MVP Workshop at Aeternity Starfleet 3 Malta | Startup Mentorship Sessions

MVP Workshop
Nov 1, 2019 · 7 min read

MVP Workshop will be taking part at Aeternity Starfleet 3 Malta, November 5/6, providing business development mentorship to 16 blockchain startups, as a continuation of our close collaboration with Aeternity Ventures.

Back in August MVP Workshop had the opportunity to speak at the Aeternity Universe One conference, held in Prague, about the importance of proper business development practices for facilitating blockchain mass adoption. Now, we have the honour of being a part of Aeternity Starfleet 3 in Malta, an accelerator for early-stage blockchain startups in its third edition.

The program is action-oriented and will help the teams shape their ideas and craft a realistic business plan that will be sustainable in real-world conditions.

MVP Workshop’s mentors Petar Atanasovski and Stefan Ignjatović, will be a part of a wider team of industry experts that will be guiding and advising the startups. We are looking forward to the experience, primarily because we will have the chance to educate young teams on how to approach business development processes in blockchain, in terms of identifying the key value proposition for their product, mapping the value streams, and overcoming user adoption barriers.

MVP Workshop’s Workshop

Our contribution to the Starfleet program will be a 2-day workshop (5/6 November), covering Value Proposition Design and clearly defining the business models using the Decentralized Business Model Canvas.

Value Proposition Design

MVP Workshop approaches the development of blockchain products and services by covering the complete vertical of necessary business development activities, not relying on the buzz-effect of blockchain technology to excite the market about your product, as it often does the engineers who actually created it. Blockchain is all the rage these days, but the customer and their end-user will be asking “what’s in it for me”.

This is an important thought to start with, since it brings up the question ‘ Who are my customers?’, the starting point for defining the value proposition for the product or service in question. In the blokchain space, this should be expanded into ‘Who are the stakeholders?’, especially if the product or service is truly decentralized and should balance itself as an ecosystem.

Our starting point are one or more clearly defined target group, as we will be putting all system stakeholders into the picture a little bit later. This narrow focus allows us to pinpoint the value offered to future users, as we will be using the Product/Market Fit and Value Proposition canvases in order to map this out. We will help the teams define who their customers are and how to segment them, prioritizing early adopters — forming user personas which correspond to the value proposition of the product/service in question.

Our next step is to gather facts and define assumptions about the product/market matrix we are evaluating. The solution itself needs to be viable business-wise regardless of the technical implementation path, and as such, we would like to instill the teams with two important notes:

  1. Don’t try and create causalities that are correlations at best
  2. Don’t try and forcefully connect all the facts into a logical whole

The facts we analyze to architect the solution are there to inform our decision-making process, not to lead it. We will need to make certain assumptions, since we will be working with early-stage startups.

More importantly, we would like to help them improve the way they make assumptions when developing products, and give them a high-level framework for mapping out and testing decisions that are not primarily data-driven.

The Experiment Canvas is useful in this stage, while our popular blog post about how to identify the riskiest assumption gives more details and useful tips as well. At this point we probably cannot actually design many or any concrete experiments to test, but covering why this kind of testing is important and giving examples will inspire the teams to think about key metrics and KPIs that should drive their decisions from the early stages of development.

A direct effect of making assumptions is the risk that stems from the decisions me might make based on these assumptions, an area of business development which is extremely important but often overlooked in early stages of development. We will guide the teams through identifying and prioritizing the risks related to their products and services, as well as going through the PMR risks analysis framework:

  • Prevention — what we can do so the risk doesn’t occur
  • Mitigation — if the risk occurs, what is our immediate response
  • Reaction — what actions do we need to take to rectify the ‘damage done’

One handy tool for this activity is Cross SWOT Analysis, which can be surprisingly useful for turning weaknesses and threats (i.e. key elements of risk) into growth opportunities.

Defining the Business Models

The second part of the workshop is aimed at forming clearly defined business models for all teams. Some elements were covered in the Value Proposition Design, but to have a complete holistic picture of the product/service we need to take care of more aspects of business development.

