures the educational nature of your interactions while you are taking part in a DEC-sponsored program and activity.

Whether or not you are interacting with a mentor we introduced you to, we recommend that you send your mentor a brief description of your company and 1-3 key topics you would like to discuss to make the most of your meetings.

Week 2 Recap: Market and Customer Deep Dive

Last week, we took a deep dive into the many ways we can build knowledge about your market and customer through Primary Market Research.

We discussed the rookie mistake that many entrepreneurs make: Doing solution research (i.e. getting feedback on your venture) before doing problem research (i.e. building a deep understanding of how your potential end users, economic buyers think and feel about the problem you are solving). To save time & money: Always do problem research before solution research.

We explored how research techniques are divided into qualitative and quantitative techniques. We took a deeper look at 6 techniques that are the most relevant to venture builders: Detailed interviews, observation/shadowing, immersion, card sorting, and landing page / Google Ad experiments. Feel free to review the slides or watch the workshop recording.

Lastly, we talked about stakeholder mapping. Here is a quick cheat sheet. You will need to talk to people from each stakeholder group.

  • Economic Buyer: The person who will make the “buy” decision (not the person who does the transaction, but the person who approves it – so it is almost never the purchasing department).
  • End User(s): The people who will use your solution (there are sometimes multiple types of end users, and the end users are sometimes not the same as the economic buyers)
  • Champion: The person(s) who strongly advocates for your solution to be adopted by the Economic Buyer and/or the End Users
  • Influencers: The people, media outlets and more, who the Economic Buyer and/or End User pay attention to when making an adoption or buying decision
  • Veto Powers: The people who can make the whole deal go away. For instance, the Chief Financial Officer could stop the VP Engineering from buying new computers to make the engineers more productive by refusing to release the budget.

Week 3 Focus: Problem-Solution Fit

This week you will be focusing on whether you have good Problem-Solution Fit. Does the problem you think you are solving logically and compellingly lead the user or economic buyer to the specific solution you are proposing?

The best way to check for problem-solution fit is to start from the problem statement and the customer The canvases we mentioned earlier are helpful – specifically, the Lean Canvas, Business Model Canvas, and the Mission Model Canvas. There is nowhere for inconsistencies to hide on any of these canvases. Absolutely take an hour this week to update your chosen canvas to make sure the problem and the solution do actually make sense.

A second helpful framework is Design Thinking, which ensures you start by building empathy with the end user. You can’t go wrong with this approach. Learn more in our in-person / hybrid Design Thinking Workshop.

Additional Resources

Here are additional resources that might help you get started:

Ecosystem Opportunities and Resources

Following are opportunities and resources from the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If you come across anything that is interesting to share, please let us know and we will add it to our next update. Thanks!

  • Cartier Women’s Initiative: Their regional and thematic awards recognize and fund talented impact entrepreneurs from around the world who are leveraging business as a force for good. Application closes June 30, 2022. Application Link Here.
  • VC Landscape update: BostInno posted an article where they interviewed Boston-area early stage VCs about the cool-down in VC activity. Read more.