Ben Mappen had an idea for a company and he wanted to begin funding to get it off the ground. He met with Shawn Carolan of Menlo Ventures, pitched his idea, and got the go-ahead. Carolan also suggested that Ben meet with Steve Blank over lunch and discuss a possible partnership. The meeting went well, Ben’s idea was well received, and then promptly forgotten as Steve pitched his own series of ideas.
Ben was hooked. He agreed to found the company that Steve had described, and a week later they officially announced the endeavor with nothing more than a single PowerPoint slide. From that single slide LeanLaunchLab was born.
LeanLaunchLab was built with a single goal in mind: help startup companies run with the Lean Startup principles. The Lean Startup is a book and set of ideas from Eric Ries, detailing the key aspects that startups need to focus on in order to run as efficiently as possible. LeanLaunchLab allows its users to track and manage hypotheses and experiments, visualize the company’s business model, and keep everyone on the same page. Think of it as a dashboard for your company that helps make sure you aren’t running a million different bits of software to achieve the same goal: efficiency.
While LeanLaunchLab began as a tool for startups, the company is pivoting to bring their tool and Lean Startup methodologies to the enterprise. They’ve partnered with four large companies–AT&T, Rhapsody, LiveNation, and Ideo–in a pilot program that will allow them to cater their software to larger businesses. The company is also looking to form strategic partnerships with Jive, Bright Idea, and Kindling and are starting the fundraising process.
Larger companies are starting to see the benefits of “going lean”, and LeanLaunchLab will be there to help them make the transition. The company is looking to raise $1-2 million dollars, and a large portion of those funds will go towards accelerating their integration with the three companies listed above and adding to their small two-person team. Most of the people that they hire will be devoted to improving and scaling the company’s product, but a fair amount will also be tasked with educating large companies on the Lean Startup philosophy.
When asked about splitting the product or cutting off the part that may be tied to smaller companies, Mappen said that they see the software as one product and will differentiate the product by payment tiers; smaller companies can sign up for the $29/month basic plan that limits the number of projects and people that can be working within the software, while enterprise companies will sign up for a larger-company-friendly plan with no limits.
We’re starting to see a shakeup in large companies as they begin to apply the Lean Startup philosophy using tools like LeanLaunchLab, and as they look to outside companies for innovation–think Atlassian and Nintendo. As they see the benefits of acting like a small company, even enterprise businesses are going to be able to innovate and ship on a larger scale.
Frankly, they need it. There’s a reason why most large companies don’t get the same amount of excitement from the tech scene: they’re boring. They aren’t innovating in a meaningful way enough of the time to warrant excitement; once a larger company actually does release something worth getting excited about, the tech scene tends to go apeshit. Hopefully if companies are able to embrace Lean Startup philosophies they’ll be able to break out of that rut and start being interesting again.