[Startup Experience Fall 2021 will be hybrid until new Aalto policy]
Do you want to learn about how to create new business and make an impact? Do you want to join or set up a startup within sustainable development goals (SDGs)? In the Startup Experience course, you will learn useful skills to help you get new businesses off the ground!
Startup Experience teaches students how to run an early stage, scalable startup to create social and economic value while solving a sustainability-related problem. The course provides an entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities. Within the course, students will work on venture ideas within Sustainable Development Goals.
The course will suit a person who is adaptive, collaborative and creatively driven, who is interested in going beyond conventional thinking practices to create effective teams and commercial value.
Startup experience course
What do students of the Startup Experience think about the course?
This is what Bas Burma, CEO of CodeSandbox, thought about the course:
"The startup experience course helped me get more insight into specific parts of entrepreneurship like Finance and Strategy. These insights are really useful because as an entrepreneur you fulfil different roles in your startup and need to know a bit about everything"
After the course, Bas and his co-founder Ives van Hoorne, raised $2.4M seed funding for their company (that they have started already before Bas joined Startup Experience).
And this is what Sean Corr, an exchange student at Aalto, thought about. In the video, Sean talks about his experience at Aalto and in particular what he learned by participating in the Startup Experience course.
The course is open to all Aalto students. To registration could be done on Oodi.
The deadline for the registration is January 11, 2021. The course starts with 3 kick-off sessions (Tuesday 12.1 at 13:15-16:00, Wednesday 13.1. at 9:15-12:00 and Thursday 14.1. 14:15-16:00) You must participate in all 3 kick-off sessions in order to be accepted to the course.
Before or simultaneously with Startup experience course we recommend you to take 2 credits online course “Starting up” - https://starting-up.org/en/ and/or 1 credit online course TU-C2080 Entrepreneurship Essentials.
How much will you work
The course runs for the two periods. Each week there are two contact sessions, one workshop and pitching session on Tuesdays 13:15-16:00 and a lecture session on Thursdays 14:15-16:00. The Tuesday session is focused on value creation, discovering and defining the product or service that the teams are working towards. The Thursday session is focused on operation topics such as teamwork, leadership, finance, marketing and operations.
The expected workload of this 9 ECTS course is ca 243h, which translates to the weekly workload of approximately ca 20h during the two first teaching periods of autumn 2020 including the 5 hours of mandatory class time each week. There will be team deadlines on most weeks, so we recommend that you do not take another large project course while participating in this one.
What will you learn
The objectives of the course and the teams are to use good lean and agile practices to research a user need or desire, define a business (product or service, business model, pricing etc) to fulfil the need and manage the team towards successful implementation of the business.In the course you will learn different skill sets:
To identify sustainable and scalable business opportunities
To pitch business ideas and ventures
To apply knowledge about marketing, user research, idea validation, experimentation and prototyping, and financial literacy for one’s endeavour
To work in and lead diverse teams
To work effectively with different tools for team working and communicating remotely
To take ownership and responsibility for one’s own work
To develop self-awareness and self-management skills, including time management and personal wellbeing
To think outside the box and be more innovative
To cope with challenges and know how to fail & pivot after having practised resilience in a safe environment
To think critically and through ethical and sustainable lenses
The pedagogy is experiential, hands-on learning which exposes students (as far as possible) to real-world challenges and overcoming them using the entrepreneurial process. The course includes mostly workshops and hands-on team assignments based on venture ideas.
Below you can see out course outcome in terms of company pitches by two teams from the Spring 2019 course.
Experience what it’s like to found and run a startup, without actually having to set up a company. During this course, you will learn the essentials of entrepreneurship: user-centred product and service design, business ethics and sustainability, opportunity recognition, business modelling, teamwork, pitching, startup finance and marketing. That is, everything you need to navigate the fast-paced and unpredictable commercial environment, or even become a founder.
While the focus of the course is on setting up a new business as a startup, the skills you will learn are equally valuable in the context of existing companies. The course will suit a person who is adaptive, collaborative and creatively driven. Who is interested in going beyond conventional thinking practices to create effective teams and commercial value.
