Case Study: Lean for Social Entrepreneurship

Posted by Amy Schrier on

Amy Schrier is an alumna of the December 2011 Lean Startup Machine held at Hive at 55 in New York. She is the founder and CEO of, a digital entertainment channel about humanitarian causes.

Amy SchrierSometime a couple of weeks ago, I submitted to a startup business competition I noticed on Twitter. Frankly, I didn't pay much attention since I send business summaries off all the time, but it sounded pretty good. I was happy and surprised when I got an email saying not only had MISSION’s application been accepted, but it was also one of five applications granted a scholarship to attend Lean Start Up Machine's weekend workshop. Sixty entrepreneurs gathered from as far afield as the Middle East, and even Uganda, but mostly from New York and the West Coast, for three days, on a nonstop schedule, even until 11 pm on fri/sat. The goal was to pitch, coach, critique, compete and refine each others’ business models based on market feedback.
"Lean Startup Machine was so powerful, I have a vision that everyone in the MISSION organization should have the opportunity to experience it."
VC's and other experts spoke on the importance of customer development, the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and how to strategically avoid an entrepreneur's worst nightmare… “the valley of death!” This program promotes a lean, metrics-based approach to startups, which frankly could not have been more perfect timing, since I now see that is exactly what MISSION needs. One interesting thing was that out of about 30 business ideas explored, three of them involved were offering philanthropy as a service from a website or mobile app, targeting Millennials. First obviously was MISSION, with it’s philanthropic dimension, and the other two were mobile apps. One used gamification and social media to promote donations. The other enabled donations based on a humorous concept of “good karma”. That’s a pretty high percentage of philanthropic-based concepts at a for-profit entrepreneur workshop. For one, it validates MISSION’s conviction that this service is of interest and utility to a new generation. And two, it is just generally good news. Lean Startup Machine was so powerful, I have a vision that everyone in the MISSION organization should have the opportunity to experience it. A start might be a NY-based weekend where all members of our core team participate on two competing teams, and the actual results are used to direct overall business strategy. If the feedback we reap is impressive, that might be all that’s needed to quickly close our first round of funding. This was an amazing experience, in which much was learned, and in the end, the one who will benefit most is MISSION.

About the Author: Amy Schrier is Founder/CEO of a new digital entertainment channel about making a difference in the world. The site will launch in Spring 2012. It will present videos/articles about global humanitarian and travel topics, and resources where users can connect to volunteer travel opportunities and connect with nonprofits.

Amy is a serial entrepreneur and founded her first venture BLUE ( which was a magazine and website about outdoor recreation and adventure travel. She coined and trademarked the term Adventure Lifestyle, was the first media company to enter the space, and managed the company for seven years as CEO.

Amy is currently raising her seed round for and may be reached at
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