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How to Get Started

How Accelerator ’20 founders got their ideas off the ground

You can read as many articles and books as you want about value propositions, product-market fit, business model design, blue oceans, and everything under the sun about startups, but at some point, you just need to get started.

That’s something that can only be learned by experience. As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Here are the very very first steps that some of our Accelerator ’20 founders took after coming up with their ideas.

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We presented for Lean Launchpad and horribly failed because we didn’t understand the market. We did our work, and the initial judges of Lean Launchpad later became our first investors.

—William Steenbergen, Founder / CTO of Federato

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We interviewed over 100 families to deeply understand their journey from when they decided they wanted to start a family, to pregnancy, and beyond.

We then dove deep into studies and literature to identify the drivers of poor outcomes and understand what interventions could be leveraged to address them.

Through this research and input from our mentors at Harvard, we identified the group model of care as a powerful tool for impacting health outcomes.

We then set up our first beta cohort in early 2020 with 3 expecting women and a provider. They met bi-weekly and messaged over a group chat we created for them.

These beta customers are still with us today, over 9 months later, and continue to see June as a resource to support them through the never ending questions & challenges of being a parent!

—Sophia Richter, Founder / COO of June

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We used Google Forms quite a bit to experiment including whether or not individuals wanted to share notes in a 1-to-1 or group context. We collected nearly 5,000 notes via Google Forms before transitioning to a more functional prototype.

—Sohale Sizar, Founder / CEO of Illume

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I called every person I knew that worked in data science to understand if they also had the problem. I tracked each of the calls in a spreadsheet and gathered notes. I also called people that were on the OTHER side of the equation (the data owners) to understand their frustrations with the process. The idea evolved quite a bit from these conversations, but it gave me real confidence that this was a ubiquitous issue in almost every company.

—Austin Osborne, Founder / CEO of Spotlight AI

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Immediately after having the idea to create workflow-ready video conferencing, we built an initial version for use within our professional connection platform and in our team meetings. We were delighted to find that we genuinely enjoyed using our own platform much more than all other alternatives and realized that it had a potential far beyond what we’d initially thought.

—Martin Aguinis, Kamil Ali, and Josh Payne; Founders of AccessBell

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We started building a website and speaking with early adopters.

—Robert Monaco, Founder / CEO of Exporta Technologies

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We went to a freight event and stood up on stage to pitch it!

—King Alandy Dy, Founder / CEO of Expedock