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Coordinating an industry advisory board for an entrepreneurship course


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Presented at NCIIA Open 2013 on how we recruit and cooridnate an industry advisory board for NUvention Web, a web entrepreneurship course taught at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL

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Coordinating an industry advisory board for an entrepreneurship course

  1. 1. The Role of Alumni in Interdisciplinary, Experiential Entrepreneurship Courses Todd Warren & Mike Marasco Northwestern University 3/22/2013 – NCIIA Open
  2. 2. Agenda • My journey from Alum to Adjunct • NUvention Overview • Alumni Engagement Structure • Creating and integrating alumni in curricula – Advisory Board – Broader Feedback • What works and what hasn’t • Alumni Engagement Playbook • Lessons Learned
  3. 3. Journey from Alum to Adjunct • 21+ year career at Microsoft – Many product areas: new and existing products – Taught at NU on a leave in 2001 • Engaged to teach after leaving Microsoft • Engineering Dean asked me to work with the entrepreneurship center • Led to NUvention Web • Joined a Venture Firm
  4. 4. What is NUvention? • Interdisciplinary/Experiential • What students are asking for • Alums with deep experience chair classes • Evolution of case based learning • Best simulation of creating a product/service and business • Start-ups are not a goal but nice follow-on validation • A partnership of students, faculty, alums, government, and industry • Expanding to Digital Media and Nano
  5. 5. Nuvention Web • Focused on Web or Mobile Applications • Business and Design and Software Engineering • Undergraduate and Graduate • Two Quarters • Mentored and Evaluated by Advisory Board
  6. 6. • Work together as a team to: – Develop a workable business concept – Research and classify customer needs – Design a compelling web or mobile product – Build and iterate the product in a team environment – Launch the product on the web – Attract and retain initial customers Course Goals NUvention team brings customer on stage
  7. 7. • Each Course has an Alum Chair – Coordinates teaching team and advisory board • Alums support and mentor teams – Guest Lecture, Guest Critique, Primary Mentors • Alums and Advisors on the Advisory Board – Mentor Teams, Attend Final Presentations, Give Feedback on the course structure • Share our projects with the broad Alumni Community – LinkedIn Groups 4 Ways we engage Alums/Advisors
  8. 8. • Ask Deans/Development – Often they are looking for a way to engage successful, entrepreneurial alumni • Cast a broad net – Ask them to meet or coach a team – Guest Critiques terrific in iCorp format – Use your Alumni’s Network – Attend Local Networking/Pitch Events – Ask students • Create a “big tent” – Engagement Levels Vary Engaging Alumni and Industry
  9. 9. • Before Class: Review Curriculum, Recruit for Lectures and critiques • Teams Selected: Get AB Feedback, preferences for mentoring • During Class: Teams Required to get feedback from AB Mentors • Quarter End: AB Meeting – 50-75% attendance Advisory Board Engagement
  10. 10. Full Name Expertise Connection Current Title Frank Barbieri Startup Founder Chair Connection SVP Corp Dev and Strategy, YuMe Viresh Bhatia Startup Founder Alumni / Local Founder, Installshield Jeffrey Bier Founder / Venture Capital Alumni Investor, Beir & Co. Bill Bliss Serial Startup CTO Alumni VP, VMWare Kapil Chaudhary Venture Capital Alumni / Local Managing Director, IA2 Fund Jim Ewel Startup CEO Chair Connection CEO, Adomotry Rick Fink Venture Capital Alumni Managing Director, Miramar Venture Partners Grant Gochnauer Startup Founder Alumni / Local Co-Founder, Vodori Gabe Greenbaum Venture Capital Alumni / Local Senior Associate, OCA Ventures Suneel Gupta Serial Startup PM Alumni VP, Product, Groupon Josh Hernandez Startup CEO Through Student / Local Founder & EVP, Warren Holtsberg Venture Capital Alumni / Local Managing Principle, MVC Capital Tim Krauskopf Serial Startup CTO Trustee / Local Principal, Round Lake Designs, LLC Paul Lee Venture Capital Local Venture Partner, Lightbank Bret Maxwell Venture Capital Alumni / Local Managing Partner, MK Capital Matt