As some of you may have heard by now, I presented at demo day for a program called The Commons located in Milwaukee. Some of you, however, might not have heard about my experiences in this 10 week program, so I'd like to give you a quick overview.
Kickoff weekend feels like a lifetime ago, even though it was just back in February. We took two days to get to know the other 75 or so students from surrounding schools who were also participating in the program. We also took part in some very fast-paced and intense ideation sessions, which really made me feel like I got to tap into my creativity and increase my appreciation for post-it notes.
There was a mix of groups you could be matched with: both businesses and student startup ideas. I was matched with one of my top choices, a student startup idea called Job Swipe. Throughout the next few weeks, we worked on finding out target market, their problem, and more ideation, which included more post-its and narrowing down what we thought we wanted to actually incorporate into our website's design.
The program consisted of mini class-like lessons, work time with our groups, and every three weeks we got to meet with business professionals who graciously gave us their time as advisors for our project and gave us great feedback and advice.
All of this was leading up to what we call "demo day". Sounds kinda scary. Sounded even scarier when coupled with "You'll be presenting in front of at least 200 people. And you have four minutes."
Job Swipe got its name because our student founder, Daniella, came up with the idea which was originally supposed to be an app for visual designers where they could swipe through job postings and easily apply for jobs (kind of like Tindr for jobs). After some ideation sessions and feedback from our advisors, we found that a website would be a better platform for this market of young visual designers searching for jobs who also want to get a more personal connection with potential employers.
My part in all of this included working on the business development side of things (I presented on our 'business' slide and talked about our pricing model and total addressable market. But really, this was just an amazing learning experience where I got to meet some great individuals, and the whole thing really gave me a lot of motivation and confidence.
Bizjournals.com wrote a piece on demo day which you can read here.
You can also take a look at our slideshow below.
And I definitely don't want to forget that Robert Coletta did fantastic photography for this whole program.
All in all, I had an amazing time participating at The Commons.