During the course, students work in small start-up teams that together go from initial problem definition all the way to the final investor pitch. Teamwork is one of the main learning skills of the course and simultaneously one of the biggest challenges for students. Throughout the course, students will have team dynamic clinics and reflections to support the teamwork. At AVP, students don’t just work in groups but build actual teams.
The course takes a firm stand in preventing burnouts which is why students will also learn about time management and focus on personal wellbeing. By the end of the course, students will not only have created a new venture but also gone through the project in a sustainable way. Through different exercises, students will be able to turn wellbeing-boost lessons into life-long skills.
How we work
The course is a project course where students will form small companies (read: multidisciplinary teams). These companies develop new business within the topic of SDGs and also manage the company in a simulation of how you would manage a small startup.
The teams will choose the topics to proceed with. Thus, students can have their own business idea within the topic of SDGs. It is not mandatory, but if you are convincing enough, your team might work on your topic.
Once the team has been formed, all members will in turn act as the person in charge of the team's operations, we call this role COO (Chief Operating Officer). This means that all participants will, in turn, get a chance to practice their leadership skills.
In addition to project and team working track, all students will follow Good Life Engine track by maintaining well-being and/or self-development routines during the course.
Grading System for Startup Experience
The course is graded 0-5.
For more information, contact the course assistant:
Teddy Duy Tran, email@example.com, AVP
Course teachers:If you are registered to the course, please check the welcome package in the announcement.
Kalle Airo, firstname.lastname@example.org, AVP
Heidi Mikkonen, email@example.com, AVP
Zoom Link for Startup Experience Spring 2020 Page
Zoom link for lectures: https://aalto.zoom.us/j/69384312474Any changes will be announced in the forums.
Sprint Week Date Description Assignment1 2 Tuesday 12.1. Introduction to Startup Experience and course practicalities 2 Wednesday 13.1. Team formation - interviews / intro for team formation 2 Thursday 14.1. What is a startup? How to validate a business idea? Presenting user research, the concept of MVP, experimentation? 3 Tuesday 19.1. Team track 3 Thursday 21.1. Innovation 7 domain models2 4 Tuesday 26.1. Team track 2 Deadline for assignments 4 Thursday 28.1. Ideation workshop / Problem first / Value proposition canvas 5 Tuesday 2.2. How to validate the problem? 5 Thursday 4.2. PROBLEM PRESENTATION (2 problems, who? what? why?)3 6 Tuesday 9.2. Data Analysis 1. & Micro-level market assessment - a.Target market’s pain identified Deadline for assignments 6 Thursday 11.2. Pitch training 7 Tuesday 16.2. Data Analysis 2. Micro-level market assessment continues 7 Thursday 18.2. PROBLEM PITCH WINTER HOLIDAY 22-26.2.2020 8 / EXAM WEEK TEAM BUILDING WEEK - TEAM TRACK SESSION (NO TEACHING (teachers on holiday)4 9 Tuesday 2.3. Macro-level market assessment / Market estimation / Product-Market Fit Deadline for assignments 9 Thursday 4.3. Business Model / Disruption? / Unite Economy 10 Tuesday 9.3. Marketing & Sales (next Thursday cash flow ) 10 Thursday 11.3. SPRINT 4 | CONCEPT PITCH (PROBLEM + SOLUTION, Problem-Solution Fit)5 11 Tuesday 16.3. Finance/ Investment, part 1. Deadline for assignments 11 Thursday 18.3. Finance / cost structure, budgeting (cap table) 12 Tuesday 23.3. Finance / negotations? 12 Thursday 25.3. PITCH 3. BUSINESS MODEL PITCH (inc. Finance)6 13 Tuesday 30.3. Checklist for startups, like important documents (shareholder agreement, company bylaws), ecosystem Deadline for assignments 13 Thursday 1.4. TBA 14 Tuesday 6.4. Easter - no session 14 Thursday 8.4. PITCH 4. REHEARSAL PITCH / VIDEO EXAM WEEK 15 Tuesday 13.4. FINAL PITCHES - Public Event - Team track - wrap up Individual Exams 15.4.2002 SE ENDS
Group forums are for group members (including COO) to post their individual self-reflection every sprint. The COO would review and compose a report discussing the progress made by the whole team and commenting on the individual self-reflection. The course assistant will review the report and give feedback to the report specifically and go through the self-reflections to verify the report.
