Lean Launch Pad for Genomics


Lean Launch Pad is Back!

Due to the success of and positive feedback for our last three offerings, genomics.entrepreneurship@UBC, in collaboration with e@UBC is proud to present a winter cohort of our Lean Launch Pad for Genomics and Life Sciences program, starting February 2015, join us! Please complete the registration form here.

What is the Lean Launch Pad?

The Lean Launch Pad (LLP) program is not a traditional class or workshop. It is more like a “science laboratory” coupled with a series of “What did we learn in the lab?” and “What should we do next?” classroom session. LLP is designed to engage you in moving potential products out of the lab and into the market through talking to customers, partners and competitors, and encountering the challenges and uncertainty of creating successful innovations. The majority of the work is done in your laboratory, which is outside of the classroom. The laboratory is the “world” as defined by your customers; you are going to experiment on your customers.

The objectives of this 8-week program are to rapidly identify, evaluate, and develop potential venture opportunities for genomics, life sciences and natural resources research. The bi-weekly sessions focus on customer identification, engagement, and business model optimization using techniques based on the Lean Launch Pad model developed by world-renowned entrepreneur Steve Blank at Stanford University, and a structured business-model tool, the Business Model Canvas, to quickly test market opportunities and pivot to alternative models if necessary.

To have a bit more sense of the program, watch this video of the LLP graduates MetaMixis, Aspect Biosystems and Winos, and instructor Iain Verigin describe what the program entails.

Key Themes and Tools

This workshop’s primary theme is that most new ventures fail from lack of customers, not lack of product. A new venture has no customers and no product at the beginning. There is a need for a customer-development process in parallel with the well-known product-development process. The customer-development process allows for learning and discovery of customer needs in an iterative process. It about experimenting on customers: talking to them, observing them, testing them, and more.

The Business Model Canvas separates a business plan into 9 building blocks. This workshop will help you prioritize these building blocks.

What’s involved?

The LLP will be led by Iain Verigin, from UBC’s Sauder School of Business and supported by key industry mentors. This is an activity-based program and class time will be composed of participant presentations and discussion.

It is expected that you will complete at least 10 in-person or Skype interviews each week focused on the development of your Business Model Canvas. You will develop a narrative of your progress by blogging your teams progress (i.e. posting customer interviews, canvas updates, and customer-development sketches introduced in the course). You will assemble what you have learned in a 10-minute presentation. The class time will be focused on supporting your progress, and will be composed of your presentations, peer-to-peer discussion, panel commentary, and brief instructor presentations.

In day 1, you will come to the session to discuss your best guesses for your outside-the-classroom action plans for the following two weeks. (Don’t worry that these are guesses, please focus your effort developing “experiments,” which will convert “guesses” to “facts.”) In the subsequent workshops, you will present your lessons learned, a revised canvas, and a new set of experiments derived from your direct experience. A big part of the class is blog your progress: business model canvas, interviews, ideas, clippings, etc.

What do you get?

You will leave the program with an expanded skill-set that will give you the tools necessary to evaluate and translate your research into applications that can benefit society. Ultimately, the program aims to spur translation of cutting-edge genomics and life-sciences research, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to train participants to understand innovation and entrepreneurship.

In addition, you will receive the following:

  • A total of 15 hours of in-class instruction from entrepreneurship experts
  • Experience on how to use the Business Model Canvas to brainstorm each part of a company and Customer Development to get out of the classroom to see whether anyone other than you would want/use your product.
  • Mentorship and guidance from industry professionals who will be matched with your team
  • One copy of Steve Blank’s The Startup Owner’s Manual per team
  • Access to resources and support from entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC) and University-Industry Liaison Office (UILO)

Who is eligible?

This program is open to all potential ventures in natural resource or life sciences sectors, but priority will be given to genomics.entrepreneurship partner projects.

LLP alumni Metamixis.

Metamixis team members Cameron Strachan, Meghan Verstraete and Chris Lawson.

About the Instructor

Iain Verigin, Instructor at Sauder School of Business, Director of Product Strategy at PMC-Sierra

Iain Verigin is a retired entrepreneur who teaches at UBC’s Sauder School of Business and was one of the founding members of PMC-Sierra, which has an annual revenue exceeding $500 million USD and a market capitalization of over $1 billion USD. As a self-proclaimed Steve Blank fan, Iain has been teaching an MBA course based on Blanks’ customer-development process since 2008 and has facilitated the Lean Launch Pad for Genomics program since 2013. Learn more about Iain at his personal blog at hnorth.wordpress.com.

What Past Participants Said

[The Lean Launch Pad] has been a very stimulating experience…for the scientific mind to think very differently about the same subject in a context of people and business. The workshop is quite challenging which makes it more appealing, at least to me and my team, understanding all these new skills that we’ve never encountered before but that are undeniably necessary not only for a business start-up, but for life in general.

– Carlo Vargas, Winos team

I think the Lean Launch Pad allows scientists to take their product into the next stage of development and help them see how their work can influence/impact society in a commercial environment. This is beneficial not only for the researcher’s current work, but also the process of developing and creating a product in a research setting and bringing it to market in the future.

                                           – Fraser Larock, Lignin team

Watch this short video of Aspect Biosystems, who graduated from entrepreneurship@UBC’s Lean Launch Pad, and what they learned from the program.

Program Dates

Five Monday morning sessions from 8:30-12:30pm:

  • Feb 23
  • March 2
  • March 9
  • March 16
  • March 23


Wayne and William White Engineering Design Centre, 2345 East Mall, UBC

Additional Information

If you are interested in this program and would like more information, please contact us. If you would like to attend, please complete the registration form here.

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