Starting in 2018, we have kicked off NUvention Web with a “coding bootcamp” focused on practicing team software development skills to get teams ready to go in NUvention Web. This year, we ran the camp in three evenings. The first two have focused on developing a sample project by running through a set of tutorials. The technical skills focus on getting familiar with GitHub, ReactJS, and hosting applications using Google Firebase. The final bootcamp, we brought in the full teams to work together to run a 3 hour iteration to prototype a slice of one of their ideas.

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Goals of the Bootcamp

As I…

In NUvention web, we have student teams develop their own ideas as the seeds for their startup. We’ve tried to do this several different ways, and frankly I’ve come to not even like the word “idea” because I think it is too vague and too often confused by students and would be entrepreneurs as solutions. Therefore, in the first set of classes; we work with students to better observe customers and determine the jobs to be done. This started in our first class last week. The work of interviewing is so important we have students practice their skills on a…

This Year at Northwestern I’m part of the team teaching the 10th iteration of NUvention Web+Media, a two-quarter class focused on developing a web, mobile, or media startup. Over 400 students and 50 teams have gone through this 20-week process. This post gives some background on the course, and what we are doing this year. We held our first class January 7th.

How to Build a Web Startup in 20 Weeks or Less

This is how I often describe the NUvention web course. In its current iteration, teams of 4 to 6 students work to determine a startup concept, validate the concept using customer development and lean startup techniques, and build…


In Seattle, I'm a managing director at Divergent Ventures. I also commute to Chicago and teach Entrepreneurship at Northwestern (

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