How to Validate a Business Idea

September 1, 2020

Speaker Slides

Market Validation: From Idea to Product-Market Fit

Jim Semick, Founder, ProductPlan

How to: Consumer Market Validation. Tips & Tools for Startups.

Stephanie Connaughton, Innovation and Marketing Advisor; Angel Investor; Member of Pipeline Angels, Harvard Business Analytics Program

Learn How to Validate Idea Through Caboom Idea Validation Story

Bimal Maharjan, Product Management, AI, and Growth. I help build SaaS products and platforms

Intellectual Property Basics For Startups

Matt Karlyn

You have a business idea. How do you determine if the idea will be successful? Let us first take a look at the top three reasons Start-Up fail; 1) Lack of market interest 2) Poor business model 3) Ran out of money. In this session, we will discuss the first two failure points. The Expert Panel will discuss; product discovery, validating the market, business model, and IP strategies. All to improve the odds of the product/market fit before launching new products.



7:00 – 7:10 PM – ENET Chairperson’s announcements

7:10 – 7:25 PM – eMinute Pitch – Up to 3 Startup companies’ presentations

7:25 – 8:10 PM – 4 expert speakers on the night’s topic

8:10 – 8:45 PM – Moderator and Audience Q & A with the speakers

(all times are USA Eastern Daylight time)

A question and answer session will follow the panel discussion, and panelists will be available afterward for responses to individual questions.


Jim Semick, Founder, ProductPlan,

Jim is co-founder and Chief Strategist at ProductPlan, a SaaS company based in Santa Barbara, California. Jim is passionate about software product management and validating successful business models. For over 15 years, he has been taking products from concept to market. He has helped validate and launch innovative software products that are used today by millions of people. Prior to founding ProductPlan, Jim was part of the founding team at AppFolio, a vertical SaaS company, helping develop multiple products. Prior to AppFolio, he validated and launched GoToMyPC, GoToMeeting, and GoToWebinar (acquired by Citrix, LogMein).

Stephanie Connaughton, Innovation and Marketing Advisor; Angel Investor; Member of Pipeline Angels, Harvard Business Analytics Program

Stephanie is an expert in product/market fit for consumer facing companies.

Her innovation experience began while working as a Marketing Director at Gillette/P&G . Stephanie’s teams validated and brought to market some of Gillette’s most significant breakthroughs, including Venus, M3Power, and an externally licensed disruptive technology: a home laser hair removal device. She has been a founder herself. In 2012, she launched an inventive yoga mat direct to consumer anchored by four patents in layered grip technology.

Stephanie currently mentors full time, has worked with over 25 start-ups and recently completed the Harvard Business Analytics Program, a collaborative certificate program between Harvard Business School and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences focused on data analytics, predictive techniques, digital strategy and the basics of programming.

She believes that marketing frameworks are essential in the earliest venture stages. She has distilled her practice in world-class consumer research into an accessible approach that she calls Marketing Thinking.

Bimal Maharjan, Product Management, AI, and Growth. I help build SaaS products and platforms

Bimal is a founder at (It’s a no-code recommendation system builder for non ML experts. It’s at the incubation stage). He is a 3x founder who has lived and launched startups in three continents: United States, Western Europe, and South Asia.

Caboom is incubating at Leapfrog Technology Inc. Bimal is a Principal at Leapfrog Technology Inc, where he leads Product, R & D, and AI teams. Leapfrog provides product engineering and development services to startups and enterprises. Furthermore, he advises founders, CTOs, CPO’s on product vision, strategies, and development practices.

He has a learn it all mindset. He is not only an ardent student of startup, product, and technology but also a curious reader of various subjects such as psychology, philosophy, and politics. His latest passion is running, and he has an ambitious goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2022. He is a go-to-person to ask recommendations for books, meditation, and yoga.

Before Principal at Leapfrog Technology in the US, he ran Leapfrog Labs, the startup incubator that helped build and launch startups in Nepal. Before Leapfrog Labs, he operated his startups. He raised seed capital from the startup accelerator program, Techpeaks, in Italy, where he lived for six months to validate startup ideas. He strongly believes in building communities. He helped seed and grow communities such as mobile application development, startups, and open street maps in Nepal.

Before the startup bug bit him, he graduated at the top of his class with an engineering degree in Industrial Engineering and Management and was a software engineer for three years in Infosys, India.

Matt Karlyn, Partner at Morrison & Forester LLP – Commercial Life Sciences | Licensing | Technology – Focused on the convergence of life sciences and technology across the global economy

For the past 23 years, my practice has focused on commercial transactions, largely devoted to all aspects of transactions in the life sciences, licensing, technology and outsourcing.

I work with clients on IP and technology licenses, strategic partnerships, collaboration agreements, joint development agreements, distribution agreements, manufacture and supply relationships, significant software deployments, data center transactions, and numerous information technology and business process outsourcing transactions. I regularly advise companies with respect to transactions designed to maximize the value of corporate assets.

I represent numerous clients in the life sciences and technology sectors, including pharmaceutical, medical device, and software companies — ranging from Fortune 100 companies to start-ups, and I work with these companies on matters involving IP commercialization, complex collaboration transactions, licensing initiatives, subscription-based economics, and business transactions related to the procurement, development, commercialization, and use of technology and life sciences products.

I regularly use the skills I learned getting a MBA in economics and strategic management from the University of Chicago to advise my clients on deal strategy, economics and pricing strategies, and now to structure deals that reduce risk and work for the long term. My business experience, coupled with the time I spent as an in-house lawyer at both a publicly held corporation as well as a start-up company, enables me to bring a unique business and strategy background to my practice.

Organizer and Moderator:

Dan Skiba, Managing Director Skiba Advisory Associates, Vice-Chair Boston ENET

As a Product Development Company Executive, I provide strategic leadership in product innovation and managing global teams, delivering award-winning products to the international market. My ability to problem solve, direct the entire product development lifecycle, and gain commitment to a common goal have driven faster release of products and market penetration. By building synergies across all Product Life Cycle disciplines, we have delivered products that result in 100% product utilization and seamless integration into customer environments. My skills in optimizing international resources have significantly reduced costs and streamlined production, delivering product excellence.

eMinute PITCH Presentations will be given at the start of each meeting. These 90-second elevator-style presentations enable early-stage startup entrepreneurs to gain experience in presenting a summary of their business plans to expert panels and audiences

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