It’s now halfway through the Lightning Lab Electric programme and we’re starting to count down to demo day! We spent a few minutes with our Lightning Lab Electric ventures;, emhTrade, Ampli and MLabs to get a feel for how everything’s going for them so far, what has been most challenging and whats been the biggest lesson taken from the problem discovery phase. In the last two weeks highlights from the programme have been heading over to the Occasional Brewer and creating craft beer from scratch a great way to socialise with a purpose and Coco the Lightning LAB (Paul of’s pup) comes into the office often to hang out with the ventures, boost morale and snooze on the bean bags… and if you missed our last venture update, read it here.

lightning lab electric

Hows it all going now that you’re half way through the accelerator programme? | We entered the programme with the expectation that we had a huge hill to climb and this has proven to be true. Accelerator programmes are immensely challenging, but there is also a lot of learning to be had, even by those of us who have been involved in other companies previously. We are currently re-thinking our approach to ensure everyone gets the best value out of the programme.

emhTrade | Wow, last few days have been a real lesson in focus. With just 5 weeks left to D Day we have really had to tightly define a narrow MVP.  Right now it seems barely conceivable we can design, consumer test, build, deploy/sell and get user insights in time to definitively evidence we have the solution to a long standing problem!

Ampli | We’ve been making great progress in the last few weeks – with the focus shifting to the design & build of our product.  We’ve been working closely with our early adopter and are on track to have the first Network customer project delivered (and invoiced) by the end of the programme.  We still have work to do developing our propositions for the Retail segment – we hope to have some early adopter agreements in place by the programme completion.

MLabs | It has been demanding and exciting in equal quantities. The programme is certainly pushing us to achieve our best.

startup life indicatorWhat’s been the most challenging thing for your venture this far? | The most challenging aspect so far has been that it has become clear that we are operating in a very, very entrenched industry that has little incentive to move quickly or engage with agile startup companies. This creates a dissonance between the programme goals and actual deliverables, because sales cycles and decision time frames are months or years, not weeks.

emhTrade | We have had so much advice, that has driven us to zig zag toward our goal – we are like an America’s Cup Yacht tacking up the beat but with different crew members calling the wind-shifts so we erratically head to our goal!  There are always great insights, question and different contexts – all valid and all from experts.  Sifting through to the most vital actions for D-Day is tough.

Ampli | We entered this programme with a fairly clear idea of the requirements for Networks (Lines Companies) and Retailers – but quickly discovered that we had underestimated the complexity of our Retail clients’ requirements.

MLabs | We did a two day sell sprint with one of the Creative HQ coaches. It was a challenging but provided us with an incredible learning experience and taught us both some new tricks.

coco lightning lab

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from the problem discovery phase? | The biggest lesson we took from the problem discovery phase is that you need to nail down the correct customer set very quickly. Otherwise there is a danger that you spend too much time heading in the wrong direction and then need to start over.

emhTrade | Our biggest lesson from the discovery phase is the need to take a decision, quickly communicate to all parties then get out and validate it fast – that way we can stay on course, or tack for good reasons and everyone knows where we are headed.

Ampli | I think the process of problem discovery itself was a key lesson – it’s easy to justify not doing this phase (i.e. “we know our customers”) but the process was extremely beneficial – not just helping to understand our customer.  We’ve unlocked potential areas of value that we had never considered.

MLabs | Problems differ depending on a person’s level within an organisation. Performing problem discovery interviews at all levels of an organisation can give you a real insight into how it ticks.

Share your current fav GIF with us, that sums up what’s going on for you all at the moment! |

emhTrade | We just saw the D-Day Date – Can we do it all in 5 weeks… 5 months feels about right!


Ampli | 

MLabs | 


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