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LISA Cohort 3 kick-off launch

On the 14th October 2021, Stanford LEAD LISA launched the Cohort 3 program, starting off the entrepreneurial journey for the selected founders.

What is unique about LISA is its ability to leverage the power of distributed teams.

Many of these teams have members who are Stanford LEAD alumni who have already demonstrated their capacity to innovate and bring actionable results remotely.

LISA foresees that many of the next generation unicorns will be created by diverse distributed teams.

Some of the projects in Cohort 3 are at an early stage whereas several have established ventures. All leverage Embark, the Stanford Entrepreneurship toolkit to build on solid foundations. Stanford Embark is an interactive toolkit for emerging and established entrepreneurs. The resource is designed by Stanford GSB’s world-class faculty and successful entrepreneurs, combining high-level insights on building ventures with tactical steps necessary for launching or validating a sustainable business. LISA Team has partnered with Embark to iterate and improve upon its offering through real-time learnings with LISA founders and their feedback loops. As the basis for Stanford Embark and LISA supported content, entrepreneurs at LISA go through content over a period of 12 weeks that enables them to:

  • Identify target customers and build personas
  • Develop a prototype
  • Create value propositions
  • Define a go-to-market strategy
  • Determine the right profit model
Davina Drabkin, Stanford EMBARK General Manager

Davina Bradkin, General Manager of Stanford Embark, attended the kick-off and reminded the founders of the tremendous value the toolkit brought to Stanford Rebuild.

For those of you who do not know, Stanford Rebuild was a global Innovation Sprint organised by Stanford centre of Entrepreneurial studies and was run under the Leadership of Prof. Stefanos Zenios and Davina.

Davina is convinced Cohort 3 founders will benefit greatly from Embark which is Stanford GSB core entrepreneurial toolkit during the program and they will also connect to many new people and greatly advance their learning throughout the process.

Marineh Lalikian, Stanford GSB LEAD Director during the kick- off expressed how she is amazed by this progress and witnessed the dedication of the founding team — the foundation of this success and is looking forward to following the journey of Cohort 3 entrepreneurs.

Marineh Lalikian, Stanford GSB LEAD Director

Marineh: It is exciting to see how far LISA has grown and evolved from the initial concept. Having something like LISA born from the Stanford LEAD community is really special and does a fantastic job at fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship that is present amongst LEADers.

Marineh also remarked on the power of the Stanford LEAD network. Sharing of expertise and supporting one another, being intentional to contribute back to the community, the robust learnings applied to real world ideas: all the dedication from so many LEADers creates such a positive change.

To illustrate the progress made by past previous participants, LISA invited founders of the Cohort 2 to attend and share their experiences.

Mikael Presley (EKG Insights, now Tangent Health) developed a solution for cheaper medical diagnosis of heart condition. He came into LISA with an initial go to market strategy ; however the program enabled the founders to look at their business from a different perspective while validating their hypothesis. This allowed EKG insights to pivot and adapt their strategy. They managed to raise funds of around 1M$ within a month of completing LISA.

Stanford LISA Cohort 2 winners

Libby Robinson (Backfeed App) came with the ambition to disrupt HR 360 feedback assessments using neurosciences. She started with an MVP when entering the program and she found LISA’s network of entrepreneurs very valuable. Since LISA, Backfeed has acquired 25 clients including large companies.

Libby: Discussions with my LISA mentor as well as advice from Stanford GSB Professor Sarah Soule was really valuable. All helped me to deliver a superb pitch at Cohort 2 Pitch Fest event.

Deb Mikherjee (Ceres Foods), provides solutions to large retail / restaurants. He entered LISA with product lines in the market and a couple of customers.

Deb: During the program we discovered that many customers felt threatened by Ceres Food products and used Design Thinking to discover how to better market them. We were able to solve this challenge and we are now scaling rapidly.

Alvaro de Murga Pardo (MexiCrowd) shared how LISA was key to turn Mexicrowd from initial idea to a reality. Mexicrowd enables micro lending with ease. Today Mexicrowd is becoming a bank. Following the curriculum of the program was really helpful and Alvaro encourages founders in Cohort 3 to make the most of this program.

These stories are very much inspiring and we are looking forward to seeing the new Cohort achieve just as much on their business objectives. This in turn will feedback a new cycle of learning and growth for LEAD LISA as it seeks to deliver more value and better experience for current and future founders.

Our current COHORT 3 is already benefitting from multiple new services, designed as a by-product of previous 2 cohorts — co-developed by the larger LISA executive team. The team is constantly identifying and iterating on factors that influence the effectiveness of early-stage venture incubation and mentoring for promoting learning, scaling and profitability among entrepreneurs from diverse regions and backgrounds.

  • For instance, we believe that entrepreneurs who are paired with mentors learn the kind of expertise that enables them to grow their ideas and businesses significantly. Currently, LISA Team is working on a new mentor-matching service that aspires to deliver value by way of filling gaps in pre-entry knowledge and sector experience. Entrepreneurs are coming into LISA with different needs, different skills gaps, and different knowledge gaps. So, how we pair entrepreneurs with mentors is important for the value that they ultimately get.
  • LISA also understands the impact of peer effects within the cohort and peer learning — whether being in an environment where entrepreneurs are constantly interacting with like-minded entrepreneurs, or comparing themselves to other entrepreneurs to help them improve their performance. LISA Team has been organizing Weekly peer engagement meetings, as well as bi-weekly Demo showcases and pitch sessions for COHORT 3 Founders.

Stay tuned. More exciting news to come from this cohort.

LEAD Incubator and Start-ups Accelerator (LISA)

More info on LISA — GSB-LEAD-LISA

Follow LISA on Linkedin

Contributed by:

Emmanuel Moreira, Deepti Pawha

Read other stories from LISA:

Brilliant & Diverse minds behind LEAD Incubator & Startup Accelerator Cohort 3

LISA Pitch fest 2021 Winners




LISA (LEAD Incubator & Startup accelerator) is an Alumni Club of Stanford GSB LEAD Innovation Program that incubates entrepreneurial Ideas of Stanford-wide global community. It is an ecosystem for Innovators & Startup founders. This publication aims to empower their narratives.

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LISA - LEAD Incubator & Stratup Accelerator

LISA - LEAD Incubator & Stratup Accelerator

Founded by Stanford GSB LEAD participants, an ecosystem for Innovators & Startups - 1st hybrid platform for incubating Ideas to MVP, scaling ventures globally.

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