Mission complete! In a New Zealand accelerator programme first, the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator Market Validation Course started on November 1st 2016 and ran for five weeks in Wellington and Auckland to help entrepreneurs become Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator programme ready.
The first half of the Market Validation Course focused on helping teams to comprehend the importance of market validation (getting to know your target market) and how to do it successfully. To do this, teams were supported in talking to as many target customers as possible to help them find potential user groups and identify core problems they could try to solve.
The second half of the Market Validation Course was focused on refining what they’d learnt, defining the core problem that each team wanted to focus on, deeply understanding the early adopters needs, and gaining momentum. This helped teams to gain clarity and focus on the right things, to allow them to hit the ground running in the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator programme.
All of the teams in the Market Validation Course were early stage, pre-seed (non-funded), startups with great ideas but didn’t yet have much clarity around the core problem they were solving and who they were solving it for.
“It’s been challenging yet rewarding to see the teams embrace the validation process, and the follow on ‘lightbulb moments’ that have come from it which have helped to significantly refine their ideas”, commented Natalie from The Validator.
The Market Validation Course encouraged teams to halt going straight into building a product, and instead take a step back and understand the most pressing problem and who their core audience is. This helped put them into a better position to build a product that people really want and are prepared to pay for.
“The feedback has been overwhelming, but the proof of how effective the programme has been has come from the outstanding progress the teams have made”, said Jeff from the Validator.
Participants were able to gain confidence in their ability to create a great company, an appreciation of the importance of validation, and a deep understanding of their customers and building something that people love.
“We have learnt so much over the last 5 weeks and cannot thank the Market Validation Course programme enough for the great content and support. Much of the content on this course has helped re-shape our thinking and direction. Even if we don’t progress to the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator, we will take a large number of gems from this course and apply them going forward with ProfitCubed and in our personal lives. This is such a great platform you have created - my hat goes off to you”, expressed Jono from ProfitCubed.
Participants were able to progress their ideas, their company purpose, and their confidence in making decisions, to a stage where they were ready to enter and excel in the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator.
“There are so many opportunities in an Kiwibank FinTech accelerator that if you haven’t developed a strong internal compass yet, it can be hard to make the most of the right opportunities and progress forward in the right direction”, Natalie from The Validator explained.
The course highlighted to some teams that they weren’t yet ready to enter the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator. Jeff from The Validator explained this was a “good outcome, because it’s better for everyone if the teams realise this now, rather than when they’re on the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator”.
Last words from Jeff Mann and Natalie Robinson
“We learned a great deal from the first Validator Program. 50% of the teams who entered the program were solo founders and approximately 25% of these were able to find co-founders during the program which was a great result considering the short time frame. However, in future we would like to be able to add more value here and already have plans in motions around enabling co-founder connections.
It’s been a great experience working with the Creative HQ team to deliver this program. We look forward to seeing the exciting results from the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator that follows.”
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