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Discussion Groups: How Founders club Find New Startup Ideas

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

New venture startup studio in the Rocket DAO ecosystem is already working hard on new ideas. Right now, teams are looking for promising startup niches and getting ready to raise investment. We will tell you more about how it works and how to get into the startup studio discussion groups where new breakthrough businesses are born.

Startup Factory

Founders club venture startup studio has become a startup factory. It has a special framework for developing ideas and raising investments to translate them into products. Main expertise and focus: b2c startups with elements of socialization between users.

The startup studio is made up of discussion groups. These are teams of people who want to launch a startup. Teams on blockchain, application of neural networks, volunteering, Mental Health and Social Games are already full swing. There will be new teams constantly joining. They all go along the track in parallel: from developing ideas to investing in MVP from the Rocket DAO fund.

On this path, you will need to go through several iterations of developing an idea and creating a business model. You will need to quickly test hypotheses and look at your idea as broadly and as critically as possible.

The teams include developers, designers, product managers, analysts and many other specialists. In the Founders club, you can build your own dream team with the help from club managers. To find out more, just fill out a quick registration form. 

It gives you access to the Founders Club Telegram channel, which publishes the results of the work of all discussion groups. You can find a team with similar interests and skills. To get into an existing group or start creating your own, you need to have an interview with the Founders Club manager, who will help you choose the best track for development within the venture studio. 

Founders club is ready to invest up to $100,000 if there is a core team and a promising startup idea developed together with a team of mentors. With these funds, you can develop and launch an MVP, attract your audience and start growing rapidly. 

The investment decision is made by a team of mentors. They can approve the investment or send the project for revision with detailed feedback. Usually two or three feedback sessions are enough to decide whether an idea is promising. 

Matrix team — Idea Generator

The Founders Club has a #Matrix Team of experienced startups, including those already developing successful projects in the Rocket DAO ecosystem. The task of this team is to help budding founders find and develop startup ideas.

The team generates what we call "input" — the preferred direction of searching for a startup idea. For example, services for volunteers or the application of neural networks. Expert intuition and experience tell them that there is room for growth in these areas. 

Generating "inputs" is an interesting process in itself, even if you do not implement the ideas that come up. After all, the very process of thinking and searching for patterns is interesting, because you can learn a lot about the world by observing. 

“After a discussion in the group that works on building communities, we came to several conclusions”, says Gabil Tagiyev, facilitator of the Matrix Team.

The same principles apply to really strong communities as to tribes, which seems quite logical, because it is an evolutionary imperative. In the past, belonging to a group was a necessity for survival. And people are now looking for this belonging, they want to be associated with something powerful and cool. There is clearly a sense of loss and loneliness, if you do not belong to any group. People want to belong to a "tribe" (military, revolutionaries, university graduates, etc.).

This feature of social interaction between people must be used in products in order to achieve viral growth. At the same time, as we found out during the discussion, viral growth and network effect are completely different things.

A viral effect occurs when users attract other people to a product because they like it. The network effect occurs when each new user increases the value of the product for everyone else. Of course, the network effect is much more stable in the long run than the viral one. But achieving it in a product is much more difficult.

We also started discussing the difference in how people behave online and offline. This is a very big question that we plan to explore in more depth at the next meetings. It is also interesting to understand how hierarchies in religions work, because this is an example of very stable communities. We plan to work through these issues in depth in several upcoming meetings in order to come up with new product development strategies.

Thus, the Founders Club today has four discussion groups working on different ideas — and there are more coming soon. Each group has a facilitator who guides and coordinates the work of the group and moderates the discussions. 

«Volunteering» Group

Its facilitator Dasha Skorokhod tells about the work of her team:

—  The main thing in a startup is personal interest. You need to get excited about the topic in order to make a successful product. Thus, the topic of volunteering is very close to me as I have been participating in non-profit projects for more than five years, and heading the European Youth Parliament in Belarus for the last two years. So, I chose the topic that I’m both expert and  experienced in.

The next stage of working on an idea is market analysis. Before assembling a team, you need to find out if the idea is relevant. Therefore, having already decided on the topic, I started researching the topic: how big the market is, what players are out there and how big they are, who has invested in similar projects and how much, and is there any point in launching a startup in the volunteering market. It turned out that it makes sense to work in this direction as there is unmet demand. 

For example, during lockdowns, there is a surge in requests for volunteer activities. People are sitting at home, they are bored. But today we can say that there is no convenient way to search for volunteering activities and participate in them online. Based on this, we decided that it’s feasible and timely of launch a startup in the field of volunteering, so we created the "Volunteering" group. 

The members of the group need to determine what kind of service we will be doing that is, to come up with the very “startup idea”. And I started assembling a team to work out the idea. I invited people both from the Founders Club and from my network, namely those who had the necessary expertise in product development and volunteering.

So we have a team of six people and we now meet once a week. Each of our meetings has its own predetermined task: at the first one we “entered” the topic and finalized market analysis. At the second stage, we identified groups of people who volunteer and are interested in them, then they began to generate service options that could be successful.

