Past Meetup

WNY Lean Startup - 2012 October - Customer Discovery Presentations

This Meetup is past

10 people went


October Theme: Customer Discovery

7:00 pm

Pizza & Pop (sponsored by Directed Energy - )

Welcome new members, introductions, each member is asked for a 60 second overview of what progress they have made in their startup / learning, and what they need help with, for discussion later.

7:15 pm

Presentation #1:

Startup Phase(s): Customer Discovery

Topic: Build-Measure-Learn cycle

Learn about the Build-Measure-Learn cycle of customer discovery from the experiences of Chris Castleman of Lake Effect Labs and his team’s minimum viable product (MVP) named CakeFace – a smartphone app for wedding guests to be fun photographers to help the happy couple collect memories of their special day.

Chris will discuss everything from problem / need discovery, idea for solution, building a MVP for testing, and doing customer discovery during a bridal show to validate their hypothesis. Chris will also want feedback from experienced members on best practices for his next stage after validating customer discovery. You can learn more about his mvp app at and download his free app for your feedback.

7:45 pm

Presentation #2:

Startup Phase(s): Customer Discovery

Topic: Market Maturity segmentation

Learn about properly identifying your customer segments as an existing or new market from Jonathan Muscato of Programmable Equipment Co and his mvp named WorkAutomate. Jon will discuss this topic from Steve Blank's online udacity class "How to Build a Startup" ( ).

Differing market maturity affects your Lean Startup Canvas planning and customer discovery and validation cycles. Each market type may require unique delivery channels, and are often interested in different value propositions. It is critical to avoid one-size-fits-all if you want to effectively reach various market segments.

8:00 pm

5 minute break ====================================

8:05 pm

Presentation #3:

Startup Phase(s): Customer Discovery

Topic: Getting a prospective customer to talk with you

Learn how to get your customer discovery prospect to open up to your idea and discuss their problems and solution needs from Steve Wasiura of Waztech. Steve will discuss this topic from Seth Godin's Startup School ( ).

Learn about the importance of how you present your product idea as an engaging story that energizes your prospective customer to open up and give you realistic truthful information about their situation. Establishing trust during customer discovery interviews and proper structuring of questions will help you build a mvp that moves you in the right direction toward version 1.0

8:20 pm

Presentation #4:

Startup Phase(s): Funding Resources

Topic: Federal SBIR grant program for profit based technology businesses

Learn about a government based funding source named Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program from Martin Casstevens of UB's STOR. Martin will share his knowledge of navigating government funding programs and how a for-profit business can apply for a grant to raise funding for technology development and its commercial applications to previously unreachable markets.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides research grants to small American businesses interested in advancing new technology. This $2.2B annual program involves 11 federal agencies (DOD, NIH, NASA, DOT, DOA, …) and routinely offers grant awards of ~ $1M to advance ideas in computer applications, new materials, engineering solutions, medical care, sensing, and human factors.

Martin will describe this program and how he has used it to finance the development of new technology, engage strategic partners, and locate new customers. Attendees will be given a general introduction to the program and introduced to practical search tools that can be put to immediate use.

8:35 pm

Next meeting planning and milestones discussion

Attendees share which topics they want discussed at next month's meeting. Founders declare intentions of milestones they want to achieve by next meeting to keep their progress moving forward.
8:45 pm

Small Group discussions:

continue Pizza and Pop (sponsored by Directed Energy - )

Mingle and discuss how you need help in your startup with other founders and get advice.


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