Blog: start something


On Feb. 28, students filled the tables in a workshop space at the Center for Engineering, Innovation and Design for a hands-on experience in designing and launching a company called Start Something. Taught by Alena Gribskov, program director of YEI and Kyle Jensen, an entrepreneur-in-residence at YEI, angel investor and scientist. the six-hour workshop was particularly geared toward students with an interest in commercializaing engineering-based innovations and was co-sponsored by the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science. Other Start Something workshops have focused on food businesses and sustainability concepts.

Start Something offers students a primer in the lean startup method which emphasizes early customer validation for a concept and iterative product releases that reflect customer feedback and input. Lean startup allows entrepreneurs to reduce market risk by determining cutomer need and willingness to buy before large investments come into play. A few scenes from the workshop are below. Want more? Check out our Flickr page!

alena start something

kyle start something

groups at start something yei

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By Brita Belli

start something yale

At Start Something on Oct. 11, YEI's crash course in the lean startup methodology, students were divided into groups based on their interests and challenged to come up with ideas for new startups. Inspirations included art hostels; customized prescription drugs; authentic, easy-to-eat Chinese food; a service to help companies complete environmental surveys; a clothing line; and even a deer repellent. The teams had time to discuss and present value proposition (the proposed benefits one is providing to a customer) and then to follow up with discussions about customer discovery, both key components of the lean startup method.

YEI Program Director Alena Gribskov who led the program along with serial entrepreneur Kyle Jensen, told the group: "There's no substitute for talking to customers. It can be very anxiety-inducing, because you have to talk to strangers. But until you do, you will not have real data -- you will only have assumptions."

See all the pictures from Start Something on the YEI Facebook page. Interested in joining? Another Start Something session is being planned for November.

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