LLP Progress Report: Pendulum

Pendulum is a devise that objectively measures the severity of Parkinson’s disease; it is also a tool that helps monitor the disease on a regular basis.

Pendulum LogoInterview with the Pendulum Team


(From left to right) Daniel Terpstra, Ahmad Ashoori & James Little

Can you tell us about the objective of your team?

James: Pendulum is trying to validate if we have a product market fit between our device, that objectively measures the severity of Parkinson’s disease, and our potential customers: movement disorder specialists, clinicians, researchers and pharmaceutical companies.

What are your roles?

Ahmad: I am the designer. The idea is inspired from the research that I conducted during my PhD in UBC.

Daniel: In the context of the entrepreneurial ‘dream team’ of Hustler, Hacker, and Hipster, I am most definitely the Hustler of our group.  My role is to lead and build the team, ignite passion, and maintain a sober business perspective.

James: I have always been a hacker, specializing in software, web and mobile app development.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from the LLP sessions so far?

James: For any new business idea, start with customer discovery / validation and work backwards to the minimum viable product.

Ahmad: I have learnt that having a product/service is not possible unless you get out of the building and actually talk to your customer and hear about their problems. Otherwise, it’s like you live on an island and try to make something which you have to beg people to buy, because they might not need it.

Daniel: I think the most important lesson has been to take action and actually test one’s hypothesis by having conversations with prospective customers.

What are some of the challenges that you (and the rest of your team) have encountered during the sessions?

James: It is not easy to get potential customers on the phone and to extract the information you are looking for. A good positioning statement and tailored set of questions is key.

Daniel: Sometimes it is a challenge to approach prospective customers when you know they are very busy individuals.

Ahmad: The amount of work (such as making presentations, read material, watch videos as well as interviewing customers, fostering your idea, do market research) is really too much and you have to be prepared to embrace them all in a timely manner. Also, talking to people (customers) is hard. People are busy and might not be interested in hearing your idea in the beginning.

Can you share with us some of the highlights of your participation in the LLP?

Daniel: Every second week we meet and each group gives a 15 minute presentation. These presentations are by no means traditional to say the least! ha ha.  We receive blunt, constructive feedback throughout the presentation in a way that motivates you to work hard for the 2 weeks that follow.

James: After each of our presentations, we would get immediate feedback from our instructor and mentors. This helped us to stay on track and develop our business model canvas further each week.

Ahmad: The instructor is very to-the-point and does not waste time talking about unnecessary material. The mentors are very friendly and very helpful. The program itself is intense and makes you to work on a lot of stuff with a decent momentum.

As we approach the end of the LLP sessions, what are you hoping to achieve?

Ahmad: I hope that we could be more thorough with the market that we are targeting and know our customer needs better. With the instructor and mentors’ help, we hope that we can make it happen soon.

Daniel: The point of the program, really, is to help you fail fast if your product or service is of no use to anyone.  I think the hope for all of us is to validate (or invalidate) that our idea can become a business.

James: I hope that Pendulum has validated its potential customers and can be confident in the decision of starting a business.

For more information on the Lean Launch Pad, click here.


a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

103-6190 Agronomy Road,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada
Tel: 604-827-3508

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC  | © Copyright The University of British Columbia