EXPERT ADVICE FOR THE START-UP PROCESS
The WORLDFACTORY team provides individual, yet structured support for start-ups. We are guided by Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas model, which means that we work on the individual start-up tasks according to this scheme. The Lean Canvas is ideal for planning young business models and assessing their potential at an early stage. We have added the field of “team” to the classic model, because it is just as important for success as the business idea.
How does the consultancy process work?
Based on your enquiry via email, contact form or social media, the coaches will assess the stage your team is at and the requirements for the initial consultation.
- Do you have general questions and are looking for guidance? The general initial consultation will help you get started and, if necessary, refer you to our network partners for further advice or brainstorming.
- Have you already formulated your start-up idea, drawn up a business plan or worked out other basics? In the structured initial consultation, we explain the start-up requirements and assist in the evaluation of your business model.
- Have you already created a Lean Canvas? Then send it to us before the initial consultation, even if it is not yet complete. It helps the coaches to assess your idea and your stage in the start-up process. It is best to send the files at least one day before your appointment so that the coaches have time to reflect on them. You can find the Lean Canvas here.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW
- We primarily advise start-up projects that are knowledge-based and/or internationally oriented and pursue a social impact.
- We do not have batches or cohorts, but each team has its own start-up coach. If the coach comes to the conclusion that we are the right address for your start-up after an initial consultation, the support begins. Your coach will accompany you until you leave WORLDFACTORY. In addition, you will meet other WORLDFACTORY associates in the course of the start-up process.
- Once you habe officially founded you company, we can no longer provide you our services for free. But don't worry - if you don't have enough money to pay for our services we are happy to offer you barter deals.
STEP BY STEP TO YOUR PROGRESS
As in top-class sports, your coach works out an individual "training schedule" together with the team at the beginning of the consultation, which forms the basis for a joint coaching agreement. The work plan structures the individual steps leading towards your foundation and also provides the basis for the coach to review your progress. Components of the work plan are: regular appointments with the coach, preparation for funding applications, in-depth workshops and expert consultations, external competitions or programs, development of prototypes in the Makerspace, mentoring, IP consulting and space requirements (e.g. office rooms). If you need support in working out the individual work packages, your coach will be there to help you, or you can work with our professional advisors or network partners in workshops, specialist consultations, etc.
We recommend our regular pitch trainings, sales trainings and organisational development workshops to every team. Additional expert advice is organised by the coaches individually – and of course it can also be requested by the team. The WSC works with consultants from all relevant fields; for specific questions, we also look for other experts if necessary.
Putting it to the test: the prototype
To test whether your solution works, you may need to create a prototype. The RUB-Makerspace team will support you in building it, so we’ll put you in touch with Florian Krohm-Brauckmann in due course. We will then continue with the Lean Canvas – and the results of the prototype tests will of course be incorporated. To learn more, you can view our product design canvas here.
Stage 1: Nothing available / defining parameters
- Teams enter product ideas in Lean Canvas
Stage 2: Imprecise tests
- Teaching technical skills (wood/metal, CAD, VR/AR, 3D printing, etc.)
- Defining product requirements
- Developing minimal viable products using cardboard/tape, possibly 3D printing
- For software: recording user journey
- Tests of use and interaction within the team
Stage 3: Precise tests
- Developing usage scenarios
- Mapping journey
- Developing personalised product mood boards
- Developing a prototype for customer testing (analogue and/or digital)
Stage 4: Evaluation and optimisation (in Scrum intervals, if necessary)
- Prototype testing (several revisions if necessary)
- Component optimisation for production (only for hardware)
- Advice on materials (only for hardware)
- Interface optimisation (only for software)
- Development of a product service system
- Setting the stage for the product (design language, rendering, name, front-end, pitch deck)
- Optional: Referral to specialised workshops within and outside RUB
- Optional: Setting the stage for a start-up (developing corporate design))
- Optional: creating media (posters, Kickstarter videos, online presence,…)
These 13 key points are important to us:
- We want to raise awareness for start-ups, but we don’t want to talk people into setting up a business.
- We don’t make any assessments about the success of a business model.
- We are independent and not looking to gain any profit, which is why we don’t request any shares in the businesses or invest privately.
- The information provided to us on business models, business plans, etc. is treated confidentially, also in relation to Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
- We operate in a solution-oriented and economically sustainable manner.
- We work in a user-centred way, i.e. we adapt our activities to the requirements of the founders and not vice versa.
- We strive to achieve a balance between studying resp. working at the university and setting up a business.
- We can’t advise on legal or tax matters, but only point you in the right direction.
- We support everyone equally, regardless of their degree programme, hierarchical level, industry or technology. Every founder has the right to correct and fair a consultation.
- As a member of the Univercity network, we also provide consultancy to non-RUB students and researchers, as long as our workload permits it.
- We don’t make any agreements with consultants and other third parties in order to refer founders to them and gain financial profit or any other advantage. All referrals/recommendations are always made with the founders in mind.
- As a team, we don’t work against each other, but with each other, in order to offer our founders the best possible advice.
- If we’re out of our depth, we’re out of our depth. But we look for someone who knows what to do and get them in touch with you if we can.
Contact your WSC coaches:
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, many things are simpler in practice! And with your coaches, you will always have people at your side who will prepare and guide you competently through all challenges of your start-up. You would like to contact us for a start-up consulting or you have further questions? Then send us your request directly via email or contact our start-up coaches:
Head of Design & Media Laboratory and Deputy General Manager Makerspace