Every two weeks, each student is required to prepare to answer a set of questions that are aimed towards exploring the progress and the commitment made by the team and each member. Students are encouraged to be honest and reflective in their self-reflections. Questions regarding the lectures' learning outcomes, project progression and team dynamics would be the focal points of most reflections. COOs are required to prepare this as well along with the report. Reflections need to be submitted on time and be in-depth.
Self-reflections are to be posted on group forums by 21:00 of Thursday end of every sprint
COO Report instructions
COOs are required to compose a report that includes their team members' progress and comment on their member's commitment and learning. Most importantly, COOs need to be aware of biases and to be subjective when writing the reports. The reports will be reviewed by the Course Assistant, who will go through the reports to have a clear look at the progress made by each team and team members. CA will then comment on the report to give feedback to the teams and the COOs. There will be more information and guidelines regarding this during the orientation day. COO report will also be posted in the respective group forums under a different discussion thread.
COO report is due by 21:00 Friday, the last day of every sprint
COO Debrief Instructions
COOs will be attending Debrief every second Thursday of each sprint. During the Debrief, COOs will be discussing with one another and the teaching crew about how their teams are doing and what can be improved. Key questions are listed below:
- Team Mood - How is your team doing?
- Describe how you have managed your team during this sprint? (ie. decision making, task distribution, time management and meeting arrangement)
- What kind of challenges that you face and any positive surprises?
- What are you proud of as a COO?
- How do you plan to perform the transfer of knowledge to the next COO?
Sprint Week Date Description Assignment1 2 Tuesday 12.1. Introduction to Startup Experience and course practicalities 2 Wednesday 13.1. Team formation - interviews / intro for team formation 2 Thursday 14.1. What is a startup? How to validate a business idea? Presenting user research, the concept of MVP, experimentation? 3 Tuesday 19.1. Team track starts Mon18.1 Individual Commitment 3 Thursday 21.1. Innovation 7 domain models Thu 21.1. Reading package
Sprint Week Date Description Assignment2 4 Tuesday 26.1. Team track 2 Deadline: Monday 9pm 4 Thursday 28.1. Ideation workshop / Problem first / Value proposition canvas 5 Tuesday 2.2. How to validate problem? 5 Thusday 4.2. PROBLEM PRESENTATION (2 problems, who? what? why?) Slide submission: Wednesday 9pm
Sprint Week Date Description Assignment3 6 Tuesday 9.2. Pitch training Deadline Monday 9pm 6 Thursday 11.2. Data Analysis 1 workshop for micro-level market assessment 7 Tuesday 16.2. Data Analysis 2. Micro-level market assessment continues: 7 Thursday 18.2. PROBLEM PITCH Slide submission Wednesday 9pm
Sprint Week Date Description Assignment4 9 Tuesday 2.3. Macro-level market assessment / Market estimation / Product-Market Fit 9 Thursday 4.3. Business Model / Disruption? / Unit Economy 10 Tuesday 9.3. Marketing & Sales (next Thursday cash flow ) 10 Thursday 11.3. SPRINT 4 | CONCEPT PITCH (PROBLEM + SOLUTION, Problem-Solution Fit) Slide submission Wednesday 9pm
Sprint Week Date Description Assignment5 11 Tuesday 16.3. Finance/ Cap table and budget, part 1. Deadline Monday 9pm 11 Thursday 18.3. Finance / Investment 12 Tuesday 23.3. Finance / negotiations 12 Thursday 25.3. PITCH 3. BUSINESS MODEL PITCH (inc. Finance) Slide submission Wednesday 9pm
Sprint Week Date Description Assignment6 13 Tuesday 30.3. Checklist for startups, like important documents (shareholder agreement, company bylaws), , ecosystem Deadline Monday 9pm 13 Thursday 1.4. TBA 14 Tuesday 6.4. Easter - no session 14 Thursday 8.4. PITCH 4. REHEARSAL PITCH / VIDEO Slide submission Wednesday 9pm