McCall Venture Capital Alumni / Local Partner, New World Ventures Kristin McConnell Startup CEO Alumni Founder, Limelife .com Jon McNeil CEO Alumni CEO, Enservio Steve Olechowski Startup Founder Alumni / Local CEO, Red Foundry Bill Pescatello Venture Capital Local Venture Partner, Lightbank Bob Plaschke CEO Alumni President and CEO, Sonim Technologies, Inc. Vivek Ragavan Startup CEO Alumni President and CEO, Actelis Networks Mary Lou Song Ebay employee #3 Trustee Co-founder Tokoni Rob Shurtleff Venture Capital Chair Connection Managing Director, Divergent Ventures Ben Slivka Startup CEO Trustee Trustee, Wissner-Slivka Foundation Steve Subar Startup CEO Local President and CEO, OK-Labs Hon Wong Startup CEO Alumni CEO, Symphoniq Dave Zwyer Venture Capital Alumni / Local Venture Partner, OCA Ventures Current AB Members and Expertise
  11. 11. • Decide Curricular goals for Engagement – Critique, Mentoring, Special Topic Expertise • Engage University/Community to Find Best Fit Connections • Meet with connections to refine plan • Design connection points within curriculum • Communicate regularly with Alums – Students and Faculty • Give them time to interact with each other when you bring together Alum/Industry Engagement Playbook
  12. 12. • Students need structure to engage effectively – Graded assignments, provide a play book • Make it easy for AB members to interact with Students – LaunchPad central too high a bar for most – Structured Feedback (e.g. Status Reports) Better • Students love Industry presenters, but it’s work to structure to fit curricular goals – Moderated Panels Best • Some Alums overachieve – Engage them more deeply Lessons Learned
  13. 13. Great for Students and Alums!
  14. 14. Contact us to learn more Todd Warren ( Michael Marasco ( Blog: This presentation will also be posted on slideshare
  15. 15. Appendix
  16. 16. NUvention Web ‘13 •Value Prop •Target Customer •Basic Scenario Problem ID •Persona •Target Market •Storyboards •Landing Page Segment Definition •Detailed Value Prop •Initial Product •Customer Trial MVP •Revenue Model •Potential Channels •Product Refinement Initial Pitch Scenario Slice MVP
  17. 17. NUvention Web ’13 - Spring • Re-visit Canvas • Re-Engage Customers • Dev Iterations Persist or Pivot? • Get, Keep, Grow • Engage Early Customers • Advanced Agile Acquire & Build • Launch • Customer Purchase/Trial • Cohort Analysis First Customer Ship • Business Model Proof • Refined Product • Customer Feedback Final Pitch Product and Customer Development Build MeasureLearn Build MeasureLearn Build MeasureLearn
  18. 18. Alums
  19. 19. 2012 Teams Sartorial continued over the summer in the NU Incubator, but was absorbed by Led by AB member and LightBank EIR- Josh Hernandez Alums involved: • Nik Roth-first startup coop student • Derek Morris-turned down Microsoft offer • Matt Gilk-turned down Microsoft offer
  20. 20. 3/12 Business Pitch Session Structure • AB Lunch/Ground Rules (noon) • 10 Minute Presentation per team • 10 Minute Q&A • Short reception and team meetings with AB coaches after class • Pitches will run until at least 4:30 • 6:00 Dinner of AB and Faculty Team
  21. 21. 3/12/13 Business Pitch Evaluation Form Team: _____________________ Reviewer Name: _____________________ (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree) Problem/Need team is pursuing was clearly explained and understood. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Comments: The team has a good understanding of their target users and customers who would buy/use their solution. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Comments: Convincing business case (market size, industry, competitive analysis, value prop, unfair advantage, etc.) was made for the opportunity. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Comments: Demo addresses the problem/need/ adequately. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Comments: Challenges/Risks of proposed solution were addressed. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Comments: The overall pitch was compelling and left you wanting to learn more. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Comments: Should the team pivot? YES NO (Circle one) Words of advice you would like to provide the team as they move forward?