Guest Post: What Should Your MVP Look Like? A Technical Feasibility Scan Helps You Find Out

 

Startup founders without programming skills often get stuck while getting started. Typically, they face questions like “I want to build the next Uber for X, but I don’t know what my MVP should look like.” It’s hard to know if your idea can translate into a viable MVP build if you don’t have a programming background. A Technical Feasibility Scan (TFS) can help you get out of the deadlock and make difficult decisions with confidence.

What is a Technical Feasibility Scan?

A TFS is an evaluation that helps you find out what your MVP should actually look like technologically. It helps you:

  • Draw up a potential architecture.
  • Estimate the amount of work.
  • Identify technical risks such as: scalability, complexity or need for rare skills.
  • Make a draft design that you can use in early marketing and pitch decks.

I’ve used this method to scan and help build several startups and it tends to pay off. Squads customers can attest to it. Let me explain why.

A Solid Technical Foundation is Key to Convince Investors

Technical risks are financial risks. That’s why investors should not rely exclusively on the founders’ technical team to identify potential setbacks. I see more and more investors who hire third parties to assess a startup’s build plan — especially when the technology is at the core of the company’s growth strategy.

With a TFS, you can draw up a solid technical plan to present to your investor and answer key questions like “which skills do I need,” “can this be built in a few months,” and “what will it cost.”

Avoid Massive Re-writes during the MVP phase

Investors dread the word “rewrite.” It’s what happens when you find out that your application is beyond maintenance and you can’t add new features without rebuilding from scratch. Rewrites are sometimes inevitable, and they can be costly.

Having to do a massive re-write during the MVP phase can spell doom for your startup if you’re not prepared. If you’re just getting started and you expect to spend 50K, you better have an extra 50K in your pocket for unforeseen changes. Of course, going way over budget is not ideal. To avoid these kind of surprises, you need to build the optimal minimum and you need to anticipate possible risks. The TFS can help here as well. Let’s look an example.

Vandebron’s Approach

Vandebron is a Dutch company that is called the Airbnb of green energy. They help consumers connect directly with windmill owners and other energy producers, via the existing grid. The startup had a huge potential but needed to convince investors that their idea was technically feasible. They worked with Squads to get a TFS.

During the scan, we evaluated:

  • How the startups’ technical team should be built up.
  • Non-functional requirements (such as hosting and capacity).
  • Technical solution requirements.
  • Necessary budget for the build along with possible cost variations.
  • Risks and mitigation tactics.
  • Timeline and priorities.

The company secured its first funding round and worked with us to build a very successful MVP as a result. We also helped them recruit a CTO and build an in-house development team to carry the work forward. They are still working with our teams when they need extra capacity or specialist skills. Download our case study to learn more or contact me to discuss your needs.

This post also appeared on Squads.com blog.








Build your business in 54 hours ? by Michael van Lier

Have you ever imagined you could validate and build your business idea in just 54 hours? Together with over 100 like-minded participants, you’ll learn how to take any idea from concept to creation within a matter of days. We make sure you are fueled with the best tools, techniques, and mentors available. Join We Are Builders during the Startup Weekend Amsterdam (powered by Google for Entrepreneurs) on 12-14 May. RSVP now and stop talking and start building your business!

We Are Builders. And Gold Sponsor. ?

We Are Builders is a gold sponsor of Startup Weekend Amsterdam. The Lean Startup methodology learned us how to minimize the risk of failure when building startups. The Startup Weekend is the best place to advocate its’ importance, share our learnings and meet fellow hackers and entrepreneurs. Still, too many products and services are built that nobody needs, we’re glad to help prevent this from happening.

We Are Builders is a startup studio focussed on co-founding software startups. We’re constantly looking for hackers and entrepreneurs to start new businesses with. We bring our experience, tools, and money to get you through the first 18 months. And, the coffee is on us if you choose to run your business from our office.

We have a long-standing history with building online software and mobile apps. Our team is a balanced pack of developers, entrepreneurs, UX/UI designers, copywriters, and growth hackers. A mix of expertise every startup needs at some point in time.

From years of experience, successes, and failures we developed a process for crafting ideas into companies. The process consists of several steps strongly inspired by Lean Startup and agile development methodologies. These steps include ideation, validation, building, hustling and eventually champagne. We hope to toast with you on Sunday 14 May when the Startup Weekend ends!

Goals for the Weekend

Our main ? is to help you get from idea to product in 54 hours. Bas Wenneker joins as a mentor and will help teams on Saturday and Sunday with customer development. Our awesome CTO Alex Buis teams up on Sunday.

