Lean Startups Invade 1871

Joe Miller

The Chicago Lean Startup Circle is excited to be hosting our first meeting at 1871, the digital startup center located at the Merchandise Mart.  Earlier this week, we took a tour of the 50,000 square foot incubation hub for the Chicago tech community and couldn't help being blown away by this incredible space. 

For this inaugural meetup we want to highlight local startups practicing Lean Startup and Customer Development principles.  We picked three member companies to give down to earth, real world examples about challenges they have tackled.  Join Chicago's smartest entrepreneurs for some rapid learning loops April 19th at 1871.

eSpark Learning: Flintstoning Your MVP

eSpark Learning's David Vinca will share how his 10 month old individualized learning startup  "flintstoned" their first minimum viable product (MVP) using paper, and how tackling their biggest risks early with minimal experiments helped them prove their value proposition, get into Dave McClure's 500 Startups Accelerator, raise a first round of funding, and gain 28 school districts and charters as as customers in seven states in the US and Canada.  

Experiments, Metrics and Tools

GoSoapBox is used during class to break down participation barriers, keeping students engaged, and giving teachers insight into student comprehension that was never before possible.  Students and teachers join a GoSoapBox event through their laptops, smartphones, or tablets, and interact during class. GoSoapBox is anonymous among students, so teachers will hear questions and opinions that they never would have otherwise. 

GoSoapBox is the winner of the 2011 Lean Startup Challenge, has been incubating at Pathfinder Software since January, and have moved from beta users to paying customers.  

GoSoapBox Founder and CEO John Pytel will talk about the experiments they've run, metrics they use and the tools they use to measure.

The Pivot

Shortlist started out as A Space Apart, was accepted into Excellerate Labs 2011 class, and emerged 12 weeks later as Shortlist, which helps you make more meaningful connections at professional events.  

Shortlist Founder and CEO Jason Goodrich will talk about how Shortlist pivoted to their current customer segment where they started to gain traction.  

The Agenda

We'll start promptly at 5:30 with announcements and a five minute intro to lean startup, and then each company will present for 15 minutes. Afterwards, they'll take questions from the audience, followed by Beer, Pizza and networking.

So what are you waiting for? 

Join Chicago's smartest entrepreneurs for some real world lessons.

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