The GroundWork Methodology
The Startup Haven Accelerator leverages the GroundWork methodology to support founders at the crossroads of growth, i.e., a customer-ready product, in market or with early commercialization… but not yet at scale.
What’s next for companies at this stage is chart a path to meaningful traction, i.e., the beginnings of scale — scaling users, scaling customers, scaling revenue, scaling team. But scaling is among the most difficult milestones for any startup to achieve. And at this stage of a startup’s life, the clock is ticking.
The failure rate of startups is extraordinarily high, even for those with lots going for them — great product, great market, great team, and even great investors. There are certainly no magic bullets, but the GroundWork methodology is the most-reliable path to progress:
- have a solid understanding of the right strategic milestone (four to six months out) that you need to reach next — including why that milestone is the right one and what that milestone will unlock;
- have a specific and quantifiable thesis for how you can reach your milestone — i.e., what, exactly, are you going to do?
- have a quantitative understanding of the assumptions underlying your thesis — i.e., what must be true in order for you to reach your milestone?;
- have a thoughtful, metrics-driven approach to validating your assumptions through advisors, research and experimentation;
- have the discipline to build a cogent growth story that smart, experienced people also believe you can execute.
Done right, with guidance and accountability, this approach will set a north star for the company and the team and will lay the groundwork for growth.
But the startup world moves fast. It is sometimes said that planning anything in advance for a startup is a fools errand because plans are obsolete the minute they are forged. This is true enough… particularly because most startup growth plans lack cogency. For the GroundWork methodology, the cogency of the plan is fundamental.
Throughout the Startup Haven Accelerator program, founders are challenged to understand, explain, and defend the cogency of their milestones, their thesis and their underlying assumptions.
Significant uncertainty and risk are an inescapable fact of life for every venture-scale growth startup. This is especially true in the early stages, before product-market-fit is achieved, and no amount of cogency can guarantee success. But what we believe is that cogency is the best tool we have. And that’s good news because striving for cogency is within the reach of every single startup company and every single startup founder.
Every startup founder also has blind spots and not every element of risk and uncertainty is plainly obvious — even when you’re looking for them! Startups in the accelerator get help identifying, quantifying and validating the assumptions they already know about as well as flushing out assumptions that are hidden from view.
Applying to the Accelerator
If you are already a Startup Haven member, you can…
If you are not yet a Startup Haven member, you should apply for membership before applying for the accelerator.
If you have any questions about the program, please leave us your name, email and what city you’re in.