Lab2Market: a Free Venture Capital Workshop at PSU

July 16, 2013 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

We recently interviewed Melissa Appleyard, the Ames Professor in Management of Innovation and Technology at Portland State, about PSU’s free venture capital workshop Lab2Market to be held August 13-14, 2013 (applications due by July 31). Read on to learn more about the workshop and how it can help your venture become investment ready.

Impact Entrepreneurs: How would you describe Lab2Market in a single tweet?

Melissa Appleyard: The Lab2Market is a hands-on, entrepreneurship workshop led by dynamic seed-stage investors for early-stage ventures.

What’s the purpose of Lab2Market?

Lab2Market is meant to jump start the venturing process, allowing early-stage entrepreneurs to understand the initial market readiness of their business plan and obtain feedback on their elevator pitch. At the end of the workshop, there will be a competition among participants for a cash prize for the strongest elevator pitch. The long-term goal of the workshop is to help regional entrepreneurs identify their next steps, assess their needs, and build out their network required for success.

How is the workshop structured?

The Lab2Market workshop combines 1) participant interaction with seed-stage investors when practicing their elevator pitches, considering their business models, and strategies for obtaining their first customers; with 2) an excellent overview of the entrepreneurial process from start to exit.

What’s the history of Lab2Market, and how did DFJ Frontier become involved?

A $600,000 Partnerships for Innovation grant from the National Science Foundation funded the program starting in 2004.  The goal was to create a better future for the State of Oregon by bolstering the entrepreneurship ecosystem.  All of the major research universities in the State—PSU, OHSU, OSU, and U of O—were involved to use the programs and workshops to help extend  entrepreneurial culture across the state.

After a couple of years of running the Lab2Market summer program internally, we decided we would benefit from collaborating with an early-stage investor group to help our university-based entrepreneurs tap into a broader network. At the same time, DFJ Frontier, which is based in California, starting making investments in Oregon and agreed to teach the workshop drawing on an intensive entrepreneurship course they had taught at UC Davis. Their energy is infectious and their range of experience with all types of ventures makes them particularly well suited to work with the cross-section of entrepreneurs coming out of the research universities and in the Portland region.

How much does it cost?

We do not charge the participants to attend, but we do fundraise to cover all of the expenses for the workshop.

Is it open to the public?

Because of the hands-on nature of the workshop, the ideal attendance level is around 25 participants. Therefore, we require interested entrepreneurs to fill out an application. About two-thirds of the attendees come from PSU, OHSU, OSU and UO, with one-third coming from the greater Portland community, for example from the Portland Seed Fund.

Who should attend?

Typically the attendees are early-stage entrepreneurs with only a basic understanding of the entrepreneurial process and who want to receive input on their elevator pitches and business plans from seasoned seed investors. The program is demanding on the participants, but it is a lot of fun too!

Learn more:

Entry filed under: Impact Investing, Opportunities for social innovators.

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