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!!








An honest talk with Wilbert van de Kamp about his experience with Startup Weekend

Wilbert van den Kamp is one of our beloved sponsors of our main event later this month, on the 24th of March. To give you a quick summary; he’s passionate about food, people, loves Startup Weekend and is one of the most authentic people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. What do I mean with authentic? Experience it for yourself by reading the interview below, enjoy.

 

Everytime I see you or your name, you seem to be connected to another exciting project. To name just a few of them, you’re the CEO of Omapost, Co founder of Appelkruimel&Fris, you host a talkshow and have even organized a Startup Weekend yourself. I’m curious, with all the companies aside, how would you describe yourself?

A connecting entrepreneur maybe? I do what I like: connecting people who normally do not connect. Young and old, food producers and consumers, and those who feel left out because of their looks. In society, people drift away from each other more and more. I find that a pity and look for opportunities to change that. The solutions I come up with have different forms, ranging from campaigns, companies and a talkshow, all the way to the very place I live.

What does the concept Startup Weekend mean to you?

It is the place where I started my own company. I met my co-founder there, as well as a lot of people who have helped me accelerating and strengthening Omapost. I love the atmosphere and the mix of people.

One of the companies that I just named, Omapost, is the result of Startup Weekend Groningen 2014. Can you tell me more about why you joined SW and how Omapost came to be?

True. Nick Stevens – CDO of Groningen – convinced me to take part. He said I would not regret it; I must say, he was right! I had no idea what to pitch about. I just went, and when I was standing in line, I realised I was missing my grandma. So I came up with the idea of Omapost: sending your offline grandma real postcards with stuff you would normally post online. We worked on the idea with 9 people and were runner-up. After one year of testing and screwing around, we started a crowdfunding. Since august, people are able to use our app. Currently, we have about 6,000 users.

What made Omapost a successful endeavour?

Being very stubborn on one side, but very open to cooperating with other people or companies on the other side. We have taken huge financial risks at times, but it has always come around exactly at the right time. We are still working together with a lot of people I met at Startup Weekend. If people have great ideas about what to do with Omapost, we can make it work within a few weeks, which makes us very flexible. Until now, I have not earned a dime with Omapost, but I have a way better relationship with my grandma. And that is worth a lot as well. I am sure that we will start earning money sometime soon though!

Got any tips & tricks for future participants?

If you want to pitch, do not practice too much. If you do not want to pitch, still do. Just pitch something weird, pitching makes Startup Weekend so much more fun.

You’re sponsoring our main event in March with an awesome prize that we’re allowed to give away, why have you chosen to sponsor us and what do you hope to accomplish?

Just because I like Startup Weekend so much. I do not have a lot of money, but I have something else to share. It is all about having a good time with the team: the most important thing there is.

Is there anything you’d like to tell the future participants, and/-or people that aren’t sure whether they should buy a ticket?

Like Nick Stevens always says: just buy one; if you regret it, I will give you back your money.








What I’ve Learned from Winning Startup Weekend – Henk Beijert

henk

There has never been a better time to start a business… While knowledge, ideas and inspiration have never been this accessible, the biggest barrier for starting a business has become something else: you.

Startup Weekend changed the way I think

When I look at the way I make decisions, the way I approach challenges these days, I can connect them to some of the valuable experiences I had during Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend planted valuable seeds. It influenced the way I think, work and do business now: going for it.

Gaining startup knowledge

I’ve read a lot about startups, entrepreneurship and technology and I’m still deeply fascinated by these themes. When you’re an aspiring startup entrepreneur, the internet is a great source of knowledge. You can learn from the many founders that have shared their inspiring journeys.

Startup knowledge is useless

However, knowledge gives us a false feeling of comfort. Knowledge is useless, unless you can make it relevant to your own situation by experience. Therefore, challenge yourself! This creates real valuable to you. Create your own inspiring journey! Build a team, then feel the pain of “breaking up” with your team. Work long hours on your product and then ditching 80% again of what you’ve done. Maybe start over, but always: go for it.

Starting a company in 54 hours is hard

Don’t get discouraged, Startup Weekend will be great fun!!! But you will have some really tough moments as well. We had discussions on our team, about different ideas and visions, a huge lack of sleep and we made continuous changes in the business model. When we thought we had a solid plan, there were these mentors that gave us a hard time… Don’t get me wrong, these people were great, I really appreciate them. But I hated some of their feedback at the time… Now I see these moments as my most valuable experiences. They still resonate today.

What to do after Startup Weekend?

My team and I won Startup Weekend 2014. But more important: I learned to make a choice: to go for it, 100%. Not as a side project but to give it all I’ve got. Creating my own inspiring startup journey with valuable experiences every day.
No matter what ideas you may have, remember that the biggest barrier is not your lack of knowledge but missing out on the valuable experience by not going for it. So stop reading and start doing. Go for it! Give it all you’ve got!

Written by Henk BeijertFounder of GreenBricks








Teamily brings team power to Startup Weekend Utrecht

teamily

Did you know that 50% of teams are struggling with unclear roles?

During Startup Weekend Utrecht teams are not only put under PRESSURE to set up a startup in 54 hours. They also have to set up an awesome team and get along during the weekend: challenges guaranteed!

Raimo, CEO at Teamily knows how to make teams work together. During Startup Weekend Utrecht you get to know his newest and latest tool TEAM DRIVER SNAPSHOTS. It is the quickest and simplest way to get crucial insights on team roles.

TEAMDRIVER SNAPSHOTS gives team’s breakthrough insights on their strengths and weaknesses. Let the team answer some questions and get immediately an interactive and online representation of the team’s current state.

Take a SNAPSHOT now!

A SNAPSHOT will give you instant:

  • Insight in your preferred roles in projects
  • Mapping of all team members and their preferred project challenge
  • Clarity on where your team needs re-enforcement
  • A score on your team’s current sentiment

About TEAMDRIVER:

Teamily’s TEAMDRIVER is a fresh new way to work better in teams together, increasing team performance. It gets the right person to drive the right challenge in your projects. We call these persons drivers. TEAMDRIVER gives teams the tools to safely hand-over projects to their team members. This way you always have the best person at the wheel at every stage of your project.

Learn more about TEAMDRIVER here.

Learn more about Startup Weekend Utrecht here.

teamily-2

Written by Cindy Spelt, Lead Organizer at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016

 








From a Startup Weekend Mentor to an Organizer

In 2015, I had my first experience with Startup Weekend and it was remarkable. I was invited to be one of the mentors at the Startup Weekend Space held in Gdansk, Poland. At the event, I was inspired by many great ideas, met a lot interesting people and had a lot of fun. The Startup Weekend encouraged people to work on and pitch their ideas, have ideas validated and the ability to meet like-minded people. It was a great platform for people with innovative ideas to kick start their entrepreneurial journey.

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So, when I noticed that Startup Weekend Utrecht was to be organized in November 2016, I didn’t hesitate to contact one of the lead organizers, Cindy Spelt, and asked her if I could join the team. With my background organizing similiar events like hackathons for my work, I was sure I could bring value to the team. I was really excited to meet new people who I can learn from and to share my experiences with.

From the moment I started, I can say that I am part of a great team. Our pre-event was a blast, we have great mentors and judges on board, we arranged social activities and I learned a lot. With such pleasant experiences, you can imagine how much I am looking forward to the main event in November.

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If people ask me why they should join the Startup Weekend, I would answer them with the same reason why I want to be involved:

“Startup Weekend is the place to meet open, friendly and enthusiastic people who want to share their experiences and are eager to learn from each other.”

The Startup Weekend offers a great opportunity to share and validate your ideas, and to support other ideas. It is the golden opportunity to meet your future co-founder, to be supported by mentors and to receive feedback from judges – all in just 54 hours.

“Startup Weekend lasts way longer than a weekend.”

Oh and another good reason to join is that a Startup Weekend lasts longer than just a weekend. I still have contact with people I met at the Startup Weekend Space in Poland. We stay in touch to share knowledge and visit other events together.

So don’t hesitate join, it is a great and lasting experience. Meet people, have fun & innovate. Hope to see you there!

Martijn Leinweber, Organizer at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016








Being a refugee is NOT a job title!

refugee-crisis-981x500

I know from experience that working in and moving to another country can be an hassle. In the beginning it all sounds adventurous and exciting. Lots of new impressions, meeting new people and making friends and lots of exciting information to process…. After some time you start looking around and asking yourself ‘how can I fit in?‘ The most challenging part starts when you want to become ‘one of them’. Learning the language, fitting in the (administrative) system and making a living…

We all want to live up to our full potential. Learning a language requires time, getting used to new manners and a culture also. This is ok. This is part of the deal. What is NOT ok is putting someone at a DISADVANTAGE: calling a person who travelled great distances to find a better life ‘a refugee’. This is not of any help.

The title ‘refugee’ is political and puts you in a BOX. We do not put people in boxes, we work together instead, no matter your background or life story. My suggestion is to start using the term: PROFESSIONALS WTH AN INTERNATIONAL BACKGROUND instead. Imagine the level of creativity, perseverance, humanity and authenticity they can bring in!

To make a DIFFERENCE we invite companies to SPONSOR tickets for Startup Weekend Utrecht. We believe that by getting to know the DUTCH entrepreneurial ECOSYSTEM people have an easier entrance by finding their way in making a living in the Netherlands.

Do you like to help us? Please DONATE tickets!

  • 5 tickets : € 450
  • we will select the people to join the event (designers, programmers, business people)
  • date of the event: 11-12-13 November, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • sponsorship: before 30th October 2016

For more information, please call me at +31 (6)1465 1424. We will take it from there. Thank you!

Written by Cindy Spelt – Lead Organizer  at Startup Weekend Utrecht

www.swutrecht.com