For the past 12 weeks, The Shrimp Society has been guiding 115 local entrepreneurs on how to launch a tech startup through the Built in Miami Startup Program.
Entrepreneurs entered the first part of the program, Zero to One Sprint, to go “idea to prototype” in May. Then they moved on to Builders Summer in late June where they met over 100 local developers to recruit a technical team and go “prototype to MVP”.
I’m excited to share that we’ve launched 20 new startups at the end of our Builders Summer Program!
About Builders Summer
Over the last five weeks, entrepreneurs in our program have been focused on recruiting technical talent to their startup and then launching a working MVP to Product Hunt.
Phase 1: Meet and Recruit Talent - We had over 100 local developers, engineers, and UI/UX professionals join Builders Summer to launch new startups with our existing founders from Zero to One Sprint. In the first two weeks, founders and builders met in a variety of interactive ways to evaluate working together.
Phase 2: Build MVPs - The next two weeks were focused on building products. We had technical office hours available, legal support, and a handful of workshops on launching MVPs to get founders and builders prepared. We also provided free coworking space at Office Logic for everyone in the program so they could collaborate.
Phase 3: Launch to Product Hunt - The final week was focused on a successful MVP launch on Product Hunt. We had a dedicated workshop on best practices for launching, had founders create a content plan to line up with launch, and think through fulfillment once they have users and customers come to their product.
All in all, the program was successful and exceeded my expectations. Bringing 100+ local founders and 100+ local builders (technical talent) together to launch startups created such incredible energy. The optimism, support, and enthusiasm during the program was inspiring.
The main challenge was finding enough local technical talent to support 100+ founders. While dozens of founders were able to recruit a technical team to join the startup through the program, others used no code tools, development shops, or off-shore teams to get their product launched. For the next iteration of this program, we’re thinking through ways to improve this local talent matching.
Product Hunt Launches
We had 12 new startups launched on Product Hunt last week and we have another 10 planning to launch in the coming weeks. We had two products reach the Top 10 on Product Hunt during launch week, and collectively had hundreds of upvotes and dozens of comments from users excited about these products.
Here is a thread of all the new startups that have launched so far:
Please take a look at these new startups and upvote, comment, and share on social media to support them.
Throughout the past twelve weeks, I’ve held over 200 hours of office hours with our early stage entrepreneurs, coached them through various challenges, and pushed entrepreneurs to focus on their product scope. Here are a few observations from working with entrepreneurs in this stage:
- Creating deadlines are the best forcing functions: By setting a launch date of July 28th, we pushed entrepreneurs to ship quickly, narrow the MVP feature set, and focus on user feedback to drive the product features. Dozens of founders pushed their product to launch in five weeks instead of five months by having a clear deadline. If you’re an entrepreneur in the idea phase, setting a hard deadline to launch while help focus your attention and output.
- You can launch an MVP even if you can’t find technical talent: While many of our entrepreneurs were able to find and recruit technical talent to build their MVP, there were also many that did not. We encouraged founders that did not find technical talent to launch no code software products using Bubble.io, Flutter Flow, Shopify, Wix, and other no code platforms. It’s amazing what you can do with these platforms and many founders launched using these tools. I was inspired by the creativity and determination founders showed to launch using these tools.
- Launching an MVP creates huge momentum and belief for entrepreneurs: There is a noticeable difference in the belief, determination, and seriousness of founders that were able to launch a product compared to the pre-product or idea stage founders. This is probably obvious, but it’s important to emphasize. Entrepreneurs can spend months ideating, working on their website, doing customer research, etc. but the minute they launch an MVP, the startup journey really starts. The feedback loops, feature insight, and foundation that they can build upon creates momentum for recruiting, traction, and honing in on solving the problem their product satisfies.
Observation #3 is the reason our program culminated in Product Hunt launch. “Entrepreneurs” turned into “Founders” once their product was launched.
Applications to the Miami Accelerator are open until August 3rd. The 8-week program starts on August 14th and goes through September. This program is for post-product startups and has two focuses:
- Traction - Getting those first 10, 100, or 1000 users on their product. We teach and test a wide range of marketing and sales strategies for founders to find their first set of users. Given the early stage investment climate right now, we focus on getting those user graphs “up and to the right” to give founders the best opportunity to raise capital.
- Investment Prep - With a working MVP and some early traction, we prep founders for raising capital from angel and pre-seed investors. We take founders through a structured due diligence process in order to prepare for Demo Day and raising capital.
This program is open to founders in the South Florida area that have a working MVP or product and are looking to raise early stage capital to grow their startup. This program is totally free thanks to Venture Miami.
Apply here if you’re interested in participating, please apply here.
Thank you to all of the entrepreneurs, partners, mentors, and Builders who participated in Zero to One Sprint and Builders Summer. It’s been incredible to watch these founders bring their ideas to life. I’m excited to do this program bigger and better next Spring.