Startup Bootcamp

Learn how to take your idea from zero to startup in ninety days

Sept. - Nov. 2015


Bonus Reading:
MIT Technology Review:
Lyft's Search for a New Mode of Transport

Stayed Tuned with

the Bootcamp Blog

Bootcamp readings, assignments, podcasts for each session are available below.


Learn how to take your idea from zero to startup in ninety days.

Ever wonder how local Philly startups got off the ground? Want to learn how to launch your idea? Here is your chance to learn from Philly's best startup minds like Lucinda Duncalfe (Monetate), Phil Moyer (Safeguard Scientific), Gabriel Weinberg (DuckDuckGo) and more.

The bootcamp is a 90 day program. Each week participants are given a different framework for tackling different parts of the startup puzzle. Local startup leaders will teach the frameworks, telling you how they use them.

You can't find this kind of focused mentorship and training anywhere else in the city!

Be sure to read the FAQ below for more info about the bootcamp.

Bootcamp Curriculum

Startups 101

Segment 1 - Sept. 10th

Lucinda Duncalfe


So what’s it all about? This startup game… We all know that startups are about building successful companies. But what are the pieces that need to come together for success? How do you get traction, create momentum? What is most important at each stage of growth?

The session will give you an overview of the life of a startup–and life in startups–as Lucinda Duncalfe leads off the BootCamp with a wide ranging talk based on her experience at 8 venture-backed startups over 30 years. She’ll share key stories and lessons learned from her time as CEO of Monetate, founder/CEO at Real Food Works, ClickEquations,, TurnTide and Destiny WebSolutions, and as an employee at Infonautics and ACP.

Segment Reading

From Hard thing about Hard Things - by Ben Horowitz
  • Chapter 7 - How to Lead Even When you Don't Know Where You Are Going
  • Chapter 8 - First Rule of Entrepreneurship: There are No Rules
  • Survive the Leap to Hyper-Growth

Lucinda Duncalfe

Lucinda is CEO of Monetate. A seasoned entrepreneur and innovator, Lucinda has proven experience building mature sales and operations cultures, and developing product strategies that accelerate company growth. She has served on Monetate’s Board of Directors for the past seven years, and helped Monetate create and establish a multi-billion dollar market for digital personalization.

Prior to Monetate, Lucinda was Founder and CEO of Real Food Works, a start-up delivering meal programs for health based on a real food diet, using local restaurants as suppliers. Lucinda has founded and run a number of venture capital-backed companies, including ClickEquations, acquired by Channel Intelligence; TurnTide, acquired by Symantec for $28 million six months after founding, and Destiny WebSolutions, an Inc. 500 winner.

She has won many awards including the Eastern Technology Council’s Enterprise Award for CEO of the Year, was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Philadelphia, and was named America’s 17th Most Influential Consultant by Consulting Magazine. She has served on the boards of Semprae Labs, The Montessori School, and the World Affairs Council. She graduated cum laude from University of Pennsylvania, earned an MBA from the Wharton School in Entrepreneurial Management, and was an Eisenhower Fellow. Lucinda holds a second-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate and is a frequent speaker at industry events.


  • Sept. 10th, 6:30 PM
  • Benjamin's Desk – 1701 Walnut St, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Ideation and Vision

Segment 2 - Sept. 14th & Sept. 24th

Philip Moyer


Ideation and vision is not just about saying you have a great idea, it is about knowing you have a great idea! But how?

Startup ideas are educated guesses. But what if your guess is wrong? We have all been there. You must teach yourself to think big and often. And you must teach yourself to be intellectually honest about the merits and market potential of each idea before you invest weeks, months, or years in pursing it.

In this segment, Phil Moyer, managing director of Safeguard Scientific, a Philadelphia based venture capital firm that has invested in several local Philly startups, provides his insights and strategy for finding and assessing ideas. Phil brings decades of experience as a software developer, founder, CEO and venture capitalist to the question of Ideation and Vision.

