How to Validate your Idea | HS Live 2.0

On April 2, 2020, we started Headstart Live, a series of webinars focused on helping aspiring and existing entrepreneurs grow holistically and develop their businesses. After we saw all the love you gave to Headstart Live, we decided to bring it back with a bang this year- introducing to you Headstart Live 2.0!

Headstart Live 2.0’s inaugural session on Idea Validation with Aditi Avasthi, Founder & CEO, Embibe, was nothing short of a blast! Aditi is known for being unapologetically candid and unambiguous. An alumnus of the University of Chicago- Booth School of Business, she worked at Bain & Co., Barclays, and Dakshana Foundation before starting Embibe!

Aditi’s extensive experience helped our attendees gather deep insight into the workings of idea validation- a concept that can be fairly difficult to grasp.

man, ladder, coin

The easiest way to explain Idea Validation is to think of it as feedback. Feedback on what you’ve created and how far you’ve come. Which makes it an extremely crucial step in your journey as an entrepreneur- because if you don’t validate your idea correctly you will never know what your customers want/need and how much of that want/need is fulfilled by your product/service.

Aditi explained that her company Embibe was built keeping “no regrets” in mind- the product needed to be the best. She said that there were many things to keep in mind, but the following were super effective:

  1. Conduct Research in the Field: “become an industry expert in the room”- there are two major questions that need to be answered as they contribute to becoming the industry expert in question:
    1. What do you understand about the industry you’re operating in?
    2. What is unique about your sector?

Your in-depth study needs to involve all the stakeholders to attempt to create a feasible image of the kind of market and consumers you’re dealing with. Remember to learn from those around you- “You can learn from someone who’s not doing so well”. 

Aditi Avasthi: Idea Validation @ HSL 2.0

  1. Build learning outcomes: All your research needs to be going in one direction- leading to your final product. Form a service prototype and use that as the backbone for your company. Tweak as needed, identify a cornerstone, identify the stakeholders’ issues you’re trying to address to further development. Ensure that everything you want to do is data-backed. 
  2. Take your board along with you: Communication is extremely important- one cannot stress enough how important. Communicate with your board regularly, treat them like your co-founders. 
  3.  Always tell your story: Keep in mind ethos, pathos, logos. As an entrepreneur, “you can never be hands-off”- for all the work that you’ve put in the least you can do is always tell your story.

She explained all components in great detail using the story of how she built Embibe and the techniques involved in easing the process of Idea Validation for her. Aditi then engaged in a lively Q&A session with the audience- defending herself when an audience member accused her of marketing her startup, “I am not marketing, you are not my audience”. To end the session she left all attendees with a deep thought- “forgive yourself along the journey”.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Learning is a continuum: The problem in education lies in information- for education to work information needs to be given out at the right time.
  2. Identify your stakeholders’ problem areas: Aditi mentioned her stakeholders were students, parents, and professors/teachers, who faced problems like contextual consumption, a fear of missing out, and quality education respectively. 
  3. You need to be the sector expert: Aditi talked about how she wanted Embibe to be the “Google Maps of Education” and for it, she spent months researching about the market, student behaviour, whatnot- to the extent that she knew the industry like the back of her hand. 

The session was so much fun to be a part of because of Aditi’s extremely contagious energy! Can’t wait for what is in store for the rest of HS Live 2.0!

Contributed by: 

Sanskriti Bhatnagar
Ecosystem Development Intern
Headstart Network Foundation