To do that, we need proper tools. As MVP Workshop is very interested in not only adopting technology and facilitating decentralized business models that actually work but also providing the highest level of service possible to clients and partners, we were logically lead to ask ourselves the following question: “How to validate decentralized business models?”

One of the most popular tools used to describe, design, challenge, and pivot business models is the Business Model Canvas. However, it was created with a centralized business model in mind, and we needed a simple way to quickly validate, test and pivot a business model in a decentralized space.

That is why we decided to adapt various tools or build new ones from scratch, and one of the most important ones is the Decentralized Business Model Canvas. It enables us to work fast and adapt even faster, while ensuring the key questions about product development are answered properly. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at it.

  • User/Customer Segments — Who we are building the product for
    /covered in Value Proposition Design
  • Value Proposition — What is the value we promise to deliver to our users
    /covered in Value Proposition Design
  • Proposed Solution — What does the solution actually look like
  • Reaching Trust — What mechanisms do we use to reach trust
  • Validator Incentive — What are the incentives for validators to take part in the network and work in its best interest
  • Interaction Channels — What are the best channels for communicating with users and community in general
  • Network Governance — How are decisions made within the network
  • Cost Structure — What are the key costs of doing business
  • Revenue Streams — What are the key ways to generate revenue

Teams will be working hands-on with defining and mapping their (decentralized) business models onto the DBMC framework with our guidance, having built the value-driven base for workshops that will follow and further product development. In the spirit of sharing tools and knowledge, which we enjoy and find important for blockchain adoption, get the Decentralized Business Model Canvas (DBMC) and the Risky Assumptions analysis table and use it freely.

About Aeternity & Starfleet

MVP Workshop has a long-standing friendship with Aeternity Ventures which has over time grown into an official partnership. We are more than excited to be a part of the third Starfleet accelerator program during the Genesis Week (as the first development stage is called). We had the opportunity to see some of the startups and success stories that went through the previous Starfleet programs during our stay in Prague, with some of them offering services which are having an extremely positive impact and are utilizing the advantages blockchain offers — good examples are ampnet, YAIR, RideSafe and utu.

We were also excited to discover the ecosystem in Prague after falling in love with the Berlin blockchain development community. Prague has traditions in blockchain since the early years of Bitcoin marked by Slush, who created the first mining pool and then founded Trezor — the first hardware wallet and still one of the best in the world!

From the perspective of a product development company such as MVP Workshop, it is always beneficial to have a clear insight into the long-term development of a blockchain protocol such as Aeternity and it’s roadmap, one of the bigger players in the blockchain ecosystem. We saw, though talks with Aeternity’s business development team, that our companies’ visions were remarkably similar, and as such we cannot wait to get to Malta and collaborate with Aeternity once more to help develop the next group of exciting startups. If you are thinking about applying, check out their blog post about the Starfleet startup accelerator.

AIBC Summit Malta

Coincidentally, while we are holding the workshops, the Malta Blockchain Summit is happening at the same time. Last year our CEO was a speaker at Malta Blockchain Summit and spoke about the challenges of building a Blockchain development team in the early stages of life for this technology.

Ivan Bjelajac, CEO
MVP Workshop
Focus — Strategic Development, R&D

One of the key points that we covered at that time was outsourcing vs building an internal team and how our processes helped our clients build products more efficiently and effectively in the early stages of the web3 market. Sharing experiences with both product companies, dev shops, VCs and regulators was extremely helpful for us to be able to navigate the market in a better way

Originally published at on November 1, 2019.

MVP Workshop

Experienced R&D blockchain company dedicated to defining, building and scaling disruptive products. Get in touch if you would like to collaborate with us.

MVP Workshop

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Experienced R&D blockchain company dedicated to defining, building and scaling disruptive products. Check out our publication:

MVP Workshop

Experienced R&D blockchain company dedicated to defining, building and scaling disruptive products. Get in touch if you would like to collaborate with us.

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