In this segment, you will learn a framework for coming up with and assessing your idea; the foundation of all that is to come.

Segment Assignment

Ideation & Vision

Due Date: Sept. 23 - Midnight

Don't forget to submit the assignment coversheet with each assignment.




The end goal is a solution. But solutions take a lot of work and research and validation. For this assignment, your focus is on the problem.

Find a problem that presents a real market need, has a large enough market, a viable business model with solid economic opportunity, and that your team is ideally suited to tackle.

  1. Come up with 10 problems you are passionate about, and could solve.
    • Define each problem & customer in no more than three sentences.
  2. Score each idea according to Phil's scoring framework
    • List all of your core assumptions around the following:
      • Use this worksheet for scoring your ideas
      • Each score should be supported by solid research where needed.
      • Take good notes on all of your research, you will use it later in your pitch deck.
  3. Choose the top 3 ideas by score
  4. Choose the top idea from these that is the most compelling to pursue.
    • Further research may be needed here to make this decision.
    • You should make this decision based upon the size of the market, the financial opportunity, and your teams ability to solve it. (NOTE: You do not need to be an industry expert… yet!)
  5. Complete Your Initial Research & Build your Pitch Deck
    • Your pitch deck and all your models at this point are merely assumptions. But these assumptions should be well supported and well reasoned. It is these assumptions that you will test and build on over the rest of the bootcamp.
    • Do additional research as need to support every assumption that goes into your pitch deck. You will be challenged on most of them!
    • Make each assumption as specific as possible.

Presentation Format:

  • Slide 1 – Overview of your top 3
  • Slide 2 –Summary - Describe your top idea in five sentences
    1. Describe a problem you are trying to solve?
    2. Describe how would you solve it?
    3. How many potential customers have this problem?
    4. How would you make money solving it?
    5. Why do you want to do this?
  • Slide 3 –Problem Slide
    • Specifically describe the customer, their problem and the impact.
    • Solution - Initial assumptions about what this will look like?
  • Slide 4-Addressable Market
    • How many customers and dollars can there be annually?
    • What is the total market size?
  • Slide 5-Business Model
    • How will you make money?
  • Slide 6 - Competition.
    • Who is already trying?
    • Who else is in this market that could solve this problem?
    • What portion of the market do they own?
  • Slide 7 - Growth Strategy
    • How will you go to market?
    • How will scale your product and business to be big?
  • Slide 8 - Team
    • Why You?
    • What is your experience, what is your insight, what is your advantage?
  • Slide 9 - Financials
    • How much money do you need to get to a version 1.0 and $1mm in revenue?

Philip Moyer

Philip Moyer is Managing Director at Safeguard (NYSE: SFE), the oldest publicly traded Venture Capital company in the U.S. In this role, Phil is responsible for all Enterprise Technology and Financial Technology investments. He and his team evaluate over 300 pioneering technology companies a year – making selective investments and sitting on the boards of the companies invested in.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Phil was CEO of EDGAR Online, (NASDAQ: EDGR) where he led the transformation of EDGAR into the leader in XML based SEC compliance and low latency fundamental data. Prior to EDGAR Online, he led a management buy-out of Cassiopae – a European based software company in the asset backed securities market.

From 1991 to 2005, Phil was at Microsoft where he was a General Manager of a variety of Global, Enterprise and Vertical businesses. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was the co-founder of Orion Systems Group, a startup in the education tech market which was sold to Sungard.

Phil started his career at GE Aerospace as a software developer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh. He is on the Boards of AppFirst, Apprenda, CloudMine, Lumesis, Pneuron, Transactis, XBRL US, and the advisory board of the University of Pittsburgh Business School. He has been a frequent speaker and author on venture capital, enterprise technology, financial technology and transparency in Forbes, Wired, Fox Business, CIO Magazine, and a variety of other media.

