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Cohort Meeting Recap: Tricks of the Trade and the Illusion of a "Million Dollar Idea"

Returning from their short break over Passover, the participants had their third cohort meeting on April 5th. Michael Mizrahi and Jonathan Caras were given the floor to provide some valuable skills-based insight for the young entrepreneurs.

Mizrahi taught the participants “a few tricks of the trade” to demonstrate how the participants could take their ideas and turn it into a tangible startup. With reference to the business model canvas, he talks about taking the canvas and changing or modifying it to better suit their business group. As he introduces an additional instrument to the startup process, the one-pager, Mizrahi explains that:

“the one-pager is the most important tool you need to have. Investors don’t have time to read all the business deck—not even all [of] the business model canvas. They need to see everything on one page: the problem, solution, the value you bring, the claim you raise, the team, the position, the product… all in one page. Then, he decides if he wants to invite you into a meeting.”

He emphasizes how the one-pager is the participants’ golden ticket in landing an opportunity to meet with their investor. He notes that printing the one-pager “on a heavy paper” would have a greater psychological impact, as it is something that can be felt. Mizrahi also touches on the importance of creating a due-diligence folder.

In developing one’s business plan, Mizrahi advances the significance of the teams having ownership over the process in order to convey the story they want, explaining that:

“If you want to go somewhere, you’d better know how you’re going to get there. It is a roadmap”.

The teams also had the pleasure to hear from entrepreneur and asset manager Jonathan Caras. In his crash course lesson “50-50: Testing Your Ideas,” Caras grounds his insights on his own experience in the startup world. In talking about the maturation process of startups, he reminds the participants about how the people in your team will always prove to be critical:

“What makes early-stage companies successful is the people involved: they will mature a bad idea and turn it into a good idea.”

Citing some top reasons why startups fail, he points to the absence of a market need and how teams would, consequently, “build the wrong idea,” the rapid loss of cash, not having “the right team” and as a result, getting “outcompeted.” Caras introduces relevant startup concepts including Lean Market Validation and MVP, and he sought to deconstruct the illusion of “a million dollar idea,” explaining that “there is no such thing.”

The two presentations proved to be incredibly useful and thought-provoking, and the participants are looking forward to see what the next session has in store for them.

Written by: Adi Nassar & Salina Kuo


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