Funding lean startups at a minimum one million dollar valuation

More than 6 months in, we have some learnings. We have learned that it is relatively easy to bribe entrepreneurs to do the homework but it is still challenging to get them to incorporate the lessons learned from their homework. Based on our own learnings, we have made the following changes to the program, and continue to fund ANY startup who does customer development and is willing to test their assumptions by running experiments, $5,000 at a ONE MILLION DOLLAR VALUATION. 


  1. You no longer need to wait 6 months from your last interview to get the money. I am a big fan of running aggressive experiments but I also do not like to run experiments where people are DIRECTLY RELYING on something - for this reason I padded the time so people were not doing the challenge just to pay a developer and relying on us to write the check. I also wanted to learn more about my customers and challengers and see the fringe cases. I am happy to announce that we are now funded enough for at least 10 more teams and the money starts immediately! 
  2. The only other change is that you have to run experiments with the money. You have to have hypotheses and you have to keep up with your metrics. 

Here are some of our metrics from the first 6 months, we will submit at least 6 more by the end of the year. My original goal was 10,000 interviews logged (we are at about 2000 halfway through with a reasonable shot at getting to 5000). My new goal is to fund 10 teams. Every other stat and metric is a way to get there. 


1. Acquisition = 2483 clicks as of 8/3 (up from 2212 clicks as of 6/21, up from  1909 clicks as of 5/7, up from 1303 on 3/23) to the MilValChal form point of entry: bitly.com/milvalchal+ (this is a vanity metric of course) 

2. Activation = 91 people have accepted the challenge directly from the entry point above, submitting at least one interview. This number is up from 51 from our last report. All have been added to this mailing list.

3. Activation / Retention = 918 interviews have been entered in the database, up from 402 interviews at the last update.

4. Retention = 4 OUR ONE METRIC THAT MATTERS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR IS # OF EXPERIMENTS FUNDED, # OF TEAMS FUNDED. We invest not in ideas or even in teams, we invest in experimentation. We have funded 10 experiments so far. 

5. Referral (?) = You can help with this! We are not really measuring it right now. Encourage any entrepreneur to start the interview process and enter the results here: bit.ly/milvalchal (make your own bitly if you want us to track it, get 100 shares and we will give you something valuable).
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