Session 1

Session 2

  • Sept. 24th, 6:30 PM
  • Benjamin's Desk – 1701 Walnut St, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Bullseye - Finding Traction

Segment 3 - Sept. 28th & Oct. 8th

Gabriel Weinberg


"Almost all failed startups had products. What they didn't have are enough customers." Traction Book

While there are many methodologies for product development, there are none that explicitly deal with getting traction. After interviewing over forty successful founders, Gabriel Weinberg recognized patterns and synthesized them into a framework for getting traction he calls "Bullseye." Bullseye is the main thesis of his new book "Traction."

Bullseye was constructed on the premise that startups mainly use one traction channel at a time to lead their growth. These channels usually dry up leading the company to return to the drawing board to find their next big ride; however, individuals tend to be biased for or against certain channels given previous experience. Bullseye counters this instinct by systematically leading founders to think about all available avenues. Steps include:

  • Brainstorming
  • Ranking
  • Prioritizing
  • Testing
  • Focusing

Segment Assignment


Due Date: Oct. 7 - Midnight

Don't forget to submit the assignment coversheet with each assignment.


  • In this assignment, you will learn how to think about getting traction. One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is treat traction as an after thought. This should be thought out before a product is built and should be continuously implemented and tested as the product is built.
  • Entrepreneurs are also often biased towards verticals they already know about. You only need one to work at a time so don’t cut yourself short by only thinking about the 2–3 that feel most comfortable to you. One of the other 16 might hold the key.

Format to complete assignment:

  • Click here.
  • Then go to File and down to Make a copy.
  • Share your copy with the rest of your team. Make sure they can edit it.
  • Note that there are different tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet.
  • Send this spreadsheet, one cover sheet, and presentation per team to by due date.


  1. Decide your traction goal. THIS IS KEY!!!!
    • This number should mean you are financially stable. To be stable, this means you have enough revenue to cover costs for the team or enough traction to raise money.
      • Costs for team is basic living costs and company costs.
      • Number of users to raise money, look at the market. Look at other companies in your market and see how much users they had or guess.
  2. Complete the Brainstorm tab in the spreadsheet to the best of your knowledge.
    • Make sure you brainstorm each vertical. Search DuckDuckGo ;) about anything you don’t know.
    • These are educated guesses just to get started. Once again, search for anything you don’t know anything about.
  3. Comparing to your traction goal, rank each vertical into your inner circle, promising, and long shots in the Rank tab in the spreadsheet. Just name the verticals.
  4. Prioritize the Rank sheet into your Prioritize tab. Place your top three verticals into your inner circle. Your next into promising. And everything else into Long shots.
  5. Place your Inner circle into your Test tab. Although the Test tab is very similar to the Brainstorm tab, the Test tab nails down the specifics. No more educated guesses.
    • Run one set of tests for your top 3.
    • If you don’t have a product, get clever. A classic setup is to start a LaunchRock page and collect emails via mailchimp. All free. But once again get clever.
    • Test all three channels in parallel to find the best.
  6. Now it’s time to focus. Once you have found what works the best. It’s time to optimize.

Presentation Format:

Concisely present your process in a slide deck of no more than 5 slides

  • Slide 1 – Your idea – 1 to 2 sentences description
  • Slide 2 – What is your traction goal?
  • Slide 3 – What three channels in the ranking section made it into your inner circle
  • Slide 4 – What were your tests for each? What were you testing?
  • Slide 5 – Which performed the best?

View assignment here

Session 1

Gabriel Weinberg

Gabriel Weinberg is the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you with over a billion searches in 2013. Previously he was the Co-founder & CEO of Opobox, which was sold to United Online in 2006 for $10 million. Weinberg is also an angel investor and has been featured on CBS, FOX, the Guardian, the Washington Post and many more. He holds B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Technology and Policy from MIT.

Zac Pappis

Zac Pappis is Director of Marketing and Community at DuckDuckGo. He loves strategy, startups, solving problems, and the user experience of all things.

