Mobility startups build, test, and re-build to iterate towards a business model.
Recently WRI India concluded the New Mobility Lab India in partnership with the Unreasonable Institute (from Boulder, USA) - a 5 day business model validation accelerator program for India based entrepreneurs that are developing mobility-as-a-service solutions. The other partners for the New Mobility Lab are were NASSCOM 10,000 startups, Autonebula, Startup Weekend, Indian Angel Network, Lead Angels, TiE Mumbai, Zone Startups, and Unltd India.
Ten new mobility startups were selected as a part of the final cohort for the New Mobility Lab with solutions for shared mobility, improvement of commuter experience, usage of data for optimization of systems and electric bikes. Learn more about our startup cohort here.
The New Mobility Lab was held from November 11-15th 2016 at Of10 Coworking Space in Hiranandani Gardens, Mumbai. Over five days, workshops were conducted by WRI India experts as well as other business and domain experts who engaged as Mentors for the startups.
Day 1: Orientation and Customer Discovery
The New Mobility Lab was kickstarted with an orientation on the schedule for the Lab and expectations from the entrepreneur cohort. The first workshop focused on facilitating the ventures to create a Lean Canvas Model for their business model to determine their fundamental assumptions which they would validate or invalidate during the Lab. This was followed by a Customer Discovery Workshop during which the startups leant the approach to interact with customers, built an interview script and then directly interacted with end-users and customers to specifically validate their assumptions. Day 1 was an intense exercise for the participants which helped them question the very basics of their business model. A few startups also realized that their product did not serve an immediate customer need and decided to work on refining their business model further.
Day 2: Rapid Prototyping and Prototype Building
The second day of the Lab started with a Workshop on Rapid Prototyping to demonstrate how startups could build simple prototypes/models of their product/service/marketing campaign (which need not always be tangible) and can be used for re-evaluating business models. Sample rapid prototyping exercises were conducted by splitting the participants into two groups. Thereafter, the startups used the rapid prototyping principles to build prototypes for their own businesses such as building mock-ups of new features for their smartphone apps, survey questionnaires for users as well as sales strategy for engaging customers. These models were then used for a second round of customer validation by interaction with users. This activity led to interesting insights for the startups – while for some startups their assumptions got validated, others were
Day 3: Building Powerful Mentor Relationships
The third day of the Lab began with some independent work time in the morning for entrepreneurs to further refine their Lean Canvas Model sheet. This was followed by a Workshop on How to Build Powerful Relationships with mentors (as well as funders, partners, and other people). This is an essential step since early stage entrepreneurs need to learn how to leverage help from people who have already been successful at what they are trying to do. During the workshop, the startups leant how to create a visual tool for their business idea for pitching their idea within a couple of minutes. Thereafter the WRI team provided an overview of the Mentors who would be joining the next day. The startups gave information on areas where they were seeking support such as business insights, marketing, branding, legal and accounts using which Mentor matchups were made.
Day 4: Mentor Day
During the first half of the day, the startups had independent work time to refine their Lean Canvas Model further and also prepare for meeting specific Mentors. During the second half of the day, 15 Mentors joined the participants to give them feedback on the business models. The Mentors brought in expertise around business management, branding, marketing, investment, legality of mobility models and accounts. Learn more about our mentors here. In the evening, an informal cocktail evening was held for mentors and entrepreneurs to continue building relationships informally.
Day 5: Cost Assumptions and Strategic Roadmap
On the last day, a fundamental financials workshop was conducted to lead entrepreneurs through an identification of the key cost drivers in their business, a break-even analysis, and the building of a very basic budget. During the concluding workshop, the entrepreneurs built out strategic plans for the next 3 months using the skills learnt during the Lab as well as a long term vision for the year.
Catch the teaser video of the Lab here.