Startup Workshop in Abu Dhabi

Testing, Measuring & Learning at the NYUAD Lean Startup Bootcamp

Over the course of 21st to 25th May, 50 participants who applied to the startAD Lean Bootcamp got to experience insights and simulations of an early stage startup lifecycle.

The inception of the Lean Startup Bootcamp came when startAD had brought us on board to develop a program for students and early-stage founders.

Our focus on the program came down to ensuring the participants understood the importance of idea generation from the perspective of Value Proposition and Business Modelling while simultaneously validating it with the real-world.

We had a total of 11 teams ranging from 3 to 5 per group who stuck through for the full duration of the boot camp. The teams were a dynamic range of

  1. Early Stage Founders
  2. University Students
  3. Startup Team Members

Here’s how it went:

Day 1

Ice-break session

When you’re put into a room with over 50 strangers that you will be working with, the first thing in order is to break the ice. We went against the convention of a dull Sunday morning and had loud conversations, rapid sketching and A LOT of moving around. Safe to say this got people alert.

Tip 1: get out of your comfort zone and get used to the unconventional.

Right after that, the teams got together and finalized on a business idea with their newly-met co-founders. While doing this activity, we ensured they started to keep an objective eye on team dynamics while working with each other.

Tip 2: team success is working with each others strengths and building a positive culture.

The second half of the day was a real deep-dive for most of the participants. We got each team to explore their customers’ life using a handy tool called an Empathy Map. This got most participants to question what they thought they knew about customers or how they perceived their customer.

Tip 3: Know your customer, understand their true emotional needs and you will have a better sense of what you are really trying to serve.

Day 2

The second day focused entirely on creating value that customers actually need through products and services. By giving each team the opportunity to understand their customer segments pains and gains, they were able to empathize and expand their value creation potential.

Tip 4: Creating a great product or service is a combination of technical expertise and understanding human behaviour.

Day 3

Day three was all about transferring your idea into a viable business model and the key components that create a sustainable business. Teams worked on the Business Model Canvas, a great tool to visualize and then asses an organization’s strategic management.

Right after working on their BM Canvas, The teams started to develop an MVP which they then got to gain insights with once their customer segments interacted with their MVP.

Tip 5: Three words to rule them all, Learn-Measure-Act.

Day 4

On the second last day of the Bootcamp, the focus shifted towards tools, growth marketing, and startup productivity. The instructors Imane and Ahmad shared core tools used by startups to develop platforms, optimize marketing efforts and measure results. This proved to be a very impactful day for most participants and a majority of teams adopted some of the tools immediately for their own ventures (Slack was the only tool made mandatory for the program).

Day 5

The final day was high on energy, the teams were now focused on pitching their “venture” to the panel of judges. Post-judging, teams got feedback on their idea and finalists were chosen. This enabled the teams to understand the impact of storytelling a startup effectively while also enabling them to understand pros and cons of pitching your idea when fundraising.

The Finalists of the pitching competition were amiGOUmrahpackage.comRevelation!

the startAD Lean Bootcamp was a great experience in learning more about the startup and tech ecosystem and it’s potential here in the UAE.

Big thanks to our guest speakers JanMagnus and Gaurav for volunteering and sharing their startup stories!

Bonus Video created by one of the teams — Kibreet Media

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