Session 1

Session 2

  • Oct. 8th, 6:30 PM
  • VentureF0rth – 417 N. 8th St, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA

Lean Thinking

Segment 4 - Oct. 12th & Oct. 22nd

Ted Mann


Lean thinking defines value as providing benefit to the customer; anything else is waste. Eric Ries, Author of The Lean Startup

Lean Thinking is all about getting to the answers that matter as efficiently as possible. It is a frame of mind that with practice will change every piece of your process, but it excels at steering you towards the right product.

The skills that you will have after this segment include:

  • Efficient and quantifiable testing and iterations
  • Problem/solution => Product/Market fit
  • Build-Measure-Learn
  • The importance of intellectual honesty and recognizing failing ideas
  • Validation - Pivot

Segment Assignment

Lean Thinking

Due Date: Oct. 21 @ midnight

Don't forget to submit the assignment coversheet with each assignment.


Follow the attached assignment to identify and validate the assumptions of your product. Then run one or more experiments to lean if any of your risk factors are problematic and, if so, what you need to do to modify the idea to avoid them. For all those assumptions that you've validated (and de-risked), how does that reinforce and strengthen your original idea? Develop a 5-slide presentation to recap your product development journey.
  1. List your core assumptions and risk factors around the following:
    • Customer/User
    • Problem
    • The solution
  2. Rank the assumptions based on how risky they are, from 1-5
  3. Create an experiment you could use to test every one of those assumptions
  4. Pick the experiments for the most risky, scary assumptions that you can accomplish in the shortest possible time frame
  5. Measure the results of the experiment, determine if you need to shift or refine the product to address real issues
  6. Re-package/pivot product as needed

Presentation Format:
Concisely present your process in a slide deck of no more than 5 slides
  • Slide 1 - Product Name & 2 sentence concept pitch
  • Slide 2 - Core Assumptions & Risk Factors
  • Slide 3 - Experients
  • Slide 4- Results || conclusions
  • Slide 5 - Round 2 - Revised Product, Revised Assumptions

Ted Mann

Ted is the Founder and CEO SnipSnap, the first mobile app to let consumers save printed coupons to their smartphone and redeem in store. The company was started at the DreamIt Ventures accelerator in Philadelphia and launched in May 2012. It quickly grew to become one of the top mobile coupon apps, with more than four million users, who saved 100 million coupons in the first two years.

Prior to starting SnipSnap, Ted was Digital Development Director at Gannett, where he led development of the company's first hyperlocal network, daily deal websites, and blog operations, in addition to managing the core news websites. Ted began his time in the news industry as a writer and editor, having worked for publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The Journal News, and InTown Magazine. He still blogs at

Session 1

Session 2

  • Oct. 22nd, 6:30 PM
  • Benjamin's Desk – 1701 Walnut St, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Mapping the Product

Segment 5 - Oct. 26th & Nov. 5th

Anita Andrews

RJ Metrics

"Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works.” Steve Jobs

By this point in the Bootcamp, our theme is becoming very clear: data leads decision making! Mapping the Product is our first venture towards creating a "real" product. The goal of this segment is to learn to translate your idea and market feedback gathered so far into an product that will provide just the essential features, a true MVP, necessary to gather a new set of data-points that brings us one step closer to a market validated product.

In the Opening Session, Anita will teach you her iterative process for moving efficiently from idea to validated product. Skills learned include:

  • Data/Test Driven Design
  • High-level UI/UX
  • Prototyping Tools
  • Product Design

Segment Reading

Required Reading : Finding Product Market Fit

Additional Reading
UX/UI - If you are new to UX/UI, these readings will help you start learning how to think about the primary issues faced when designing an interface.

Visualization Tools - Part 2 of assignment.- If you have never built a wireframe, these readings will expose you to a few of the tools that many designers use and are easily approachable for this assignment.
Mapping the Product

Due Date: Nov. 4 @ midnight

Don't forget to submit the assignment coversheet with each assignment.




Implement the “Mapping the Product” framework on two core functions of your product. As you decide which are the core functions and map these functions into a product function, you should be constantly focused on solely on delivering the solution to your customer’s problem that you have been refining up to now.