For myself, I will be one of the four judges you’ll pitch to on Sunday afternoon.

Buy tickets here: Tickets!

This blog post was written by Michael van Lier – Founder & CEO at we.are.builders.








Sponsor Highlight: These Companies Are Helping You Create the next Big Thing

The tech startup scene has seen a large growth pattern in the last decade because of many reasons. One of the reasons being the availability of infrastructure, mentoring, co-working spaces and more importantly a culture of giving back.

In 2007, Startup Weekend was founded in Boulder, Colorado by Andrew Hyde, which brought together 70 entrepreneurs to try to create a startup in just 54 hours. Fast forward 10 years later and Startup Weekend events ran in over 1000 cities around the world.

Startup Weekend Amsterdam is yet another example of one these 1000 successes. We have been lucky in Amsterdam to have a great ecosystem of successful entrepreneurs that have given back to the community and enabled an event like SWAMS to be possible in Amsterdam.

Take for example The Next Web, a media company that manages several initiatives focused on international technology news, business, and culture and one of our amazing sponsors. Started from humble beginnings as an event in 2006 to showcase startups and which has now evolved into brands that include TNW Blog, TNW Events, TNW Deals, and TNW Academy. TNW success spurned them to create TQ, whose mission statement is to help push tech startups towards exponential growth by providing residents & members with the right community, events and facilities. In turn SWAMS is excited to have the TQ as our venue this year for all our passionate attendees.

Another big thanks are because of companies like We Are Builders, who work with committed entrepreneurs to transform unique ideas and tech startups into strong and independent growing companies. They not only help ideas grow through their services, but by also supporting great events like SWAms to help accelerate that ecosystem in Amsterdam.

The list goes on with traditional Dutch companies like Ordina, who invent, build and manage IT applications in government, financial services, manufacturing and healthcare; KPN, a tele-communications company and De Bijenkorf, leading online luxury retailer with over 147 years of history are part of our support structure along with entrepreneurial movers like Squads.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for on-demand teams to build digital products for your company or startup; Next Amsterdam, a startup studio that works with committed teams to build the companies of tomorrow; Beta List, who highlight and provide an overview of upcoming internet startups; Aim for the Moon, a startup studio that connects companies to corporate innovators and Bridge for Billions, an online incubator for early-stage ventures, Creative-Tim is a startup that creates design tools looking to make the development process faster and easier.

The success of an event like Startup Weekend Amsterdam is due to these amazing companies that continue to not only impact entrepreneurs and startups directly through their businesses, but by also actively work to give back to the community.

These core sponsors and supporters not only make #SWAms possible, but also provides an opportunity for the next generation of entrepreneurs and companies to develop, grow and one day hopefully give back to the community. As you can see it takes a literal village of support and sponsors for SWAMS to occur and we could not thank everyone enough that have supported our mission to create an exciting event this year and support the future entrepreneurs of Amsterdam.








Validate Your Startup Idea in 3 Days on Startup Weekend Amsterdam x Aimforthemoon

This guest post was written by our mentor Leonard Bukenya.

Starting your own business is a very big challenge. Starting a business that no one wants is a disaster. Therefore from the 12th-14th May Startup Weekend Amsterdam, Powered by Google for entrepreneurs, comes to help you validate your idea so that you build something scalable. It is your chance to go through the process of concept validation up to creation in just 3 days. For you as an entrepreneur it is also an great opportunity to meet passionate and talented entrepreneurs, learn and practice new skills and get introduced to the world of startups.

Why do we partner with Startup Weekend?

At Aimforthemoon we have the mission to build scalable ventures by connecting entrepreneurs and corporate partners. So far, we have build a community of more than 100 seasoned entrepreneurs and we find it essential to stay involved with the broader startup community. The Lean Startup Weekend is a perfect opportunity to connect with people driven by an entrepreneurial mindset, dreaming to validate and grow their business ideas.

Experiencing “give to give” as a core value of Aimforthemoon, I find it essential to participate in this kind of events. By sharing our expertise and knowledge, as well as the process we use for validating startup ideas, we can inspire each other to build impactful ventures.

As a coach at the Lean Startup Weekend, I aim to share my experience that I have accumulated at Aimforthemoon, KPN and Sanoma and help entrepreneurs validate their business ideas. I believe in connecting people and I am looking forward to coach the teams, learn about their passions and guide them through the process.

Aimforthemoon entrepreneurs

Get to know the other Aimforthemoon entrepreneurs that will mentor you at the Startup Weekend.

