Venture Development Workshops

Lilie’s Venture Development Workshops (VDW) series exists to provide the Rice entrepreneurial ecosystem an open-invitation event that combines learning with doing.

Lilie brings together folks from diverse backgrounds together to learn about how ventures grow and progress from the ideation phase to building a sustainable business model. The aim of the VDW workshop is to not only arm attendees with actionable knowledge moving forward, but to also give founders and/or teams the chance to actually work ON their idea as part of the workshop. Don’t have an idea yet? No worries, we’ll have a problem space or idea generator to give you something to work with during the workshop. The idea here is that these skills are built just like muscles; the more times you flex that muscle, the stronger it becomes. Come flex your entrepreneurial muscle with us!

VDW workshops are designed to be stand-alone programs, though the greatest benefit can be realized by attending all the workshops. Open to any current Rice student or alum, each VDW workshop is a focused look at a particular phase of venture development. We’ll start the series at the Design Thinking and Ideation phases, and continue to later phases such as Customer Acquisition and Business Model development. We’ll also be collaborating with participants to see what topics THEY’D like to see in a VDW in the future, and building that into our program later on.

Fall 2022 Schedule

Customer Definition

Monday, September 26, 2022 – 6:00pm-8:00pm

Who is your customer? In this session, we’ll learn how to identify what is arguably the most important player in your business: the paying customer. We’ll go over how to define potential customers and markets, how to research your top markets, define and identify a place to start (a “beachhead market”), and learn how to identify a specific end user, calculate the Total Addressable Market (TAM) of the beachhead market, learn about customer personas, and think about next steps.

Delaney Berman is leading this workshop! She is an MBA alum of the Rice Business School and founder of Berman Foods. She won Audience Choice at the Napier Rice Launch Challenge this year as well!

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Value Proposition/Customer Acquisition

Monday, October 3, 2022 – 6:00pm-8:00pm

In this session, we’ll think about how we solve our customers’ needs and how we find those who will be willing to pay for our product. We’ll have to consider how much value we bring to the table, who our core customers actually are, and think about our competition. Once we settle those questions, we’ll start to think about how we go about acquiring paying customers from a process-oriented perspective.

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Business Model Development

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 – 6:00pm-8:00pm

In this session, we’ll figure out how to build a sustainable business model for an innovative product. We’ll go over some common business models common to various industries, and think about the pros and cons of each. We’ll identify key parts of the business model such as pricing frameworks, Customer Lifetime Value, and Cost of Customer Acquisition, as well as give you a chance to practice these calculations on either your own idea or one of our pre-selected ideas.

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Designing and Building a Robust Product

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 – 6:00pm-8:00pm

In this session, we’ll start by identifying key assumptions about our business, then identifying ways to test those key assumptions to ensure our long-term success. Once we test these and adjust as needed, we’ll need to think about how to create a minimum viable product to put some money in our pockets and to start the customer feedback loop. We’ll be joined by real-world product managers whose sole focus is to continuously iterate on product design and feature sets.

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