The Launch Path is a process developed by Bret Waters as part of his work at Stanford University. It is an 8-step process designed help entrepreneurs create a launch-ready, funding-ready venture with increased odds of success. It builds upon the work of Steve Blank and Eric Ries.
Step 1: Listen to the waves.
Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y-Combinator, wrote that great startups begin not by “thinking up an idea”, but by noticing a problem worth solving. This has been true throughout history, that the great entrepreneurs are the ones who fall in love with a problem worth solving.
Deliverable: Write a short paragraph describing the problem your startup solves, and why it’s a problem worth solving.
Step 2: Build something people want.
Deliverable: Write one-page that describes how you will use concepts such as Design Thinking, Customer Development, and Lean Startup/MVP in order to get to the elusive Product-Market Fit.
Step 3: Draw the landscape.
Deliverable: Draw a diagram that provides a visualization of the landscape of competitors and alternatives, and how your venture fits within that landscape.
Step 4: Build an engine of growth.
Deliverable: Produce a Business Model Canvas and think about how you will test your assumptions.
Step 5: Create an economic model.
Deliverable: Produce a comprehensive set of spreadsheets that show the economic model for your venture, including Unit Economics.
Step 6: Develop a capital strategy.
Deliverable: Create a capital plan, based on the economic model that you created.
Step 7: Acquire, deliver, repeat.
Deliverable: A document that describes your customer acquisition plan, including some validated numbers on CAC < LTV. Step 8: Be a master storyteller. Deliverable: A one-sentence pitch, a one-paragraph pitch, and a 3-minute slide deck.