@Laurens van Leeuwen – Co Founder Wineclub

@Jorn Eiting van Liempt – Managing Partner ForPM

@Stan van den Heuvel – Entrepreneur @Aimforthemoon

See what the Startup Weekend is all about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPGRLd4nWug

Excited to join the weekend and get a taste of what it is to be an entrepreneur?

Get your ticket right away!








Get Aboard the Hype Train to Startup Weekend 2017

Startup Weekend Amsterdam team is bringing back the most awaited startup event of the year. Yes you’re right! Startup Weekend Amsterdam is back and it is happening on the second weekend of May (12-14).

Get excited to pitch ideas in order to innovate the way we innovate, form teams and launch startups in just 54 hours. Guided by experienced mentors you can take a peek into what it’s like be an entrepreneur and launch a startup.

Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2017

No idea, no problem!

Startup Weekend is for everybody who wants to join. Even if you don’t have a startup idea or any prior experience you can still join, learn, have fun and start building a business together.

The weekend promises to be a unique high energy startup experience.

One category to rule them all

We’re selling one type of ticket this year which fits all of you. Whether you’re a developer, designer or non-technical person.

Student and Ambassador tickets

Like always we will have student tickets available for a discount but what is special this year is that we’re selling Startup Weekend Ambassador tickets for 70% discount in return for you becoming ambassador for our next event. Contact us at amsterdam@startupweekend.org to buy Ambassador ticket.


Click here to get an impression of our last event.

How do I signup? Get your ticket: here (be quick, tickets sell out fast)

More info? Take look at the Startup Weekend website

See you the 12th of May!!








The Match Made in Heaven: Startup Weekend Amsterdam meets MakerLab

From helping companies meet their innovation sweet spot, MakerLab teamed up with SWAmsterdam to make the 2016 edition the best so far. Not only helped making the event happen by sponsoring it, but also deserved a spot in the jury to decide who the big winner of this year is.

Founded in 2011 here in Amsterdam, MakerLab was created with the ambition of making companies getting out of a slow motion pace and elevate them to bring better solutions to their customers. Their mission is two folded: not only help in the ideation by focusing on giving people the time and space to do so but also helping them turn ideas into something valuable. With a hands-on approach, they are not afraid of getting work done, working close with their clients to find the best opportunities out there.

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The innovation lab – as they call it – puts the end-user at the center of the whole process, working their way with him. They believe co-creation is key to create solutions that solve the customers’ problems and tap their needs and this is only achieved through iteration. More important than going through the process, is to learn from it. The best solutions are those that were adjusted over and over until hitting the perfect spot.

It’s because of all these features that make it the perfect match for SWAmsterdam. Even though MakerLab is focused on the corporate side, Joris van Heukelom sees it has a bridge between that side and the talents at SW. Luckily we have him on board with us to be a part of our jury panel for the pitches at the end of the event. And he does have higher expectations from this edition. Being it focused on a theme, Education, he believes that it brings participants which truly understand the current problems and how they can be solved: “they’ll spot the right angle from a business perspective and come up with something better”.

We believe the same and can’t wait for tomorrow show time!








Big ideas, inspiration and action in Education, 15 – 20 April

Big ideas, inspiration and action! Amsterdam will be buzzing with events on innovation in education from 15-20 April. TEDxAmsterdamED, Startup Weekend and Professional Rebel will combine three great events supporting and connecting new ideas in education.

Under the banner #BornToLearn TEDxAmsterdamED will conclude the week with talks from thought leaders and innovators in the education world. This will take participants on a journey of learning with a particular focus on how learning is connected from ‘the cradle to the grave’.

Before this, the events will kick off a group of professionals and decision-makers in education hopping on their bikes. They will meet some of the frontrunners of the EdTech startup scene in Amsterdam during the The Future of Education Tour on 15 April. This will start with a keynote talk at THNK and allow participants to meet various education startups throughout the day, such as Bomberbot, Konnektid & ProctorExam. They’ll learn how startups think and act while cycling from one location to the next.

Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015

The inspirational bike tour will lead straight into a jam-packed weekend. With the motto: “No Talk, All Action” Startup Weekend helps people to take their first steps to become an entrepreneur. At a Startup Weekend event you turn a new idea into a startup in just 54 hours. For this occasion, Startup Weekend is organizing an event focused on new ideas in education. Hosted at the inspiring location of WeWork Startup Weekend Amsterdam will bring together over 80 education changemakers, developers, designers and business specialists working on new startup ideas. The teams will pitch their ideas again on Sunday evening to a jury of both education and startup experts.

Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2014

There are still plenty of opportunities for you to be part of these events and come on a week-long journey of learning. See you there?!

