Building a Startup based on The Lean Startup approach

THE LEAN APPROACH
Starting a company can be done in an endless amount of ways… – If only there was one simple recipe for success. 
Our approach is built on the Lean Startup. Why? Because we believe that building a company on validated learning is the best for future success.
The initial seed of a failed company has its roots in bad user experiences, which should not be a big surprise. Getting scammed on Craigslist was a blessing in disguise, because it was this particular bad user experience that initiated the birth of our company. Yes, Craigslist is not that secure. Yes, Craigslist is technologically outdated. Yes, Craigslist is insecure. Therefore, launching a new and improved “Craigslist” would generate a large crowd of followers, right? Not really. Changing users behavior can be a very challenging task that requires much more than just a modern and more reliable interface, you have to solve your customers’ problems and satisfy their specific demands. 
HOW WE STARTED
Before we did anything we took our great vision of what we wanted to become and then we narrowed it down, and down, and down, until we had an initial idea of what customer demands Checktom should satisfy. Early on, we decided that both local and international students all had similar needs – whether you are studying in Copenhagen, London or New York- however, this is not the case. We then asked ourselves, what should Checktom offer the public? We then decided to test this question and put our business model up to the task. 
We created a workshop and invited local and international students to attend (we offered them free pizza and beer for their time of course). 26 students attended and gave us valuable information about their experiences as a university student by answering questions like: what is most important to them, their challenges, experiences as an exchange student, what would make their everyday lives easier, and any current websites they are using. 
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Alongside our workshop we had two anthropology interns who did some thorough market and user research for us within 5 months. But from this particular workshop we gained important information about our target market and a glimpse of our early adopters. It helped us become more specific about what our beta-test launch should consist of. Checktom should be a location-based, secure, and free platform for local and international students to buy and sell with each other, while also being granted the opportunity to find jobs and internships. 
Having gotten this far was a great milestone for us. Next up, was to work on designing Checktom into a modern and user-friendly website. 
We believe that all the groundwork and user research before the launch has helped reduce our market risks and generated a stronger viable product, that is soon to be launched in a university near you.
Thomas Backhausen
Building a Startup based on The Lean Startup approach
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