  1. Define
    • Define your problem & customer in no more than three sentences.
      • Exclude anything that doesn’t directly deliver your solution.
      • (exclude basic functionalities like authentication, settings, etc for this exercise unless they are core to solution.)
    • What data points does my MVP need to provide? 
      • Is it a daily usage rate? signup rate?
      • Why this metric?
    • Define what validation will look like?
      • This should include some customer metric of degree to which your solution solves the problem.
      • Define a minimum of three metrics that together or individually indicate validation.
    • Define the Field Test - the optimal process for getting validation for your product.
      • What interview/demo process & series of interview questions will best allow for testing?
  2. Map
    • Pick two out of the 5 features and create a visual mockup of your core product - MVP
    • Create a visual hierarchy that maps to the screen or series of screens & their most important behaviors we want to elicit.
      • **This should be no more than wireframe** - the point here is UX over graphic design.
      • What are the essential buttons/text/images on each screen?
      • What is the most important action we want the user to take?
      • Is this clear without explanation?
  3. Diagnose - Will I get the data I need from this mvp?
    • Does your function map provide an opportunity to get each point of validation needed? Document a complete tear down of what you have created so far.
  4. Revise - loop back with new perspective (tear down) and proceed again.
    • Is it your “define” stage or your “map” stage that is misaligned? Go through that phase again. one subsection?
  5. Field test - “Get out of the Building”
    • Meet with 5-10 of your customers.(ideally the people you met with earlier in the bootcamp when finding and validating the problem to work on.)
    • Run you tests & document all responses(the raw data).

Presentation Format:

  • Slide 1– Define Phase
    • Present 2 core functions you chose to map
    • Essential parts of MVP
    • What does validation look like
  • Slide 2 – Mapping Phase
    • Show your MVP & explain your rationale and decisions.
  • Slide 3 – Diagnoses
    • If you answered no here, explain why. what happened?
  • Slide 4 - Field Test Results
    • Explain your interview process
    • Present the raw data.
    • present your analysis of the data. Did you validate?
  • Slide 5 - Next iteration/steps.
    • what actions will you take given these the results?

Anita Andrews

Anita’s broad range of experience brings a wealth of insight to tackling any problem. After graduating high school when she was 16, Anita went to NYU and by 18, had a degree in politics and a minor in mathematics. After fighting urban blight, improving immigrant rights, and raising the bar on NYC living by working for then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, she decided campaigns weren't her thing and got her master's in computer science from Stanford.

Along the way, she's run product, marketing, analytics and e-commerce through a variety roles and companies including: director of programs at Ingenio (bought by AT&T Yellowpages),vp of product at Nutrisystem, vp of product at wallop, and founder & CEO at Sepiida (acquired by Delphic Digital). in her spare time, Anita invests heavily in the local startup community as board member of the Enterprise Center and founding member & trustee of Techgirlz. and in here spare, spare time, Anita has a second full-time role as wife and mother to her 2 year old daughter.

Session 1

Session 2

  • Nov. 5th, 6:30 PM
  • Benjamin's Desk – 1701 Walnut St, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Business Model

Segment 6 - Nov 9th & Nov. 20th

Joanne Lang


Can your business make money and become profitable?

This is perhaps the most critically important question an entrepreneur must ask. There are ways to become profitable, just like there are ways to maximize profits. A business model with its related financial plan describes how an organization creates, delivers and captures value. This, in turn, drives your cash-flow. Ultimately, building and relying on a good business model is one of the keys to the success of any venture. In this session, you will build the first iteration of your business model and related financial model.


  • Understanding a business model and completing each of the nine building blocks for your business
  • Using the business model canvas, you will build your first iteration and complete your first financial model
  • Run through the checklist for a crystal clear business model

A business-modelling workshop generally lasts three to five days. Since this is a one day workshop, follow up office hours will be available via Walnut Street Labs in order to help you complete the creation of your business model.

