The LLP@Tecnico program makes students act as entrepreneurs to experience the challenges of finding and executing a new business opportunity, designing a business model and applying agile engineering and customer development.
The program provides real-world, hands-on learning on what it’s like to actually start a company. This class is not about how to write a business plan. It’s not an exercise on how smart you are in a classroom or how well you use the research library to size markets. The end result is not a report that no one reads.
This is an experiential program. Our goal, within the constraints of a classroom and a limited amount of time, is to create an entrepreneurial experience for you with all of the pressures and demands of the real world in an early stage startup. The class is designed to give you the experience of how to work as a team and turn an idea into a company.
You will be talking to customers, partners, and competitors, as you encounter the chaos and uncertainty of how a startup actually works. You’ll practice evidence-based entrepreneurship as you learn how to use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company and customer development to get out of the classroom to see whether anyone other than you would want or use your product. Based on the customer and market feedback, you will use agile development to rapidly iterate your product to build something customers would actually use and buy. Each block will be a new adventure outside the classroom as you test each part of your business model and then share the hard-earned knowledge with the rest of the class.
The LLP@Técnico program is currently available for students of the Technology-Based Entrepreneurship course or as an optional track for the course on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology Transfer.
“Clear goals, clear tasks and a lot of help from teachers”, Oleksandr, Ukraine, LLP@Técnico Spring 2018.
“When I saw the slide about the LLP roller coaster I was like, okay, hopefully things
will get better, and they did, it was really nice”, Adam, Hungary, LLP@Técnico Spring 2018.
“It was a very nice experience for me”, Olushola, Nigeria, LLP@Técnico Spring 2018.
“I would recommend the model, starting by the format as well as by the experience that you gain by contacting customers and startup problems. This is valuable for life.”
“Hang-on! Yes, it is a lot of work, you will be on the spot every week, but in the end, you will a business model that you can be proud of.”
“It will be great for your personal development, but be aware that it will take your time. You will wake up every morning thinking on LLP”
“This course prepares us for the real world.”
Examples of Final Lessons Learned Videos
SwimPro – LLP@Técnico Spring 2015
Notifly – LLP@Técnico Fall 2015
GeniePet – LLP@Técnico Fall 2015
Who can attend?
This is a limited capacity elective program offered to several IST’s academic programs. Students can follow the program by enrolling the course on Technology-Based Entrepreneurship or the course on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology Transfer. These courses can be attended by students of the following academic programs:
- Master in Energy Engineering and Management (MEGE)
- Integrated Master in Electrical and Computer Engineering (MEEC)
- Integrated Master in Aerospace Engineering (MEAer)
- Master in Information Systems and Computer Engineering (MEIC-A)
If you are in a different academic program, you can select this course as a free elective course but you may need approval by your program coordinator. Contact one of the instructors if you need help with it.
Get out of the building
You will be spending a significant amount of time in between each of the lectures outside the class talking to customers. Each week your team will conduct at least 10 customer interviews focused on a specific part of the Business Model Canvas. This class is a simulation of what startups and entrepreneurship are like in the real world: chaos, uncertainty, impossible deadlines in insufficient time, conflicting input, etc.
Unlike a traditional classroom where the instructor presents lecture material, this course lectures are online. Watching the assigned lectures is part of your weekly homework. The information in them is essential for you to complete your weekly interviews and present the insights the teaching team will expect in your presentation for that week. We expect you to watch the assigned lectures for the upcoming week before class and we will use time in class to discuss questions about the lecture material and to provide supplemental material. You need to come prepared with questions or comments about the material for in-class discussion. We will cold-call about the online lecture material.
The instructors will be sitting in the back of the classroom together with mentors and invitees that are professionals who’ve built and/or funded startups and have a lot of experience in working with entrepreneurial teams. We won’t be “lecturing” in the traditional sense, but commenting on and critiquing each team’s progress. While the comments may be specific to each team, the insights are almost always applicable to all teams. While other teams are presenting the results of their weekly experiments, the rest of the class is expected to attentively listen, engage, and react to what they see and hear. Sharing insights, experience, and contacts with each other is a key way that this unique laboratory achieves results.
