Week Six at the R9 Accelerator… MVPs, EAAs, IP… so many acronyms to learn… HWP=Halfway point, time for a halfway pint! #AcceleratorLife

Week six means that we’re officially half way through the R9 Accelerator programme…

The focus now is ‘MVP’ iteration. This is when ideas of a solution begin to be created. This second stage is based around the ‘Minimal Viable Product’, producing, testing and then reiterating the ‘solution’.

In a way the name MVP is a misleading, using the word “product” implies some sort of finished piece, when in reality it’s not even a prototype. After reading ‘The Lean Startup’ book by Eric Ries, my interpretation of an MVP is:
A product with the fewest, but most useful and necessary, components built to provide a solution, that can be used to learn more about the user, and develop a better solution in the ‘next stage’.

For the R9 teams, it’s also a really useful tool to find out more about the customer, problem area and solution you can provide for them. The point of their MVPs is to test a hypothesis and ‘validate’ the business.
(As a note) In comparison, a prototype is further down the line from the MVP, and is used to test the technical, mechanical or design aspects of the product. 

Although teams at this stage are only creating MVPs, they are looking to gain customer traction – and, more importantly, visible validation in the form of signed contracts…
Contracts in the startup world at this stage (where the products aren’t ‘final’ versions) are known as ‘Early Adopter Agreements’. This means the EAAs can define what the product aims to do for the customer, what the customer will get out of it, but not always the form of the service that will be provided (so that it can change as the product does)…


Lab Tech Life

The week was filled with events and sessions with the teams, so we did a lot of organising and prep!

Rob’s awesome fruit-carving skills made a reappearance to celebrate R9’s interactions with government. Half of the teams pitched during the latest Meet & Experience session, with visitors from government – while the others could take note for next time.

I also worked on more of the branding elements for OneX, including their new business cards.

We had our second One Track Dance Party – hosted by the Cohelix team, spinning us into a ‘Happy’ frenzy…

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Pictures:
Rob’s spectacular fruit platters – making another appearance at one of the Meet & Experience events – this time with Feijoas (first time for me to try them too!)
OneX business card development
Our second instalment of the One-Track Dance Party
Info sharing session, with Anske Janssen

7×7 Pitching Challenge

Following on from my post last week, the R9 teams took on Nick Gerritsen’s challenge to pitch for a spot at the 7×7 event…

Nick had challenged to teams to think about the big impact their projects could potentially have… and to propose these opportunities within a 2 minute pitch.

This was chance for all of the teams to pitch in front of each other, the Lab Tech team and Nick himself, before a communal vote was carried out.

The vote reflected the values Nick had spoken of the previous week, as well as:
• Best pitch delivery
• Strongest articulation of solution
• Most transformational concept on a scale of innovation, social responsibility and global perspectives

The teams did great, and the voting was pretty close in the end… but come back for next week’s blog post and review of the 7×7 event to find out who won!

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Pictures – the teams pitching for a 7×7 spot…

Field trip, to Chapman Tripp

Mid-week the entire cohort was out on a field-trip, to the offices of Wellington-based law-firm Chapman Tripp.

Chapman Tripp is a law firm in New Zealand, working across many different industries, including government relations, corporate and commercial law. The team over at CT will be available for the teams to consult with, as they figure out what legal terms they may need to have in place further down the line.

Josh and Tim took the morning with the cohort to speak about some of the key legalities teams may face over the coming weeks and months, as they decide what business model they plan to use and start signing ‘Early Adopter Agreements’…
CT also provided the teams with information around Intellectual Property rights as a general, so that they can start thinking about whether it is necessary to register patents, consider the copyright status of their work etc.
In most cases, a patent won’t be necessary, as they aren’t building something physical, but still really useful knowledge to have when considering what will happen to the projects post-Demo Day…

From a personal view, it was a great session, and I came away with a richer knowledge around Intellectual Property especially – so I think I can speak on behalf of the rest of the R9 team – thank you to Josh and Tim, and to the rest of the team at Chapman Tripp in advance. I’m sure that many of the teams will be approaching CT for advice over the coming weeks.

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Pictures – Over at the Chapman Tripp offices, in Wellington CBD, where Josh and Tim gave the R9 cohort a crash-course in IP and business models…