Over the weekend of 8-10 February, 40 dedicated students from both London Met and London Southbank focused their time and energy on learning how to start and pitch a new business in just 48 hours. The students were taking part in the fifth iteration of our exciting and very intensive Startup Sprint programme, where we basically cram three months of work into one weekend! To keep everyone motivated and on schedule, the weekend was facilitated by hackathon veterans Ozzy and Marc, Co-Founders of The New London Agency.
We tell students that the worst case scenario in taking part in Startup Sprint is that you will work with brilliant people from numerous disciplines and other universities toward the goal of launching real companies and products. Great connections happen: cofounders meet, complementary skill sets collide, and friends are made. The best case scenario is that they will be a co-founder of a wildly successful new startup.
On Friday night following everyone’s arrival, refreshments and an overview of the weekend, Ozzy and Marc kick things off with a classic icebreaker; two truths and a lie. Once suitability relaxed everyone breaks off into teams and, if they came with ideas, spent a bit of time sharing them. To achieve a diverse skillset amongst the groups, and the best outcome for the weekend we open the programme up to a range of students from different areas of study, such as programming, business, digital media or design.
After discussing their business ideas, each temporary group selected a favourite which they felt had the most potential or viability. The ideas are then presented back to the cohort, allowing participants to join into more permanent teams for the weekend. For the remainder of Friday night the groups worked their ideas through the Lean Canvas; an excellent working document for building a new business quickly and cheaply which focuses on problems, solutions and competitive advantages.
Saturday is all about customer discovery, through going out and talking to real potential customers, this process places a heavy emphasis on problem validation and business model generation. Throughout the day Ozzy, Marc and a group of mentors work with the students to offer real world advice and support. To get them ready for the final pitches on the Sunday night, we spent the afternoon running the students through the key components of what makes a great business pitch and offered advice on their presentation skills.
For the big final pitches on Sunday night, students presented to a packed room of fellow participants, alumni, friends, family, business founders and a esteemed judging panel. Our judges for the evening, ready to grill and offer feedback were Toby Kress, Head of Accelerator, Will Howard, Hit The Theatre and Martin Grozev, Betting Metrics.
The eight teams did a fantastic job of pitching their ideas and also answering questions from the judges. It great to see everyone make immense progress with their ideas in such a short amount of time.
Want to take part in our next Startup Sprint weekend? Register your details here.