What is Lean Startup Machine?

The biggest risk in starting a business is not being able to acquire customers. LSM is a 3-day workshop that teaches you how to build something customers want and run the right experiments to steer your business in the right direction.


Is Lean Startup Machine a hackathon?

No. Lean Startup Machine is an educational workshop with a rigorous curriculum. Our focus is to teach entrepreneurs the process of validating business ideas through hands-on experimentation and mentorship. Three days is an extremely short amount of time, but it’s enough to test multiple business concepts, identify which one has the most potential, and even collect $4,500 from customers. While Lean Startup Machine and Startup Weekend share the same spirit of experiential learning over a few days, Lean Startup Machine emphasizes validating ideas before building. Some view Lean Startup Machine as the step before Startup Weekend. See additional thoughts from people who have attended both events here.


Who's behind Lean Startup Machine?

LSM was started by Trevor Owens in 2010 when he realized there was a smarter way to build businesses. He had previously started a scooter business, but could not acquire customers. Then, he decided to talk to customers and realized a bigger business opportunity around scooters. Fortunately for us, he was more passionate about teaching others than he was about selling scooters. So he started LSM to teach others the same process he used. He was soon joined by Grace Ng, who came to the exact same realization after failing her last startup, and was passionate about spreading the word to help others succeed faster. That is our mission at LSM - to help entrepreneurs succeed, faster. Meet the team.


What is Lean Startup Machine's relationship with Startup Weekend?

We have no official relationship.


What is Lean Startup Machine’s relationship with Eric Ries?

Eric Ries is an advisor to Lean Startup Machine and we license the Lean Startup trademark. However, our tools and curriculum are based on proprietary Lean Startup Machine methodology developed independently through our experience helping entrepreneurs build businesses.


Can I participate if I don’t already have a team?

Yes. If you do not have a team we will help you join with other participants and form a new team on the first day of the workshop.


Can I participate if I don’t already have an idea?

Yes. If you do not have an idea you will be able to listen to others pitch their ideas on the first day of the workshop and then join one of their teams.


Can I participate without previous startup or technology experience?

Yes. Lean Startup Machine is designed to be a challenge for both the experienced and inexperienced entrepreneur. Essentially, you will get as much value out of it as the effort you put in.


Do you recommend participants bring an existing idea or start with a new idea?

We recommend all participants to start with a new idea. This way you are completely unencumbered and able to take greater risks. Remember this is a learning experience and your ultimate goal is to walk away with mastery of a skill.


What if I still want to work on an existing idea?

If you still want to work on an existing idea, you must bring at least one co-founder with you to the workshop. You will not be allowed to recruit anyone new to your team for an existing idea (hint: teams that do this end up performing the worst). *Existing ideas are defined by having mockups, prototype, or code already associated with it.


How much does Lean Startup Machine cost?

General Admission in most cities is $299 USD. We offer significant discounts for students and early-bird ticket purchasers. Lean Startup Machine is more expensive than most startup events because it is more expensive to produce and is limited to a smaller audience. Most workshops have a cap of 50 participants to make sure we foster an intimate learning environment. We fly in our expert facilitators and also invest in product and curriculum development, which is noticeable after attending multiple workshops.


Do you pay mentors?

All of our awesome mentors volunteer and donate their time. Watch this video about why Hiten Shah mentors at Lean Startup Machine.


How do you give back to the community?

Although our corporate structure is For-Profit, Lean Startup Machine is a social & mission-driven company. We give back by doing what we do: educating entrepreneurs to fail fast so they can succeed faster. Read more on the false dichotomy of Non-Profit Vs. For-Profit.


Where can I read testimonials from past participants?

All over the internet. Try a Google search for “lean startup machine review


Will I be able to find a developer or designer at Lean Startup Machine?

It is unlikely and also not the point of Lean Startup Machine. Entrepreneurs attend Lean Startup Machine to learn a process for validating new ideas, not to recruit developers or designers. There are many other good places for that.


How long do I have to pitch? What is the pitch format?

The pitch is the typical 50 second elevator-style. No slides or visuals.


What do you do to protect intellectual property (IP)?

Everything that happens at Lean Startup Machine is technically in the public domain. However, it is extremely unlikely that an idea will get stolen, and we are firm believers that ideas aren’t worth anything unless you execute on them. In addition, your idea will probably change dramatically over time (actually within the first 24 hours of Lean Startup Machine). The real value is in your ability to execute properly on the Lean Startup process, which is something very few people currently get right.


Coming soon: (short answer)

Do I need to know how to write code? (no)

Do I need to have a tech idea? (no)

Does it work for enterprise? (yes)

How will I reach customers on a weekend? (don’t worry, you’ll figure it out)

Refunds? (sorry, not at this time!)

How do I prepare? (read Eric’s book, read our blog)

Do I have to be there the entire time? (it’s highly recommended)