Eric Ries worked in, advised and founded two startups, only to see them crash and burn. The startups in question were very different from each other, but Ries realized that they both failed because of the same reason – working forward from technology instead of working backward from desired business results. Ries learned from these experiences and eventually, in 2008, developed a new philosophy for startups, which he called the Lean Startup Methodology. Indebted to Lean Thinking Principles, the Lean Startup Methodology follows a scientific approach towards creating startups and managing them, the ultimate goal being faster product delivery.
Creating order out of chaos
Many startups fail because they spend too long in product development – months and even years go by without the slightest glimpse of the product surfacing, and eventually the customer base grows bored and flocks to a new idea. The Lean Startup Method helps startups create order out of chaos through the application of certain tools derived from agile principles, such as the build-measure-learn feedback loop, validated learning, smart work and innovation accounting. The mechanism helps entrepreneurs learn how to “drive” a startup – when to pivot and when to persevere, and as a result, grow the startup with the greatest of acceleration while working on a “lean” budget.
The focus is on developing a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) through continuous deployment, split testing and actionable metrics. The Lean Startup methodology has been widely adopted since its inception in over 17 countries, and by renowned startups like Dropbox and Groupon, and is even taught at the Harvard Business School. Now Leanbirds, a Buenos Aires startup, is bringing these principles to Latin America, helping other startups maximize their growth as efficiently as possible.
It started with two childhood friends…
Headed by the 4 member team of Lucila Campos, Juan Pablo Mansor, Susana Cipriota and Gabriel Maffia, Leanbirds is not your traditional incubator, although they do mentor and help their clients. Campos and Cipriota, childhood friends, were running their software startup, Condiminds, when they met Mansor and Maffia who were involved with Digital League. Realizing that they had amazing chemistry and similar goals, they decided to team up. They talked about which projects they enjoyed the most, and which clients, and saw that they loved working with other startups and using Lean Methodologies. That is when the idea of an Innovation Factory first appeared on their horizon. They had been developing software as part of the companies they had been involved with for a long time, and had worked with startups which didn’t even know they were startups, and saw them fail, one after the other. The four of them wanted to help other startups succeed using the Lean Startup Principles that had worked so well for them, and so Leanbirds was born.
Succeeding by focusing on their clients’ success
According to Campos, Lean Startup Methodologies provide startups with awareness on how to be a startup by using all their resources (money and time) as efficiently as possible. Usually people are scared of failure and wasting time on things, and as a result get incredibly frustrated during the product development process. But when you start by knowing that you have to validate your project through every stage, you accept that failure is a possibility and that the secret to success is to face that possibility as soon as you can. This reduces the amount of frustration in general and helps you launch a better product that is even tested and/or approved by users. Leanbirds offers burgeoning startups help with software, product and customer development, adapting differently to each client’s needs. They also mentor them about entering different programs and get them in touch with investors when possible. According to Campos, “We are focused on our clients’ success to ourselves succeed.”
“I’m not a superwoman”
The startups they have developed so far are Sinimanes, Soukboard, Talemestories and Agrolinked. Leanbirds earns revenue through various streams, charging a fixed price for MVP development; Time and Materials options are also available for incomplete or unusually complicated projects.
If they really believe in a certain startup, they even give them the option to pay them a part of their equity. Talemestories is one of the startups they have equity in. When asked how she can handle so many startups at once, Campos laughs and says “I’m not a superwoman; my partner (Cipriota) is – she has the same on her plate I have…and a 7 month daughter too!” Leanbirds has certainly been doing pioneering work in the world of Latin American startups – we can’t wait to know about their next project!