My work

… with startups:

Making product, marketing and sales decisions that drive revenues

I was hired by the Founder and CEO of a startup to help them determine “what’s next” for their online learning platform for businesses (SaaS). They had been in business for 3 years but revenue growth was stalling. In addition to this, the founder did not have a clear view on why their existing customers had signed up for their product in the first place. A Jobs-To-Be-Done-based research project helped the founder and his team to get clarity on why their customers subscribed to their product. They can now make more informed product, marketing and sales decisions that will help them attract more new customers and enable their existing customers to make further progress. Instead of cobbling more product features and attributes together, the team can now build a product or create new ones that really resonate with their customers.

Understanding the purpose of your company and your product

When I joined Shaperbuddy, a small Portuguese startup that had been building a SaaS product with the same name to help surfboard manufacturers produce, manage and sell their surfboards, apparel and accessories, neither the founders nor the team members had a clear view of the purpose of the company and its product. Hence, they were struggling on many fronts, starting from the product positioning, to how to define and price up the subscription tiers and deciding what features to build next and which direction to take the product in. In order to gain clarity, I interviewed 20 existing and prospective customers over 2 months using Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD), a theory of customer motivation. You can learn about the 5 crucial insights I gained through conducting JTBD-based research in this blog post.

… with Accelerators

Running Lean experiments

I designed and facilitated a 2-day workshop with 12 national and international startups participating in the Startup Porto Accelerator programme organised by ANJE, Associação Nacional de Jovens Empresários (National Association of Young Entrepreneurs) and INESCTEC, the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science, in Porto, Portugal. The objective of the workshop was to introduce the early-stage startups to Lean Startup principles and some of its tools (the Lean Canvas and Experiment Board) to give the startups a solid foundation for validating their business ideas.

Workshop schedule:

Day 1 (full day):

AM session:
  1. Introduction to Lean Startup principles and the Lean Canvas
  2. Startups document their project on the canvas
  3. Group presentations of the canvas and feedback
  4. Assumptions & Hypotheses
  5. Methods for testing (MVPs)
PM session:
  1. Introduction to the Experiment Board
  2. Startups design their 1st experiment using the Experiment Board
  3. Group presentations of the board and feedback
  4. Finding customers & how to talk to them
  5. Making sense out of experiment data
  6. Preparation for conducting the experiment and reporting results (via survey)
  7. Q&A

Day 2 (2 half days, 1 week after the workshop to give the startups time to run their 1st experiment and document their results):

1:1 check-in with the 12 startups to discuss experiment results and learnings and to prepare them for the next experiment.

Interested in arranging a workshop for your team or employees? Check out my Services & Pricing page.

About ANJE:

ANJE is a non-profit organisation and association started in 1986. Its goal is to associate young Portuguese entrepreneurs with a view to defending common interests and developing their professional activity, namely regarding training and information. Impelled by the will to defend the interests of its associates and promote young entrepreneurship, ANJE has established new development paradigms in Portuguese business and has encouraged less conservative attitudes regarding risk. With approximately 5000 associates, 50 employees, 10 operational areas and several regional centres and local delegations, ANJE undertakes activities of undeniable public relevance.

About INESCTEC:

INESCTEC is an Associate Laboratory with more than 30 years of experience in R&D and technology transfer. Present in 6 sites in the cities of Porto, Braga and Vila Real, INESCTEC incorporates 13 R&D Centres and one Associate Unit with complementary competencies, always looking to the international market. INESCTEC was created to act as an interface between the academic world, the world of industry and services and the public administration in Information Technologies, Telecommunications and Electronics (ITT&E).

Preparing Startups For International Expansion And Investment

As part of their 30th anniversary, ANJE, Associação Nacional de Jovens Empresários (in English: National Association of Young Entrepreneurs), invited me to design, organise and facilitate a 1-day workshop for 15 startups who are seeking investment and/or are wanting to expand internationally. The objective of the “Scale: Smart. Quick. Fast. Accelerate” event was to help prepare the selected startups for these defining moments in their life cycle. This was achieved by providing first-hand experience from seasoned entrepreneurs and advice from experienced subject matter experts and Venture Capitalists/Business Angels.

The event agenda:

9:30 – Arrival and registration
10:00 – Welcome
10:15 – Panel discussion with 2 Portuguese entrepreneurs sharing their experience with fundraising and international expansion
11:00 – Coffee break
11:30 – Office hours (1:1 mentor session), part 1
12:30 – Lunch
13:00 – Office hours (1:1 mentor session), part 2
14:00 – Setting up a business in the UK (presentation by UK Trade & Investment)
15:00 – End

About ANJE:

ANJE is a non-profit organisation and association started in 1986. Its goal is to associate young Portuguese entrepreneurs with a view to defending common interests and developing their professional activity, namely regarding training and information. Impelled by the will to defend the interests of its associates and promote young entrepreneurship, ANJE has established new development paradigms in Portuguese business and has encouraged less conservative attitudes regarding risk. With approximately 5000 associates, 50 employees, 10 operational areas and several regional centres and local delegations, ANJE undertakes activities of undeniable public relevance.

Enabling Corporates And Startups To Innovate Together

From September 2015 to April 2016 I worked with Beta-i, the number one organisation for entrepreneurship and innovation in Portugal. They hired me to lead their second corporate acceleration programme called Protechting, with Portugal’s leading insurance company, Fidelidade, and their Chinese parent company, Fosun. The acceleration programme focussed on developing innovative solutions for the insurance sector around 4 strategic challenges:

  1. Protection / Prevention of life
  2. Customer service
  3. Health
  4. Savings

As Programme Director, I was responsible for the end to end delivery of the programme: this included the startup recruitment and selection process, curriculum design, scouting of mentors and panelists, client management and, of course, the collaboration between the startups and the business units and companies within the corporate group. I was also the “Startup Champion”, i.e. the go-to person for the 15 startups, their mentor and instructor.

Programme outcomes:

  • At the time of writing, 8 out of 15 projects are either being run as pilot/field test or are in advanced partnership conversations post programme delivery
  • Fidelidade and Fosun announced a 2nd edition of the Protechting programme for 2016

Program specifics:

Protechting was an intense 9-week programme, delivered in 2 phases:

Phase 1: 1 week Bootcamp for 25 teams focussed on defining the business opportunity for both the startups and the business units
Phase 2: 8-week acceleration for the best 15 teams, including:

  • Training in entrepreneurship and insurance business
  • Mentoring
  • Business modelling
  • Pitch preparation
  • Pitch day

Interested in arranging a corporate innovation workshop or programme? Check out my Services & Pricing page.