MVP Agile development for startups is great. Why? Because it lets you test the product and the market, engage with early adopters, attract the first customers, get funds, and save budget for a further startup journey.
Rather than making you feel bored and providing War-and-Peace-long ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Tools’-descriptions, let’s switch immediately to the main pros.
Let’s take a look at its biggest advantages:
- Customers’ needs met. Agile development at the MVP stage = a lot of research. You build the minimum set of features needed to release the app and just share it with users. Based on received feedback, you come to an understanding about which parts to refile. Regardless of what you plan to polish or remove, it’s based not on your gut feeling but on potential customers’ needs and wishes. How can you decide what brings engagement and satisfaction without asking potential customers straight out?
- Development starts right away. This is the area where Pareto 80/20 rule is damn useful. The idea is pretty simple: choose just 20% from the backlog based on feature values (ROI) to the end product. Then achieve 80% of customer satisfaction.
At the MVP stage, getting started with nice-to-haves and could-to-haves is a bad idea. Why? Simply because your time matters + doubt that your budget is extremely huge, so building whatever you want to be built seems like a good choice. Rather than sinking tons of resources into random features, it’s better to stay focused on essentials only. In the startup world, this means ‘being wise’.
Of course, the 80-20 proportion is not an undeniable rule here. In some cases, the breakdown may be like 90/10 or 70/30. Whatever the percentage is, you need to find issues that need to be firstly resolved, figure out what brings you money, and the biggest outcome. After figuring this all out, you should deliver it in the shortest possible time (for MVPs, 3 months is good).
P.S: We’re not advocating ignoring the other 80% of features. Just like when the river bridge framework is built, workers still need to deal with load balancing, storm protection, and lighting. Once you get feedback from the first customers, you can use that knowledge to add the rest based on the demand level.
- Frequent releases. In Agile development, the entire working process is split into small testable pieces. The devs take on fewer features (in some cases, it can even be a single feature), gradually deliver them (within weeks, not months), then do testing and fix bugs. It’s possible to plan each release on the fly and even change the strategy you picked earlier — for instance, if the market situation has changed
- Ease of making changes. Unlike Waterfall, Agile development allows to make sure what needs to be built or improved before ‘you broke the bank for the sake of getting this done’. You can easily tweak and refine the product at the end of each iteration. You just deliver, track the reaction, and refine. Then repeat. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
- Absolute transparency during the entire process. In Agile development, you’re a part of the entire product development: from backlog prioritization to iteration planning and progress reviewing stages. Of course, every product owner should primarily be focused on the business side — marketing and sales. Although, it’s also crucial to take part in significant UI/UX and development decisions (‘Simply build a cool app’ never works — fact)
- Money for further development. If the idea fails (you might discover that the market has a better solution to handle this problem OR that the problem isn’t a problem at all), you still have money for pivot. OR it might turn out that you came up with something absolutely new. Without trying, you won’t know this for sure 🙂
Agile is not a silver bullet
It’s just one working way to get the product idea off the ground. Make sure you’re aware of possible risks:
- Lack of documentation makes it tough for new developers to join the project. Hiring a team that suffers from high turnover increases the risk of problems. The problems start arising when someone quits, becomes sick, or dies
- Testers are needed throughout the project. The more testing you need, the more money you’ll have to take out of your pocket
- Works better for collocated teams. You know, plenty of messaging tools help to manage this problem. However, for meetings that require close listening, like design discussions, it can be a problem. Or when you hire newcomers who often need hand-holding or encouragement
Agile isn’t a tool, but a way of thinking. You cannot “switch to Agile” because you’ve read five books, manuals, or whatever else. To make it work, you need practice here and now.
Thanks for reading!
Original article with illustrations here 🙂
Over the past few years, investments in the healthcare diagnostic industry have been building momentum due to the growing awareness about the health benefits of early diagnosis and preventive care. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA), home tests can be cost-effective, quick, and confidential.
As at-home diagnostic testing gains more acceptance, many medical device manufacturers are embracing the opportunities to develop a wide range of low-cost tools, and tests along a continuum of wellness and prevention. This ranges from chronic-disease management to identifying future risks of illness.
Antelope Dx secures €9M funding
Ghent-based Antelope Dx is one such company that develops a palm-sized home test diagnostic device that allows individuals and primary healthcare professionals to access key health parameters immediately.
Recently, Antelope Dx secured €9M funding in a Series B round. The round was subscribed in a 50/50 ratio by an investment consortium led by Whitefund, and the Existing A-round investors..
