The Trajectory Series Curriculum – Ideation to Startup to Scaleup

The Trajectory Series Curriculum – Ideation to Startup to Scaleup

The Trajectory Series is based on Dave Parker’s book, Trajectory: Startup—Ideation to Product/Market Fit. Dave is a 5-time founder, having sold three and closed two of those companies. He was also COO/SVP of Programs and People at UP Global, the merged parent company of Startup Weekend + Startup America. The non-profit delivered 1265 events in 120 countries with 74,000 attendees before selling to Techstars. 

Parker has also delivered these seminars and programs globally through: 

TechstarsGlobal Accelerator Network500 Startups
Flat6 Labs- Bahrain, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Saudi, Tunis, Beirut Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA)Equitable Innovation Accelerator
PortGen AcceleratorKorean Innovation Center (KIC)Founder Institute 

He has also worked with OHUB based in Atlanta, GA to provide a cultural context for the programming for underrepresented founders.

With the WTIA, the programming is currently scheduled to expand from the Seattle market to Washington statewide via a federal Build to Scale by the US Economic Development Administration.  

The curriculum is designed for adult learners but can be repurposed to support college students (over a semester or quarter timeline) and corporate innovators. 

Each program has a set of deliverables. This work isn’t “homework” but is designed to get the attendee to do the work to launch their startup. Many founders will learn the frameworks and pivot to a new idea if they realize the idea is late to market or that they can’t make money with the idea. 

Ideation Bootcamp 

For entrepreneurs that have multiple ideas and want to prioritize and test before leaving their day jobs. This foundational framework is designed to help founders become familiar with startup language and the basics of what makes a good idea (e.g. makes money). 

  • What makes a good startup idea? The 11 frameworks for what makes a good startup idea. 
  • Market Research/Competitive Analysis 
  • Customer Development Interviews. What questions to ask, how to ask, and how to capture the data for future use. 

Usually delivered over two sessions with a month in-between – time is required to go to the research and initial (20) customer development interviews and do the work. 

Ideation Bootcamp Deliverables

  1. Draft value proposition
  2. Madlibs pitch
  3. Ideal customer profile target
  4. 25 customer development interviews
  5. Feedback on go/no-go decision and why

Startup—Ideation to Product/Market Fit

For teams and startup founders that have narrowed down their idea based on interview data. Have a product in the MVP stage or ready to launch. Also used as a three or four-day bootcamp to narrow the field of applicants for startup accelerators. It also happens as a five-month, monthly program for adult learners. For students, it can be done as two sessions/week to a quarter/semester timeline. 

Seminars are designed to be 60 minutes, workshops are two hours. There are 25 deliverables in these sessions. The work is consistent with the work required to launch a startup. This isn’t academic, it’s their business and livelihood at stake. The faster the work is completed, the closer the teams will be to revenue or pivoting to another idea using the frameworks they have learned. A successful outcome is also killing a bad idea fast and moving to a better idea. 

  • Venture Ready Scorecard – how investors will judge your idea/startup and why you should too! 
  • Telling your story in 11/13 slides 
  • Research and competitive analysis 
  • Market sizing 
  • Value propositions 
  • Customer development data 
  • Awkward co-founder discussions 
  • How startups make money. 
    • Marketing and sales
    • 14 revenue models used in tech startups
  • Pricing and metrics that matter
  • Building a prototype (MVP) 
  • Go-to-market strategy
  • Traction and product/market fit (it’s math) 
  • Product and company roadmap 
  • When, Why, and How to Pivot 
  • Fundraising fundamentals
  • Pitch Reviews (varies based on number of teams in the cohort) 

Ideation to Product/Market Fit Deliverables 

  1. Track your Venture Ready Score Before/After
    1. What can you do over the next 90 days to improve
  2. In Google Slides, PPTX, or Keynote: Start drafting your 11 slides 
  3. Competitive Analysis
  4. Market size
  5. Tagline on intro slide
  6. Research 
    1. List your research sources and thought leaders, bloggers in your industry
  7. Competition – in a Google Sheet, list
    1. Competitors, capital raised, links to pricing
    2. Keyword research from competitors 
  8. Market – outline your TAM, SAM, SOM (hint: it’s a number in currency) 
    1. What’s your Launch Addressable Market? First 10, 100, 1000 customers 
  9. Write is your pre-mortem – if you were to fail, why would you fail
  10. Draft your value proposition
  11. Outline your existing and required Customer Development questions
  12. Have your awkward co-founder discussion
    1. Document equity splits or changes 
  13. Pick your primary and secondary revenue models from the list of 14 – note why on your doc (competitor, market acceptance, etc)
  14. Pricing model – user, tiered, usage, etc. Pick a launch price
    1. Identify pricing committee members 
    2. Schedule pricing committee
  15. Identify your initial key metrics
  16. Marketing 
    1. CAC estimate
    2. LTV estimate 
    3. Average revenue (contract/user)
    4. Time to Close
  17. Identify Sales Model, Direct, web direct, channel
  18. Business development plan and owner
  19. Identify key partners
  20. Outline your go-to-market strategy
    1. 30/60/90 day plans 
  21. Define what PMF look like for you?
    1. What are the early indicators?
    2. What tests can you run to create product/market pull?
  22. Update your pitch deck 
  23. When will you decide to pivot
  24. Product Roadmap
  25. Company Road map
  26. Quarterly planning (Supporting Slide)
  27. Fundraising Plan (Supporting Slide)
  28. Draft your one to two page executive summary
  29. Write your Introduction email
  30. Build out yoru Investor Target list on Google Sheets or CRM (HubSpot) 
    1. Fundraising activities goals (Supporting Slide)
    2. Presentations per week
    3. Investor Due Diligence checklist (Supporting Slide)
  31. Program Feedback Poll and survey
  32. Complete your pitch deck slides

Scaleup—Product/Market Fit to Exit 

This program is designed to dig deeper for companies that have already launched and are beginning to think about how they scale with limited resources past the founder team. 

Seminars are designed to be 60 minutes, workshops are two hours. For the WTIA Cohort program, the goal is to help founders navigate the local market ecosystem in six months vs 18-24 months. 

  • Milestone #1—Product/Market Fit, what’s the math 
  • Designing product market pull tests 
  • Product Roadmap 
  • Startup Pricing Workshop 
  • Go-to-Market Workshop 
  • First Revenue Hire and Sales motion 
  • Financial modeling Workshop 
  • Fundraising as an Enterprise Sales Process 
  • Scaling your team 
  • Building a Great Startup Culture 
  • Prepping for Exit—understanding why buyers buy companies. 

Scaleup Program Deliverables  

For more information, contact Dave Parker, Dave@dkparker.com. 206.818.7000.