Many of the most successful companies have been created by technologists, but many technologists fail to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career pathway because it is difficult to gain exposure to entrepreneurship. Students in this class will experience, firsthand, new product development based on an idea conceived of by your group. Your group will nurture your idea by clearly defining your product, obtaining market feedback, building an initial proof-of-concept, and pitching to investors. While there is no requirement that your product become a new technology venture, this class is meant to serve as a launchpad for the first three months of a startup for those interested in pursuing their ideas further. The fundamental belief, however, is that the entrepreneurial experience provided in this class can support you whether you develop new products in your large corporate enterprise or do pursue entrepreneurship in a startup of your own, and all students are encouraged to consider this course no matter your career trajectory or level of technical proficiency.
The class is broken into the following key segments:
- Weeks 1 - 4: Product definition and market feedback
- Weeks 5 - 7: Minimum viable product (MVP) development
- Weeks 8 - 10: Product demo and investor pitch
The MVP component of the course is flexible. Students have run the gamut from building algorithms in Excel to building a mobile app from scratch to advance their idea forward. The class is generally graded on how much you grow the product and your own understanding of it in the quarter. Complex technology projects are not discouraged or encouraged, rather, the focus is simply on growth and using some element of technology and feedback from the marketplace to advance your idea forward.