Create Jobs' Beth Kahn lets us know what happened in week two of Future Startup Now Founders

The second week of Founders has flown by and it’s been fascinating to see how the group’s business ideas are developing and changing as they reflect on and apply their learnings from the first two weeks.

On Monday we were joined by Lydia Donaldson (Operations Director & GM - Live Better) Lydia shared her career journey in tech and the work she does at Live Better With, a healthcare platform for people living with long-term conditions. Our cohort includes a number of healthtech businesses, so it was really valuable to hear Lydia’s insights of working in this field.

Next up was Abadesi Osunsade with an engaging session on relationship building and networking. We’ve heard throughout the programme that ‘your network is your net worth’ but networking can still be an awkward challenge for many of us, so Aba broke down some clear and accessible strategies to keep in mind.

Through the programme we aim to introduce the cohort to a new network within the tech sector, but it’s been tricky to think about how this might work via Zoom. So I’ve been happy to hear about how many interesting conversations and useful introductions have been taking place already as a result of the Founders following up with the guest lecturers they’ve been meeting during the week, taking Aba’s advice on board.

The group also had their first meeting with their mentors this week. We are so grateful to the incredibly knowledgeable and experienced group of mentors who have volunteered to work with our Founders throughout the programme. It was great to hear such positive feedback from both mentors and mentees after the first conversation, and throughout the week the group have often been reflecting back on how input from their mentors has already helped informed their approach.

On Tuesday and Wednesday Marie Krebs (Learnerbly) and Afiya Chohollo (Onfido) returned to hear the Founders present back the work they had done on their Minimum Viable Products. It was amazing to see how much their ideas had progressed in a week and I enjoyed hearing about the different and creative ways the group had found to run experiments and test their ideas and assumptions.

On Wednesday Pac O’Shea (Project Director and Agile Coach, Theodo UK) joined us to talk about the stages of product development, and how to identify key milestones and hold yourself accountable. We’ve had some pretty cool and interesting speakers throughout, but I think the most excited we’ve been so far was when we saw the beautiful and incredibly detailed spreadsheet Pac shared as a template for how to break down milestones and tasks. I’m glad I’m not the only Excel nerd in the group.

On Thursday Abraham Asefaw (Co-Founder, The Pop Up Agency) joined us for the first of three sessions to explore the art of ideation and pitching. He challenged the group to distil their business pitch into a tweet to help them start to hone their pitch and focus their ideas – here are a few of the group’s response:

"Nullus is a social tech company revolutionising sexual education and how we report crime! We are dedicated to fostering open informative conversations about sex and providing a safe supportive place for victims of sexual violence to report! Support us, help us, work with us! ✨"
"RococoWorld.com produces music videos for LGBT+ & alternative musicians, celebrating their diversity & unique appeal. Uninspired by monotony, we are doing something different; aiming to grow our platform inclusively, creating a distinctive world where all feel welcome"
"Purrygood is your one stop shop to find unique gifts and greeting cards all inspired by social media trends?. I mean, who doesn't want Ru Paul wishing them a happy birthday or DJ Khaled letting you know he appreciates you"
"Medified is building an Africa without counterfeit medicine. Our app enables everyday africans to quickly and easily verify if drugs are real or counterfeit. We also empower pharmaceutical companies to streamline their supply chain with ease by leveraging the power of blockchain."

Bejay Mulenga joined us again on Thursday for his weekly coaching sessions, fresh from delivering his amazing virtual festival The Great Feast of London in aid of non-profit A Plate for London. We’ve divided the cohort into small groups so we can bring together the Founders who have similar ideas and visions, to allow them to discuss their shared challenges and hopefully find opportunities for collaboration.

Coming up next week…

User research, community building, branding, mobile app development, community building, and No Code Tools.

If you want to find out more about the programme or chat about how to get involved drop me a line on beth.kahn@anewdirection.org.uk