Advance Preparation – please come prepared with data on your business model environment

  • Technology Trends
  • Market Trends
  • Customer needs
  • Competitor Trends

Segment Assignment

Business Model

Due Date: Nov. 19 @ midnight

Don't forget to submit the assignment coversheet with each assignment.


In this assignment you will use the customer development process to analyze and validate your business model/financial model.

Note: One of the best ways to become fluent in validated business models is to analyze the patterns established by competitors and other businesses already succeeding in the market.


  1. Select a successful company that has a business model similar to the one you feel best matches your own. Analyze its business model and complete the business model canvas for this business, if possible look at their financial models and their metrics.
  2. Re-analyze your own startup idea/model and highlight the riskiest or untested assumptions in your model.
  3. Customer development is critical. The model you create in the class is a starting point. The goal of this step is to get out of the building to validate and evolve the model, updating it with your validated customer feedback.
  4. Prepare your presentation

Presentation Format

  • In no more than 5 slides, pitch the story of your business model and summarize any lessons learned from customer development/validation process.
  • The final slide should be devoted to your riskiest assumptions.
  • You will have 5 minutes to present your slide deck and 5 minutes for critique and feedback from Joanne & Chris.

Joanne Lang

Founder Colliders Accelerator, AboutOne, DivvyDo and Board Adviser to Flex-IT

One of Forbes Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch, Founder of Colliders Accelerator, AboutOne(the world’s only Family Management Cloud Platform) and a board adviser to Flex-IT (an "Uber for Tech contractors"), Joanne Lang writes and speaks regularly on topics including entrepreneurship, fundraising, business development, networking, and leveraging technology to simplify life and prepare for the future.

Lang has appeared first on stage at VentureBeat DEMO and is one of the 3% of women who have raised $4M+ in capital in the US. She is and was featured in Microsoft’s documentary, CTRL+ALT+COMPETE. She’s a 2014 SmartCEO Voltage Award finalist, A Dell Founders Club Entrepreneur, and blogs for Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Women 2.0, and Region’s Business. Lang is also a frequent panelist, including the NYU Women Entrepreneurs Festival, CES Living in Digital Times, Women 2.0 Founder Friday, Women in Tech Summit, and BlogHer Entrepreneurs. Lang is also a 2015 judge for "The Stevie Awards" for Women-In-Business and is on The White House and SBA steering committee InnovateHER.

With the support of AWE and Gartner, Joanne recently founded Colliders Accelerator, which offers a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs’ or large corporate innovation teams to receive the education, templates and contacts they need to refine and launch their business ideas. The accelerator provides in-person and virtual educational sessions, as well as resources and funding assistance to build technology and run marketing and PR programs. What really sets Colliders apart is their corporate matchmaking service that gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to find the perfect corporate business match and early access to customer revenue, investment or acquisition potential, while in-parallel providing a "Virtual Innovation Center" for corporations.

Session 1

Session 2

  • Nov. 20th, 6:30 PM
  • Benjamin's Desk – 1701 Walnut St, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103


That all?

Of course not. Participants will be required to complete reading assignments before each talk. After the talk, framework specific assignments will be given. Individuals & teams will have to execute the frameworks on their own ideas over the next week or two.


Starting Sept. 10th, the bootcamp will meet once a week someday between Monday and Friday at 6:30 pm. Each session will last approximately 2-3 hours, depending on the need. There will be 9 sessions covering the 6 segments.

Can I get feedback?

Each segment is two weeks long. The second session is time allotted for individuals to showcase their work. They will be critiqued and given feedback by leaders and employees of local startups.

Who is it for?

You can be a student, an employee of a startup, or already a founder. You can have an idea or not. Doesn’t matter. Ambition and self-drive is what we are looking for. Commitment? Full participation in the sessions and assignments is required. If you miss an event, you must show that you have done the work on your own.

What you will get out of it?

The bootcamp is designed to shape you as a founder and give you some tested tools for tackling the perennial challenges of a startup.


Free. However, we will charge you $100 upfront so you personally invest in yourself and the community. If you complete the bootcamp, you will get your money back. If you can’t afford the deposit, contact us: