Last week one of our startups, OpenSourceHigh (maker of fun, engaging educational videos) came to us with a common challenge. They have a product that attracts users (in their case students & teachers), but are struggling to find a revenue model that makes the company sustainable. We brainstormed some possible revenue streams for him relating to college admissions, college continuing ed programs, and online tutoring programs. And while that was valuable, of far more value were the direct, personal connections we were then able to make for him directly to high-level people in our community who run such programs including:
- A dean who has developed new programming, overseen admissions, and created online courses.
- Director of a marketing program at a rapidly expanding university with an active online education division.
- CEO of a rapidly growing, angel-backed startup offering tutoring to high schoolers to up their SAT scores.
We don’t have to have the answers. We need to help the entrepreneur come up with good questions (aka hypotheses) and then connect them to the people who can validate or invalidate those hypotheses.