Skip to main content

What founders need to know: You score funding for a liquidity event – start looking

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | March 24, 2016

There are many reasons to found a startup. There are many reasons to work at a startup. But there’s only one reason your company got funded. Liquidity. ——- The good news To most founders a startup is not a job, but a calling. But startups require money upfront for product development and later to scale. … Continue reading »

It’s About Women Running Startups

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 22, 2015

Just before the holidays I had coffee with Anne, an ex MBA student running a fairly large product group at a search engine company, now out trying to raise money for her own startup. She had an interesting insight: existing content/media companies were having the same problem as hardware companies that rarely made the leap … Continue reading »

Born Global or Die Local – Building a Regional Startup Playbook

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 3, 2014

Entrepreneurship is everywhere, but everywhere isn’t a level playing field. What’s the playbook for your region or country to make it so? ———- Scalable startups are on a trajectory for a billion dollar market cap. They grow into companies that define an industry and create jobs.  Not all start ups want to go in that … Continue reading »

The Business Model Canvas Gets Even Better – Value Proposition Design

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | October 24, 2014

Product/Market fit now has its own book. Alexander Osterwalder wrote it. Buy it. — The Lean Startup process builds new ventures more efficiently. It has three parts: a business model canvas to frame hypotheses, customer development to get out of the building to test those hypotheses and agile engineering to build minimum viable products. This week … Continue reading »

Watching My Students Grow

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | October 6, 2014

“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” Galileo Galilei One of the great things about teaching is that while some students pass by like mist in the night others remain connected forever. I get to watch them grow into their careers and cheer them on. — Its … Continue reading »

How to Find the Right Co-Founders

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | September 16, 2014

How do you figure out what’s the right mix of skills for the co-founders of your startup? Surprisingly if you’ve filled out the business model canvas you already know who you need. ——- I was having breakfast with Radhika, an ex-grad student of mine who wanted to share her Customer Discovery progress for her consumer hardware startup. She started … Continue reading »

How To Think Like an Entrepreneur: The Inventure Cycle

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | September 9, 2014

The Lean Startup is a process for turning ideas into commercial ventures. Its premise is that startups begin with a series of untested hypotheses. They succeed by getting out of the building, testing those hypotheses and learning by iterating and refining minimal viable products in front of potential customers. That’s all well and good if you already have an … Continue reading »

Why Founders Should Know How to Code

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | September 3, 2014

“By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist.” — Book of Five Rings A startup is not just about the idea, it’s about testing and then implementing the idea. A founding team without these skills is likely dead on arrival. —- I was driving home from the BIO conference in San Diego last month and … Continue reading »

How Investors Make Better Decisions: The Investment Readiness Level

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | July 1, 2014

Investors sitting through Incubator or Accelerator demo days have three metrics to judge fledgling startups – 1) great looking product demos, 2) compelling PowerPoint slides, and 3) a world-class team.  Other than “I’ll know it when I see it”, there’s no formal way for an investor to assess project maturity or quantify risks. Other than … Continue reading »

Is This Startup Ready for Investment?

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 25, 2014

Since 2005 startup accelerators have provided cohorts of startups with mentoring, pitch practice and product focus. However, accelerator Demo Days are a combination of graduation ceremony and pitch contest, with the uncomfortable feel of a swimsuit competition. Other than “I’ll know it when I see it”, there’s no formal way for an investor attending Demo … Continue reading »

How to be Smarter than Your Investors — Continuous Customer Discovery

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 19, 2014

Teams that build continuous customer discovery into their DNA will become smarter than their investors, and build more successful companies. — Awhile back I blogged about Ashwin, one of my ex-students wanted to raise a seed round to build Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) with a Hyper-spectral camera and fly it over farm fields collecting hyper-spectral images. These images, when … Continue reading »

What I Learned by Flipping the MOOC

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 11, 2014

Two of the hot topics in education in the last few years have been Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) and the flipped classroom. I’ve been experimenting with both of them. What I’ve learned (besides being able to use the word “pedagogy” in a sentence) is 1) assigning students lectures as homework doesn’t guarantee the students will … Continue reading »

Time for Founders School

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 29, 2014

Having a film crew in your living room for two days is something you want to put on your bucket list. With a ~$2 billion endowment the Kauffman Foundation is the largest non-profit focused on entrepreneurship in the world. Giving away $80 million to every year (~$25 million to entrepreneurial causes) makes Kauffman the dominant player in the entrepreneurship space. … Continue reading »

Engineering a Regional Tech Cluster — Part 3 of Bigger in Bend

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 24, 2014

Dino Vendetti a VC at Bay Partners, moved up to Bend, Oregon on a mission to engineer Bend into a regional technology cluster.  Over the years Dino and I brainstormed about how Lean entrepreneurship would affect regional development. I visited Bend last year and caught up with his progress. Today with every city, state, country … Continue reading »

Do Pivots Matter?

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 14, 2014

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
’ Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven In late 2013 Cowboy Ventures did an analysis of U.S.-based tech companies started in the last 10 years, now valued at $1 billion. They found 39 of these companies.  They called them the “Unicorn Club.” … Continue reading »

Lessons Learned in Medical Devices

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | December 20, 2013

This post is part of our series on the National Science Foundation I-Corps Lean LaunchPad class in Life Science and Health Care at UCSF. Doctors, researchers and Principal Investigators in this class got out of the lab and hospital talked to 2,355 customers, tested 947 hypotheses and invalidated 423 of them.  The class had 1,145 engagements with instructors … Continue reading »

Lessons learned in digital health

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | December 19, 2013

This post is part of our series on the National Science Foundation I-Corps Lean LaunchPad class in Life Science and Health Care at UCSF. Part 1:  issues in the therapeutics drug discovery pipeline Part 2:  medical devices and digital health Part 3: described what we’re going to do about it. Part 4: This Will Save us Years – Customer Discovery in Medical … Continue reading »

How Do You Want to Spend the Next 4 Years of Your Life?

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | December 10, 2013

As our Lean LaunchPad for Life Sciences class winds down, a good number of the 26 teams are trying to figure out whether they should go forward to turn their class project into a business. Given that we’ve been emphasizing Evidence-based entrepreneurship and the Investment Readiness Level, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when someone asked, “After … Continue reading »

It’s time to play Moneyball: The investment readinesslevel

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 25, 2013

Investors sitting through Incubator or Accelerator demo days have three metrics to judge fledgling startups – 1) great looking product demos, 2) compelling PowerPoint slides, and 3) a world-class team. We think we can do better. We now have the tools, technology and data to take incubators and accelerators to the next level. Teams can … Continue reading »