Forty Acres

FOUNDERS

APPLICATION OPENS

October 28, 2019 | 8:00 a.m.

APPLICATION CLOSES

November 17, 2019 | 11:59 p.m.

INFORMATION SESSIONS

Tuesday, November 5 | 5 - 6 p.m.
Thursday, November 7 | 9 - 10 a.m.
Wednesday, November 13 | 12 - 1 p.m.

FORTY ACRES FOUNDERS PRE-ACCELERATOR PROGRAM

Research shows that a key factor in startup failure is a lack of understanding of product-market fit.

The Forty Acres Founders Pre-Accelerator Program at the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship offers undergraduate student founders the opportunity to study potential customers, improve their product, establish product-market fit, and position their product for success within the marketplace. Students will learn to vet their ideas, develop skills for researching and understanding customer needs, and develop tools for building a product/service that appropriately fit a market need.

For any questions, email amanda.golden@mccombs.utexas.edu

Over the course of the program, founders will:
– Fully understand and establish product/market fit of business idea
– Study and learn from their potential customers
– Position product or service for success in the marketplace

As members of the program, founders will receive:
– Up to $1,000 in financial support for program activities over the course of the semester
– A dedicated graduate student to provide relevant expertise and work with the founder
– Access to experienced mentors and entrepreneur coaches
– Opportunity to pitch at the end of the semester for seed grants

Admission to the Forty Acres Founders Pre-Accelerator Program is based on:
– Demonstration of a plan for sustainability beyond program completion
– Potential impact on the identified market
– Time horizon to realize the market impact

Note: Students can elect to enroll in an independent study course to earn 3 credit hours of coursework upon completion of the Forty Acres Founders Pre-Accelerator Program. There would be additional requirements for students to complete in order to obtain course credit, including writing a paper at the end of the program outlining the student’s experience and lessons learned.



Overview
The Forty Acres Founders Pre-Accelerator Program is a unique opportunity for graduate students to interact with undergraduate startup founders. As a Graduate Assistant, graduate students will gain experience in the process of determining product-market fit for a startup idea/service/product by supporting undergraduate founders test the viability of their startup by conducting tests related to market validation and customer discovery.

Responsibilities
– Provide on average 10 hours of support a week to assigned program participant
– Periodically attend formal check-in sessions with participants and advisors
– Manage the relationship with participants and guide them through the market validation process
– Co-develop go-to-market strategies with undergraduate student founders
– Assist with the development of the demo day pitch deck and refinement of presentation

Potential Focus Areas
– Market Entry Strategy
– Consumer Behavior
– Market Analysis
– Consumer Insights
– Pricing Strategy
– Business Planning
– Industry Analysis
– Competitive Analysis
– New Market/Channel Opportunities

Qualifications
– Must be currently enrolled graduate student (taking at least 9 hours)
– Proven organizational skills and strong interpersonal skills
– Excellent written and oral communication skills
– A desire to work with undergraduate students to build their entrepreneurial ventures
– Other experience/skills as relevant to specific position responsibilities


Founder Mentor

Overview
The role of the mentor is to provide guidance to undergraduate founders as they work to discern if a valid market need exists for their startup idea/product/service. Mentor meetings can occur in person or remotely and will be scheduled based on the availability of the founder and the mentor.

Responsibilities
– Commit to supporting two founders for 10 weeks
– Provide 30 minutes each week to each founder (1 hour total each week)
– Provide feedback and guidance to assigned founders in areas related to testing product-        market fit

Criteria
– Experience with customer discovery process
– Previous involvement with product management/product launch
– Experience gaining and implement market feedback

PROGRAM CYCLE

HYPOTHSIZE
Identify a problem that is worth
solving
HYPOTHSIZE
DESIGN
Define your customer and develop a discovery strategy
DESIGN
INTERVIEW
Get out of the classroom and meet your market
INTERVIEW
ANALYZE
Evaluate your findings
ANALYZE
TEST
Validate product/market fit
TEST
PITCH
Prepare your idea to become a venture
PITCH