Tech Startups and Agile
Recently, I attended a meetup for Loudoun’s Tech Startups in Ashburn, VA. It was a great opportunity to discuss ideas in various stages of development, as well as the resources available to bring these ideas to market. It was encouraging to see so many motivated entrepreneurs share their experiences in a local setting, with Loudoun showing its promise as a business incubator.
Michelle Chance from the Innovative Solutions Consortium gave a great speech about the services provided by her organization, such as “hard challenge” events, think-tank style meetings and student/recent graduate mentoring.
The hard challenge events seemed particularly interesting to me since they provide a collaborative environment for solving difficult technology problems. Organizations compete for the best solution and receive awards for most disruptive and innovative technologies.
Another sponsor of the event was the Mason Enterprise Center, which provides consultation and training to small business owners and entrepreneurs. They have regional offices in Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William counties.
We attended this event because of our past experience developing collaborative solutions for startups. We’ve found that the Agile development philosophy fits nicely with the entrepreneurial spirit of organizations that want to quickly build a product that provides value. In fact, principles such as Minimum viable product and Continuous deployment are core to the Lean startup philosophy championed by Eric Ries. This method encourages startups to build a minimum amount of high-value features that can be released quickly. With frequent releases, a company can immediately begin collecting and responding to customer feedback.
If you’re at any stage in the startup process and have a technical idea that you want to explore or expand, there are plenty of resources available in the NoVa area. Also, I encourage you to attend one of the various meetups for startups, such as the Loudoun Tech Startups group.