The very, very hard thing
Making a company out of science is hard. Really hard. There’s just more to know and more to do than other kinds of company.
Before we have even got started, we are probably staring at a near-and-present ‘Valley of Death’ that comes because it's taking too long to get to first-proof, needs more money than anyone will fund, can’t reach a difficult first customer…
A new way
At Main Sequence, we’ve learned to start these companies with a deliberate design to navigate the Valley of Death that we call ‘Venture Science’. The idea is actually quite simple, but the execution is hard. Each of these companies:
- Begins with a market pull that is present (or inbound) and big enough to drag us through each of the challenges that are inevitably ahead of us.
- Designs a founding team who together deliver unfair advantage on Day 0.
- Optimises a work plan to deliver leaps of evidence quickly and deliberately.
Read all about it here.
We tried this first with one company. In our next fund we built 4 companies this way. Now we are scaling up further and needed to put the process on rails a little to open it up to a bigger team and partners that we work with. Part of this was to design a toolkit.
The Venture Science Toolkit can be downloaded here.
It includes a series of tools that we use to imagine and design a new opportunity.
- Future Shock Canvas: imagines an exponentially changing future. It resists incrementally.
- Master Plan Canvas: overlays a technology innovation that expands into the future. It helps us imagine something big enough to continue to lock in product market fit.
- Advantage Builder: designs a founding team that can deliver this plan with advantage from Day 0.
- Slam Dunk Planner: defines the first ‘proof sprint’ to rapidly deliver the clearest evidence to the market for an exciting company.
I’ll talk about each tool in future posts. For now, grab the toolkit and take it for a spin.