What is Get Seeded?
Get Seeded is a monthly, student-led university program designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs execute on their business ideas. Get Seeded is built to accommodate any college student, no matter the background and experience of the applicant. We expect most of the value of Get Seeded to be in education and learning, with the grant money being an additional benefit. The application is designed to both draw out knowledge from the applicant and inspire the applicant to think deeply about their customer validation and business milestones.
Get Seeded is NOT a business plan competition. We are focused solely on experimentation of business hypotheses. We do not judge whether or not the product or service is a “good idea,” but use a holistic approach to determine whether the applicant knows:
- What problem they’re solving,
- Why they’re solving it,
- Why their solution is the best one for the problem they’re solving, and
- What their next most logical monthly goal entails.
We focus on two main factors when deciding on who makes it through to the Final Pitch Event:
- Customer Validation and
What is customer validation?
Asking your friends and family if they would buy your product or invest in your business is not the best way to validate your idea. Asking other people to design your product is also not going to inform your intuition about the best product idea.
In Clayton Christensen‘s book “Competing Against Luck,” he explains that products are often “hired” to do certain “jobs” for customers. This is called the “Jobs to be Done Theory,” which is a framework to think about products being hired to do a job rather than perform a function. The problem often goes unnoticed by traditional demographic clustering market analysis.
For example: Milkshakes are hired to perform several different jobs. To sell more milkshakes do you make them thicker? Thinner? More chunks? First, find out what job they’re being hired to do. An ethnographic study discovered that a large segment of people bought milkshakes for their morning commute. The job was to keep the driver entertained, clean from crumbs and satiated while stuck in morning traffic. Milkshakes are also hired in the evening as a way for exhausted parents to placate energized children. Instead of giving a child a thicker and more difficult-to-consume milkshake, the parents want something inexpensive, thinner and probably without chunks. The milkshake is hired for two very different jobs, and therefore requires two very different types of milkshake for each job. What job(s) is your product being hired to do?
Customer interviews are a way to find out more about your target customer and what job they’re trying to do. Discovering pain points about the current situation is sometimes a difficult task, and it takes an investigative mindset to really understand which assumptions are true and which ones are false. Check out “Talking to Humans” to learn more about customer interviews. When doing product development, it is important to find out what your customer’s problems really are and how they’re currently solving the problem.
What is a Milestone?
A milestone in Get Seeded is typically one well-researched business hypothesis with a timeline anywhere between one week to two months in duration. We do monthly events so students can continue to come back month after month, rather than receive one lump sum at the outset and decide how to spend it throughout the year.
Many times, we see multiple milestones lumped into a student’s application which signals that this student is either trying to do too many things at once or has not thought out their next goals. This is a major pitfall for getting through the primary application process.
For example: If you’re asking for some materials to build whatever widget you think will be the next fidget spinner, do you need a Kickstarter video as well? Between classes, homework, social life and your side hustle, do you think you’ll have time to both prototype a toy and launch a successful Kickstarter campaign? If you answered yes, you may be overstretching yourself. While it is not impossible to do, really nailing down product innovation takes a long time with several customer interviews and iterations along the way. Additionally, a Kickstarter video may take a few months to get right. When thinking about your milestone always check yourself by asking: is this really one milestone? Can it be split into several different milestones? Can I accomplish this milestone within a month, or is this going to take between 3 to 6 months? If you can break it down into smaller goals, you might be more successful at accomplishing those goals.
When should I apply?
View the Lassonde events calendar for specific dates and deadlines for each monthly cycle. The application deadlines are typically two-week windows starting the day after the previous month’s Final Pitch Event. If you want to attend the Final Pitch Events to see what students are working on and get a better idea for the process, come to Lassonde Studios for free food and to vote on your favorite pitches.
Always feel free to reach out with any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.