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Builder

Have you already completed the Wond’ry’s Ideator Program?

Have you found problem-solution fit for your idea (there is an identified value proposition for a defined customer segment supported by evidence from customer discovery)?

Are you ready to learn what it takes to launch a new venture or pursue licensing?

About the Program

Builder provides a step-by-step guide for aspiring entrepreneurs (faculty, staff, and students) with a viable early stage idea to actually launch a new venture. Builder is the perfect next step for graduates of the Wond’ry Ideator program, entrepreneurs with a validated product, technology, or service that have already engaged in customer discovery efforts, found product-solution fit, and would like to learn how to launch a new non-profit or for-profit venture or pursue a licensing deal.

Outline:

Session 1- Intro and recap value propositions, customer segmentation, ecosystem mapping, and the Business Model Canvas
Session 2- MVP development, how to develop and test assumptions about product-market fit, design a pilot
Session 3- Organizational design and entity formation
Session 4- Customer relationships and marketing, sales and channel strategies
Session 5- Key activities
Session 6- Key resources, IP strategy
Session 7- Key partners
Session 8- Creating a financial model, cost structures, and funding a venture
Session 9- How to pitch an idea, business model vs. business plan, product-market fit evaluation, next steps

A limited number of microgrants are awarded to participants displaying a high level of commitment to pursuing the idea and have sufficient evidence that supports its merit. For participants in Builder that are working on STEM ideas, receiving microgrant funding from the Wond’ry makes you eligible to apply to the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Program. Acceptance into the National I-Corps Program provides a $50K non-dilutive grant!

How to Determine if Builder is Right for You

In order to participate, you must be an active student, faculty, or staff member at a university located in the Southeast region. Builder participants should have an idea for which they have found problem-solution fit and be working to achieve product-market fit. Problem-solution fit  is defined as having a customer segment identified with at least one value proposition (need) for that segment and that both (segment and vp) can be defended with evidence from your customer discovery. Builder participants need to have time to commit to the program sessions plus an additional ~5 hours per week for customer discovery, office hours, and mentor meetings. If you have any questions about whether you and your idea is a good fit, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Wond’ry team at thewondry@vanderbilt.edu.

Dates

The Builder Program will begin on Saturday, February 20th and conclude on April 17th. Each participant that attends all the sessions will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a group of investors, entrepreneurs, faculty members, and Wond’ry staff for potential microgrant funding and additional mentorship.

Time and Location

All sessions for the Spring 2021 cohort will be held virtually via Zoom on Saturdays. The kick-off session will be 2 hours in length, but all other sessions will be 1 hour in length (start time will likely be around 12 or 1 CT, but we want to be flexible and work with the participants to pick the best time). There are 9 sessions total, not including the pitch competition, which will take place on Saturday, April 24th.

Expectations

If you did not complete the Wond’ry’s Ideator Program prior to applying for the Builder Program, you must submit a log of customer interviews completed, insights gathered from those interviews, and a document that lists your value proposition and initial customer segment. If you did participate in Ideator, but did not achieve problem-solution fit by the end of that program, you will submit the same information listed above to show how you were able to find a value proposition for a defined customer segment through additional evidence gathered after Ideator concluded. Participants are required to attend all sessions of Builder if they want a chance to pitch for microgrant funding.

In addition to the video content and weekly discussion meetings, participants will have access to office hours with the instructors and mentoring sessions with members of the Wond’ry’s mentoring program.

Application

The Spring 2021 cohort is now in session, so applications are currently CLOSED.

Up to 3 people working on the same idea can apply to participate. Each team member should submit an application but can use the same information on the application to describe the idea and answer the questions about the work to date.

Application deadline for the next cohort will be announced when finalized.

Program Support

Support for the creation of this program was provided via a Faculty Grant from VentureWell.