We were looking for pairs of a volunteer + a person in need to make sure the interaction was valuable for both parties. For example, older people from English-speaking countries need companionship. They can be set up with people who are learning English and want to practice it with a native speaker. This is one of the strongest hypotheses that we have found.

By the third meeting, we had already found new data in order to test all our ideas and form more elaborated versions of hypotheses. We plan to move towards the final idea and the future pitch deck with these “discussion-check” iterations.

We get a lot of support from mentors while developing a startup. They participate in our weekly meetings and help go in the right direction. This allows the team to focus and find new directions.

In general, the process of creating a startup at Founders Club is just right. In a group, I myself make key decisions, but I do not feel alone. You get support from experienced colleagues, financial resources of the Rocket DAO ecosystem and a strong team.

Neural Squad» Group

Neural networks have learned to create: you can give them a verbal description and get a new work of art in return. You can create images, audio and even video. This piece inspired Masha Priymak to gather a group in order to find an idea for a startup in this area. 

— We bumped into information about the new possibilities of neural networks from OpenAI, which create mainly video, audio, images based on different input data on Telegram, which looked inspiring.

It would be interesting to find a way to apply neuro creativity in practice and make a viral product. I gathered a team of people interested in the topic and we began to brainstorm in search of working ideas.

The process turned out to be amazingly cool for inspiration and self-development. Even if you don't really understand the topic, you get a lot of knowledge in a couple of sessions. We are looking for statistics, insights, and analyzing markets. We do our homework, ask each other questions — and this is how truth is born. 

It also turned out to be very interesting to test neurons: they generate unusual and funny art that a person does not even think of. We immediately made a sticker pack with neuromemes and had a lot of fun. 

Besides the sticker pack, a couple of strong startup ideas came up at our meetings. So far we do not want to talk about them in detail, because we are actively checking them. We also decided to move our communication to Discord. This is an unexpectedly cool platform as you can both work on ideas in a group and test them on users. 

The further we work, the more I like the idea of ​​the Founders Club discussion groups. This format reveals creativity, teaches new things and really builds a team. We just enjoy our brainstorming sessions.

Mental Health Group

Mindfulness and taking care of our wellbeing became an integral part of our lives pretty quickly. The trend is especially noticeable in Europe and the USA: the volume of consumption of services in this area has grown to tens of billions of dollars a year. The market for Mental Health solutions is highly competitive, but there is still a lot of room for new products. One of them is being launched right now by a group brought together by Dima Levkovets, CEO of the waka dating app

— At the start, we had a hypothesis that today, many people have mental health problems. I dived deeper into this topic, and the hypothesis was confirmed. Internal restlessness and anxiety have become a problem for many people, especially during the pandemic. 

There were already people around me who were interested in the topic of mental health. We had thought about joint projects before, as the guys already had a lot of experience in creating startups, and now the stars aligned in our favor. An experienced psychologist and psychotherapist also joined us.

Thus, there was a direction for development, but it was not clear what to do exactly. So we started to get together as a group every week and develop our ideas. Also, Gabil Tagiyev joined us as a mentor and participant in ideas generation.

We researched the market, looked at existing solutions and their effectiveness. Conducted several iterations of CustDev in the US market, found many insights and tested our hypotheses. In eight meetings, we managed to find a promising niche and clearly articulate the product vision — and with each meeting it became clearer and clearer.

We understood that it would not be possible to replace a living psychologist or psychotherapist, but we can prevent mental health problems and support people before they go to therapy.

We have identified our target audience and developed therapeutic mechanics that we will apply in the product. Many existing ideas have been refined and developed based on our personal and professional experience. Now we have something to offer users. 

One of the active participants took on the role of the team leader and CEO of the startup created as a result of the work of our discussion group. I gladly handed over the management to him, as I am already running the waka startup and cannot lose focus. Now a new project that has emerged in the Mental Health group is heading towards creating an MVP with investments from the Rocket DAO fund. 

The mentors pointed out to us some problems in the business model, which are better to fix now than handle later — and now the startup team is working on them. After the improvements, we will raise funds for MVP.

The discussion group format is an interesting way to create a startup. When everyone has other projects, jobs and tasks, such a club creates a structure for interaction. There are regular meetings, there are clear tasks for these meetings, and homework for the participants. This pattern helps you move towards the goal.

The Best Conditions for Creation

The model of working with startups from Founders Club is, one might say, unique. In it, the startup has much more comfortable conditions for growth at an early stage. 

— We chose this format by trial and error. The advantage of the Founders club is in the greater motivation of the founders as we leave them the maximum possible share in their startup. Thanks to this, there are no problems with team motivation and subsequent fundraising.

We are sure that only founders of already running projects can really help beginner founders. Also, the founder needs to be constantly searching for new quick solutions and testing hypotheses quickly. Yes, it’s hard, but there’s no other way. So, the Founders club is meant to support teams psychologically, technically and financially. This significantly increases the chances of success, — sums up the co-founder of Rocket DAO Gabil Tagiyev.


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