As in the original version at Google Campus Tel Aviv each day at Google Launchpad Berlin was focused on a different subject: Minimum viable product (MVP), user experience/user interface (UX/UI), technology, marketing and presentation skills. The idea behind this accelerator program for early stage startups is one-on-one mentorship that brings together early stage startups and experienced mentors from different fields – not (only) Googlers as one might expect. From the startups’ perspective it means a very quick learning cycle, a lot of focused work and rapid progress within one week. The Edkimo team was happy to be part of the first edition of Google Launchpad Berlin!
A quick round-up of things we have learnt at Google Launchpad
- Step back, don’t code: That was one of the most surprising things for us. As an early stage startup you will almost always get lost in code. Debugging, refining, optimizing the engine. The thing is that once you are only coding you might loose sight of the bigger picture. Does anybody actually care about the product you are building? That leads us directly to the next point.
- Test your assumptions: As an early stage startup you have a lot of assumptions. You are probably building something the world hasn’t seen yet and you cannot know for sure how your future clients will use the product. That is why you need to go out on the street and talk to people as early and as often as possible. Talking to strangers is definitely something out of the comfort zone for most people. But it is invaluable when it comes to avoid building a product nobody really wants.
- Design a great user experience (UX): Well, this is one of those buzzwords that most often comes paired with another one: user interface (UI) and is probably mixed together. The launchpad mentors insisted on a clear separation of the two concepts. Design a great user experience first, the user interface will follow quite naturally. If you know your users well, you will know how to design a product and user experience that makes them feel good. In the end it’s all about the emotion.
- Marketing starts at day one: Never build a product first and start to market it afterwards. Everything is linked and once you know your users you can reach out to them and test and refine your marketing strategies. Who are your users? Who will pay for the product? How do you reach out to different customer segments? Which are the right marketing channels to reach your different customers in the right manner (e.g. B2B vs. B2C)?
- Privacy: If you make it in Germany, you’ll make it in the world. It seems like the opposite and paraphrase of Leonard Cohen’s “First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.” And when it comes to privacy and data security Germany has definitely one of the toughest laws in the world. Building a product here – or in Europe in general – means that you have to think very carefully about which data will be used for what purpose. Is this data really needed to make the product run? How many data points do you use? Could you lower the resolution, blur the data? Reach out to data privacy officials as early as possible to make sure your future product will meet the standards.
Google Launchpad Presentations
- Minimum viable product (MVP) presentation by Daan Loening (kinderfee.de)
- User Experience (UX) presentation by Jacob Greenshpan (www.uxux.co.il)
- User Research presentation by Manuel Großmann (fuxblau.de)
- Technology presentation by Jose L Ugia (@Jl_Ugia)
- Pitch presentation by Bianca Preatorius (@bancia)
- User Experience (UX) presentation by Fabian Hemmert (@fabianhemmert)
- Marketing presentation by Frank Fischer (www.cu-0xff.de)
Google Launchpad Startups
- Appizy – Convert spreadsheets into web-apps in 2 clicks.
- Youvo – “I want to change the world! But I’m only good at Photoshop…”
- Addsura – Pet insurance.
- Simplora – Price comparison for online groceries.
- AirMarkr – Draw in the air with a 3D mobile app.
- itwiy – An app for cars and drivers.
- Roomister – Short term office space.
- kaputt.de – Repair your mobile phone.
- timply – Personal tipster for your free time.
- Skillndeal – Platform for creatives.
- Sciencebite – Unlocking scientific know-how to solve technical challenges.
- Edkimo – A fun, visual way to get feedback from students.
- Uberchord – Personal guitar chord trainer.
- ZENchef – It’s about cooking.