Startup Weekend EDU: Friday 15-17 April 2016
The Future of Education Tour: Friday 15 April 2016
TEDx AmsterdamED: Wednesday 20 April 2016








Catching up with KiekeBox. Winner of Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015

We Interviewed Janneke from winning team (KiekeBox) of Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015.See what she have to say about the event.

KiekeBox is a monthly craft, experiments and games Box for kids between the age of 4-8. Every month there is a new theme with new activities for hours of fun and crafting. All the materials needed for at least 6 activities are provided in the box. Inside the KiekeBox you can find the KiekeBox magazine with all the step by step illustrations that kids need to follow. The goal is to educate kids around different themes such as Space, Penguins and Igloos and Safari. Kids will explore the world through hands-on play and activities. Ideal for busy parents that like to do fun activities with their kids, but do not have the time and lack creativity to come up with something different every week.

How did startup weekend help you making your idea into a product?

I got a lot of feedback, tips, more ideas and I realised that i had to focus on getting something to the market fast to test whether people will buy. Start with the basic, if it works you can always add features.

Kiekebox is an educational startup, What are your thoughts about a Startup Weekend Education being organized in Amsterdam?

I think it is nice, although there is a lot of focus on moving to digital/tech education startups. Off course I try to focus more on that kids do not turn to the iPad and digital activities, but to explore the world through hands-on play. I think there is a lot to gain/innovate in education, that there is a lot that can be improved, I have also another idea that I think would be really nice to test during this weekend, however it has been too busy to be able to do that now.

How did mentors help you during Startup Weekend?

They challenged me to really go out and test, not to be shy but to really do it. To be honest to yourself and to sometimes help with the balance within the team.

What advise you do have for upcoming Startup Weekend attendees?

I think it is very different going as an attendee or joining with “your”
idea. But in general, listen to each other. When you join an idea that you find interesting also really listen to what has been done already, off course challenge but try to focus on 1 idea and really test it through the weekend to get a clear understanding of the idea is promising or really needs to change drastically. As a “owner” of the idea less is more, you don’t need a huge team, you need the right people in your team. Try to be a bit selective in the beginning, you will profit from it the rest of the weekend.

 

Join us for Startup Weekend EDU Amsterdam 2016

Buy tickets to out next event here.








Hello Amsterdam, Are you ready for Startup Weekend Education?

After 7 straight years of Startup Weekend Amsterdam we are proud to bring an exciting themed event: Startup Weekend Education Amsterdam for our enthusiast community where educators, designers, developers, and marketeers will get together to pitch ideas in order to innovate the way we educate ourselves, form teams and launch startups in just 54 hours. Guided by experienced mentors you can take a peek into what it’s like be an entrepreneur and launch a startup.

No idea, no problem!

Startup Weekend is for everybody who wants to join. Even if you don’t have a startup idea or any prior experience you can still join, learn, have fun and start building a business together.

The weekend promises to be a unique high energy startup experience.

 

Why Education?

Over the last 5 years the education industry has had a huge wake up call. We realised that the way we educate ourselves and our next generation need to rapidly change. We want to bring together new innovators with new ideas, technologies and business models to bring our education a step further.

Whether you found a company, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside your usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

Click here to view the embedded video.

How do I signup? Get your ticket: here (be quick, there are a few early birds)

More info? Take look at the Startup Weekend website

See you the 15th of April!!








Interview with mentor: Kasper Brandi Petersen

We’re happy to introduce another awesome mentor to you. He’s Kasper Brandi Petersen, co-founder of The Cloakroom. Kasper will help you with turning your idea into a complete business and help you execute it.

We’ve interviewed Kapser for our community. Read what he have to say:

Why is entrepreneurship important to you?

Entrepreneurship is a creative craftsmanship and building organisations and products are simply put the most exciting thing in the world. To me it’s not about saving the world or making a difference – it’s just about starting something from scratch and growing it to something big and special.

How can you help our participants as a mentor?

I love to turn a loose idea into a commercial business plan. My role in our startup very much revolves around spotting great ideas in all corners of our offices, breaking it down into specific deliverables, and make sure we execute on it.

What kind of ideas are you looking forward to see at this year’s event?

I’m obsessed with any kind of online-based service that removes friction from people’s everyday life. I believe in a combination of efficiency boosting algorithms and personalised human curation and service.

What is the most important lesson you want to give to our participants?

Don’t overthink your concept – it’s going to change anyway. Execution and assembling the right team is the key differentiator.

Why should someone with a business idea join to Startup Weekend?

To get your idea tested and validated and to meet people you might end up doing extraordinary things with in the future.

Why should people participate in Startup Weekend even if they don’t have an idea?

To get inspired and to test your own skills within ideation and execution.