Class review: Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital
Last semester, the fourth year students had a class called Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital, with professor Paul Fox and professor Jordi Fernández Royo.
Throughout the semester the students had to come up with an idea for an entrepreneurial venture, to prepare a business plan and to carry out market research to validate the plan. The students worked in groups and the different groups came up wide a variety of innovative ideas.
It all started with problem identification, the students had to come up with a list of problems that they faced. The problems were discussed in class and each group had to decide which problem they desired to solve. The groups also had to clarify what the real foundations of the problem are, who faces the problem, what those people do nowadays to solve the problem, and why the current solution is not sufficient.
When the groups thought they had a complete understanding of the problem, they had to get out of the university to gain a comprehensive view of the issue. This was done by observations of the whole ecosystem related to the problem and by talking to other people who faced the same problem, to understand the context and the different segments of people who faced the problem.
At this stage, most groups got to see their problem from a different perspective and therefore had to redefine the problem and the underlying hypotheses before going out to test the new hypotheses.
The next step was to come up with potential solutions to the problem. This was done through a start-up lab workshop, where the business students teamed up with the engineering multimedia students who took the same course. They worked together to develop potential solutions to the problems of both groups. The different solutions then had to be rated depending on factors such as if it was technically and financially viable, if it would hit the target market, if it would be scalable, and if it would have potential to create a sustainable competitive advantage. The groups then had to decide to move forward with one of the most viable solutions.
When the students had begun working on the solution, they had to use a business model canvas to map the hypothesis related to fields such as revenue streams, cost structure, key resources, customer relations and value propositions. This was a long process and the students learned that what they knew was not the most important, the most important part was to clarify everything they did not know!
The students had to understand the targets for the solutions; who would be the buyer of the solutions is not necessarily the user, and who is the influencer is not necessarily the one to take the final purchase decision. The students also had to understand the different target segments, the value proposition offered to the different segments, and the market size to predict the flows of costs and revenues.
The final step of the course was to deliver a submission to a business idea contest organised by Technova. Technova is one of the leading incubators for technology start-ups in Europe, and it is located at the La Salle campus.
Technova has now selected 10 finalists, and on Monday the 23rd of February the top 10 groups are going to pitch their business ideas in front of the team from Technova. The two best teams will get a place in La Salle Startup Lab for 4 months, with support from Technova to further develop their business model into a real business, and the third prize will be a ticket to entrepreneur events.