As our calendar shifted to week 13, the teams were aware of how fulfilling a week was waiting ahead. Apart from the privilege of having 1:1 sessions with Jeff Abbott on the progress they were making and their concerns, the teams had the opportunity to hear presentations from 2 of our mentors. Meanwhile, we continue to get feedback from the teams regarding the path they have been following within the program, and will continue to share their valuable comments.
On Monday, we welcomed Bailey Farren, a Pitch Coach and team member at UC Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship. Bailey also serves as a data strategist at Anodot, which works for the goal of helping companies maximize their knowledge from their data. In her own words “At Anodot, it is my goal to work with companies and professionals looking for more efficient ways of automating their data analytics. By using AI rather than static thresholds, Anodot removes the headache of missing unknown-unknowns in business data that cost companies thousands of dollars and hours.” This allows preventing the hassle of manual labor and supports a more internal solution building process. We were excited to hear Bailey’s insight on tech and research in the Bay Area.
On Tuesday, we opened our doors to yet another mentor: Nagib Tharani, the product manager at Simple Legal. Nagib works in the areas of product and program management in technology, media, telecom and SaaS companies with a specialisation on international expansion. His presentation, named “The Founder as Chief Product Officer”, elaborated on product management. After the initial discussion of methods to structure product management and ensure product delivery, Nagib proceeded with 1:1’s with our teams. Nagib talked about his position in the company with the responsibility of program execution and operating KPI tracking. The programs and projects he develops works on selling his vision and providing frameworks to deliver this vision in startup and enterprise platforms. “Product management is a bit of everything and keeps everyone on the same page” he says. This job has the responsibility of getting data from prospective and existing customers, watching out for confirmation bias, including valuable metrics. “Either learn SQL really well or learn to bribe data scientists” Nagib jokes. The product manager is the painkiller and not the vitamin within the company according to Nagib, as vitamin add features but the product manager has to pick them out. The product manager has to be agile, ruthless with prioritization and know the difference between elegant and acceptable. If the customer is in pain, elegance is not the priority. What the customer will need can and will change. Thus, an elegant design to an outdated problem is wasted effort. Finally, the product manager should be able to correctly define success and understand what it looks like. We were really thankful for Nagib’s insight and valuable time.
On Wednesday, Yara Guetta-Weidberg, one of our mentors paid a visit to our office. Yaara is a senior manager at Mighty Capital, a company that builds “products that count”. She is experienced in technology and strategy development as an entrepreneur and uses this knowledge as a venture capitalist. Along with Yaara, we welcomed her partners Ron Gentile and Kunal Punjabi. Ron works as an innovative entrepreneur, product and strategy executive who has held leadership positions in the tech industry. On the other hand, Kunal is a hands-on product leader who is passionate about creating and marketing consumer products. We had a great time hearing about their expertise in investment sourcing & evaluation, as well as initiating and scaling go-to-market processes.
Regarding the feedback cycle, we started with the teams, we were excited to find out updates from Smart Mimic as they continue to talk to potential investors and customers. They shared that their target focus for the coming week will be website and social platform development.
As our teams continue their scaling within our program through making hires, continuing fundraising cycles, talking to investors and seeking out customers, we conclude yet another week extremely proud of the progress they have made. We are excited to keep sharing the feedback they provide us within the coming weeks as well as sharing notes from many more insightful mentoring sessions.