When the words "student visa" and "cannabinoids" are heard casually in the same room, one can expect trouble. And on November 28th at 18:00h, these two were very present at the flashy new NOBA offices at the OneCowork Port Vell. Trouble was to be expected, but not for the reasons one might imagine.
The occasion was one of NOBA's quarterly event, the Idea Roast, as it was dubbed in this occasion. The purpose of the event was to collectively assist two teams of entrepreneurs into thinking how they can launch faster to make sure they are building the right it before they build it right. Essentially, having their ideas "roasted" by the market.
The two honorary start-ups who were invited to the Roast were Veasy, a service to make student visa acquisition easy; and Fytocina, a natural consumer health business that makes products from cannabinoid oil. Courtesy of the organizers, drinks and snacks were offered to attract the presence of participants, as such activities require.
The workshop was structured the way NOBA approaches its projects, albeit focusing only only on the initial steps. First, once the ideas were well communicated and understood the Leap of Faith Assumptions (or LOFA's) were identified, the things we take for granted in a business that can make or break its success. Secondly, the participants were led through an open brainstorming into how the teams could learn and quickly validate their ideas through field experiments and prototyping. The event fell short of the most important part: getting those prototypes and test launched onto the world to measure, learn and iterate.
Mohammed Qayyum, CEO of Fytocina, and Marius Klages, from Veasy, took home a myriad of ideas to quickly launch and test them on the market. Despite being strong value propositions and robust teams, the entrepreneurs also heeded the warnings from the attendants: innovation, even the greatest ideas, imply a lot of uncertainty.
As in all of NOBA's workshops work was done, beer was drunk and friends were made. Cannabinoids and visas were in order, though no border authorities or police were involved. But we hope all took home a very important message: to those who do not submit their ideas to a proper market roast, there is trouble ahead.
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