A few weeks back, Antelope Dx also received a €2.2M grant from the Flanders Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) to expand the use of its at-home diagnostic testing platform. The new round brings the company’s total funding amount, raised till date, to €14.1M.
According to Hilde Windels, CEO of Antelope Dx, Michel Baijot, chairman of Whitefund will join Antelope Dx’s board, together with Hugues Wallemacq – a Noshaq investment manager with a broad experience in the medical field.
What Antelope brings to the test
The Belgian company will utilise the funding to initiate clinical development of the urine-based self-test for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG).
Furthermore, the company is developing respiratory Influenza A/B and Sars-CoV-2 tests using a single swab sample, that would allow patients to test in their home. It’s also working on quantitative measurement of protein biomarkers in finger-prick blood samples.
According to the company, the fact that it offers the rare trifecta of “clinical lab performance with the ease-of-use of a pregnancy test at a consumer price tag” is its differentiating factor. The platform is based on lab-on-chip technology and aims to perform tests on any bodily fluid, without requiring complex user operations or sample preparation.
Michel Baijot, Chairman of Whitefund, comments: “We were very pleased to lead this financing round involving other solid private partners and to count Antelope Dx as Whitefund’s first investment. Antelope Dx’s innovative technology platform allows us to address the real need for home diagnostic testing as pointed and urgently requested by the current Covid-19 pandemic.”
Main image credits: Antelope Dx
The post Belgian startup Antelope Dx raises €9M to fund development of at-home self tests for STDs and COVID-19 appeared first on Silicon Canals .
In the past few years, the corporate learning landscape has changed drastically with more advanced techniques. The Learning Experience Platform (LXP) is touted to be the next big thing in corporate ‘in-house training or upskilling’, delivering a comprehensive landscape where employees can continuously interact and gain insights.
In this regard, myskillcamp, a Belgian scaleup company in the edtech sector, has raised €2.1 million led by its existing shareholders such as Leansquare (noshaq) and Seederfund, a series of private investors, and two recognised investment funds: Inventures (BE) and Conviction (UK). The company is planning to use the funding to strengthen its offer and accelerate its international development.
“myskillcamp enables training managers to quickly create interactive training courses and enrich them with content developed in-house or available on our marketplace,” said Kevin Tillier, co-founder and CEO of myskillcamp. “We already offer more than 300,000 online training courses, in multiple formats, and in 18 languages, developed by leading publishers in the market.”
Reshaping e-learning infrastructure
Based out of Tournai, myskillcamp has developed a platform that allows companies to quickly create their e-learning infrastructure and make thousands of training content available to their employees. Through this platform, the myskillcamp aims to offer companies the opportunity to create, animate, and manage all their training actions from one place.
“The experience and network that these two funds have developed in the world of HR and the world of startups will be assets to help us manage increasingly rapid growth” continues Kevin Tillier. “During the Covid-19 crisis, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of users on the platform and an acceleration of our sales cycles. The new features we are about to launch will further reinforce this trend, as they meet the needs of our customers. This fundraising, therefore, comes at a pivotal moment in our evolution”.
The scaleup recently launched new features aimed at both training managers and employees themselves. Through AI, the platform will now integrate recommendations tailored to the skills and profession of each individual.
This will make it much easier for HR to guide each employee towards the content and training that will help them advance their career, and for each employee to find their way easily through the content on offer.
Skillcard – To manage training budgets
On the other hand, myskillcamp is working on ‘Skillcard’, its second service in the initial phase to effectively manage training budgets while giving their employees quick and easy access to the training they need.
“The Skillcard is a virtual or physical payment card that a company can distribute to its employees. The aim is to enable them to choose and book the training they need from the training catalogue selected by the company or directly from the myskillcamp marketplace,” explains Kevin Tillier.
How Skillcard benefit HR and employees?
With the Skillcard, the HR department can set a budget on a ‘case-by-case’ or ‘learner-by learner’ basis, then let them choose the training they need. This is also an advantage for workers as they can quickly access and pay for the courses they need with their Skillcard, without waiting for administrative approval. All the HR department has to do is approve the payment. Notably, it has centralised invoicing and a constantly updated overview of the training courses taken in the company.
myskillcamp is continuing to expand its online catalogue to strengthen its local offer and business content. “Finding specific business content in the language of learners is one of the major challenges facing companies today. We are therefore going to continue our work of selecting new partners to integrate local or national training organisations ready to digitise the training they currently provide in face-to-face sessions”
With operations already in France and Belgium, myskillcamp is planning to capture the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. As a result, the company is planning to hire around 30 people over the next 15 months.