This class is team-based. Working and studying will be done in teams. The teams will self-organize and establish individual roles on their own. There are no formal CEO/VPs. Just the constant parsing and allocating of the tasks that need to be done. Besides the instructors, each team will be assigned a mentor (an experienced entrepreneur or VC) to provide assistance and support.
Teams must start with a project proposal. Team projects can be software, a physical product, or a service of any kind. While your first instinct may be a web-based startup, we suggest that you consider a subject in which you are a domain expert. In all cases, you should choose something for which you have passion, enthusiasm, and hopefully some expertise. Teams that select a Web or mobile-based product will have to build the site or app for the class. Do not select this type of project unless you possess the necessary skill and are prepared to see it all the way through.
Meaningful Customer Discovery requires the development of a minimum viable product (MVP). Therefore teams are expected to create landing pages and build prototypes.
Every team will present a weekly in-class presentation with a summary of progress. Everything must also be registered in an online platform that will be used by the instructors to measure the teams progress.
This course is team-based and 85% of your grade will come from your team progress and the final project. The grading criteria are broken down as follows:
15% Individual participation. The base grade is the team’s grade that will be multiplied by factors that compare individual participation with the team’s participation (1 means same participation as the team). The factors are:
a) Written peer-to-peer comments provided throughout the semester, during class presentations in the course web platform
b) Attendance at each class
c) Timely viewing of ALL Udacity videos
d) Participation assessment from fellow teams members at the end of the course, (form filled by each team member assessing the relative participation of each team members performance and productivity throughout the semester).
40% Out-of-the-building Customer Discovery. The progress is measured each week by
a) Quality and number of weekly interviews in the course registered in the web platform
b) Weekly canvas updates on the course web platform
c) Quality and number of hypotheses created, tested, validated or invalidated as registered in the course web platform
d) Exceptional activity and perseverance in customer discovery (hard to get interviews, creative interviewers engagement, etc.)
e) Use of MVP, landing pages, digital marketing and other tools in the customer discovery process.
20% Team weekly “lessons learned” presentation. Team members may be called on randomly to present their team’s findings that week. The grading will take into consideration:
a) The number of interviews conducted that week on cover slide.
b) The detail and relevance of what the team did that week, including changes to Canvas.
c) If the presentation followed the assigned topics to be covered each week as outlined in the syllabus.
d) Creative contributions
25% Team final lessons learned presentation and video. This will be assessed by a panel of invited jurors including investors, entrepreneurs, and professors.
Week 1: Course presentation. Lecture on business model canvas, customer discovery and opportunity assessment.
Week 2: Q&A about business model canvas and customer discovery. The team presents canvas hypotheses. Lecture about value proposition.
Week 3: Product-market fit: value proposition. Q&A value proposition. Team presents value proposition findings. Lecture about customer segments.
Week 4: Product-market fit: customer segments. Q&A about customer segments findings. The team presents customer segments findings. Lecture about channels.
Week 5: Channels. Q&A about channel customer discovery. The team presents channel findings. Lecture about customer relationships.
Week 6: Customer relationships, get-keep-grow. Q&A about customer relationships. The team presents customer relationship findings. Lecture about revenue models.
Week 7: Revenue Streams. Unit economics. Payment low diagram. Q&A about revenue model. The team presents revenue model findings. Lecture about partners.
Week 8: Partners. Q&A about partners. Partner ecosystem map. Partner type hypotheses. The team presents activities findings. Lecture about resources, activities, and costs.
Week 9: Resources, activities, and costs. Metrics that matter. Q&A about resources, activities, and cost. The team presents resources, activities and cost structure findings. Lecture about final lessons learned presentation.
Week 10: Storytelling and final lessons learned training.
Week 11: Final lessons learned presentations. The team presents a 10-minute presentation and a 3-minute video on lessons learned and findings. Teaching team final advice.
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers, Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, ISBN: 978-0-470-87641-1, 2010.
The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company, Steve Blank, Bob Dorf, ISBN 9780984999309, 2012.