Salim Virani, entreprenerd. Creator of Leancamp.
A hacker since an early age, my career moved up through web software, then into the marketing agency world, then into startups as a marginally successful serial founder. I was just successful enough to start believing I was good at it - and the combination of a bit of success and money led to a counter-acting level of arrogance! So when I moved to London, I lost my money slowly on a few startup ideas that I would have canned sooner if I was as bright as I thought I was.
Enter The Lean Startup movement.
At the time, in 2009, Lean Startup was largely unknown in Europe. It resonated so much with me that I thought somebody aught to share this more. It also occurred to me that the business model innovation and UX communties, then clearly separate, should join this conversation. What started up as a way to bring these communities together mushroomed into the first Leancamp, a 160-person event. I had no experience or business running events, and it almost bankrupted me, so I promised myself never to do it again.
Except it turns out that Leancamp was really helpful, and it's hard for an entrepreneur to say no to market pull!
Leancamp is now an open event that has run across Europe and is now spreading to other continents. It brings together different disciplines, such as design, entrepreneurialism and research, to find market traction faster. At the first Leancamp in London, leaders from Lean Startup, 37 Signals, Business Model Generation and Visual Thinking came together for the first time to share their tools and methods.
To engage broader participation and sharing, I've directed Leancamp to grow and connect to new topics and disciplines. Now that Leancamp has spread around Europe and to the U.S., my goal is to take it to the next level - community-directed and truly global in geography and perspective.
My exposure to so many rising stars in entrepreneurship turned into workshop and speaking invitations to share what I learned. I joined forces with a few other founders, creating an ever-evolving set of open workshop modules for startup founders . We call it Founder Centric because we focus on improving each founder, through tools that give immediate results and principles that multiply their momentum.
Founder-Centric helps accelerators use these workshops to optimise their programmes for success, both from the founders' perspective and from the KPI's of the programme and underlying funds. We've helped Springboard, UCL, Wayra, Seedcamp, Lean Startup Machine, Emerge Venture Labs and Capital Enterprise, to name a few.
If there's somewhere your founders are spinning their wheels, chances are we have a lightweight workshop that'll bump them out of it. These time-savings compound into a big difference in fast-paced accelerators.
I feel like I have a fairly unique outlook on startup culture and community, particularly with regard to Europe. Here's an interview after a workshop for the Ignite100 accelerator in Newcastle, UK, touching on common mistakes, founder tenacity and when different techniques are appropriate, how accelerators can improve, and how the local advantages of different startup communities are often under-exploited.
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