“There will then be around 50 of us, with an international culture and even more dynamism” concludes Kevin Tillier. “myskillcamp has all the necessary assets to continue its international development. The skillcard, in particular, should be of particular interest to international companies.”
Main image credits: myskillcamp
Clinical data has the potential to transform the healthcare system and we are in the midst of a healthcare data revolution. However, health care data can be unique and difficult to measure. Aetion, the Real World Evidence Platform®, allows the healthcare industry to make critical decisions about treatments and drug development from a high-level and detailed perspective. Real World Evidence leads to informed decision-making and Aetion, founded by two physicians from Harvard, enables this with a focus on technology and big data. CEO Carolyn Magill shares more about how the company powers regulators, biopharma, payers, and health technology assessment (HTA) bodies, the company’s future plans, and Aetion’s Series B, which brings the total round size to $ 82B extension. Aetion has now raised a total of $ 93.6M across five rounds.
This is an article I have been wanting to write for quite a while. As part of a follow-on piece, I'd love to collect some war stories from non-technical founders that have gotten tripped up in product development efforts.
Lausanne-based Olympe, a software development platform for large companies, has announced the closing of a funding round of approximately €2.3 million. This fundraising welcomed Inter Invest Capitali, both as a new shareholder and additionally its co-founder and Partner Benjamin Cohen will join Olympe’s Board of Directors. The round also opened up the capital to several employees who were eager to become more involved, with the subscription period being extended to 31 October 2020, for an additional amount of up to one million Swiss francs.
Founded in 2015, Olympe is a disruptive software development platform, whose mission is to deliver a product that smartly interacts with people and existing systems to empower companies to instantly align IT capabilities with business decisions.
“Olympe has developed a platform with a “low code software” feature to free companies from existing technical silos and encourage the adoption of new technological practices by its clients’ wide range of users. We are particularly appreciative of the excellence demonstrated by Olympe’s teams, who were able to develop a relevant, differentiating and innovative value proposition in a rapidly evolving market. We are delighted to lead this consortium, which will allow Olympe to industrialise its commercial approach and accelerate its development,” explained Benjamin Cohen, co-founder and Partner of Inter Invest Capital
Thanks to this investment, Olympe’s co-founders and their 30 teammates will be able to accelerate the platform’s marketing phase by reinforcing the sales and marketing team. The development team will also benefit from this fundraising to build the Olympe platform of tomorrow, by continuing to meet the growing needs of users, especially for supply chain management.
“This first stage of financing as a Scale up Vaud labelled company will allow us to quickly diversify our client portfolio. We will be able to confirm that our product meets all kinds of opportunities for companies who wish to go digital,” said Antoine Forel, co-founder and Chief Financial Officer at Olympe.
“This is a fundamental step for Olympe. This marks the transition from the R&D phase to the marketing phase of our product. I am both proud and happy with the team’s accomplishments. Being able to complete this round under the current circumstances is exceptional. Despite the uncertainty over COVID-19, we have managed to open eight new positions since March. Olympe is now in a very good position to take on the next challenges: we have a prestigious board of directors, and the expertise of each member brings great value to our young company. We can rely on a talented and motivated marketing and sales team as well as a team of engineers whose qualities are well established,” said Laurent Chatelanat, co-founder and Managing Director at Olympe.
Old-school approaches to marketing were often described as “spray and pray.” Marketers would launch a massive campaign in as many places as possible and hope that something worked.
More customers would show up, so it would appear that something had in fact worked.
But nobody could be sure exactly what that something was.
When we can’t predict what will have an impact, we need campaigns that cover all the bases, and those campaigns are consequently huge. They take a long time to create, are expensive to launch and come chock full of risk.
If a spray-and-pray campaign is a total failure (and we don’t have to go far to find examples of those), it’s quite possible an entire year’s worth of marketing budget has just been wasted.
Instead, marketers need to take a page from lean product development and begin creating Minimum Viable Campaigns (MVCs). Rather than wait until a massive multichannel launch is perfect, we can incrementally release a series of smaller, targeted, data-driven campaigns.
Over time these MVCs coalesce to look and act much like a Big Bang-style campaign from the spray-and-pray days, but they’ve done so in a much more data-driven and less risky way.
What exactly is an MVC?
Just as with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), it can be easy to misunderstand the real definition of an MVC. It’s not something thrown together with no regard for brand standards or strategic goals, and it’s not a blind guess.
Instead, a good MVC represents the smallest amount of well-designed work that could still achieve some of the campaign’s goals. Before we have any chance of figuring out what that looks like, we need to know the ultimate goal of the bigger campaign or initiative. If we don’t know this, we can’t possibly measure the effectiveness of the MVC.