Students working with you.
VentureShips was established to spread the entrepreneurial spirit at MIT through first-hand experiences. Since its inception in 2004, the club has successfully matched students with startup companies. Eager and motivated students work as volunteers on the business problems that you have in order to get information that you need. These students are not only a valuable resource, but are also a way for you to give back to the entrepreneur community. We are seeking companies that are willing to meet regularly with student groups and act as mentors by sharing the experiences and lessons of successful entrepreneurs.
Read on to learn more about the program. We encourage all startup companies in all stages to apply.
Past Final Presentations
Please note that the following past presentations have had results omitted for privacy purposes
The company came to us with a technology that was geared toward a single market and market application. Since the technology provided distinct advantages over competing technologies, they were wondering if there were any other untapped applications that that technology could be used toward, as well as any other markets that could be more appealing in order to enter the market faster.
Initial learning period
The company gave us their pitch and tried to sell the technology to the us. It was important that we were compelled to buy the technology in order for us to sell it to others later in the semester! We asked a lot of questions about the details of the technology and their relevance. It was helpful that they showed us a prototype. We then talked about the market and application that they were trying to approach. We didn't know too much about the area, so the first meeting felt like it was asking questions in the dark. Before the second meeting, we all brushed up on the area and tapped the easy Google finds, as well as library resources.
After our second meeting, we decided on the scope of our project given that we were going to work 4 hours a week for about 8-9 more weeks. We decided we would spend 1-2 weeks brainstorming since the company was interested in finding new markets that they hadn't considered. We would then spend half of our time doing a very generic screen based on loose criteria in order to get down to the two most promising markets. To make sure we weren't in over our heads, we met with the VMS mentors who approved of our project timeline and gave us some great advice on how to conduct our searches.
Market brainstorming and broad screening
Our brainstorm was all over the place. Since we didn't have the same focused background as the inventors, we came up with some pretty wild ideas. Some they dismissed immediately, but some they thought were very interesting! We came up with a list of about 5 categories of markets and 15 specific markets. We developed some very loose criteria to evaluate the markets, including technology requirements, market size, competition.
After weeks, we narrowed it down to our two most promising markets. From here on out, we had already done the easy number gathering stuff. We focused the next 4 weeks on getting out there and talking to people. We called and e-mailed people in our targetted industries as well as thought leaders in the fields. It took some time to generate useful contacts, but we got a lot of great interviews and responses, which gave us a lot of insight as to what kind of stuff they're looking for and opinions as to how our technology would pit with others. We also got some good insight as to what kinds of processes are required to enter in the industries, including the types of people involved in evaluating products and purchasing decisions.
Final analysis and report
The calls trickled in until the end, but we took a couple of weeks to summarize all of the results that we found. We put everything into a powerpoint file in easy format so that the company could use it as a reference in the future.
I really enjoyed meeting face to face with the CEO every week and being able to talk to him directly. It helped make sure we were focusing on the right things. Not only did we learn a lot about how to approach a problem like this, but we also learned a lot about the industry and start-ups in general. He had a lot of great anecdotes about the industry, finding money and about startups.