Candidates for IMVU Scholarship for Startup Lessons Learned Conference Announced

As we announced before, IMVU is sponsoring “scholarships” for eight people to attend for free the Startup Lessons Learned Conference on April 23, 2010.

We want to thank all of you who submitted applications in response to our invitation. We have reviewed all applications and selected eight candidates for the award. We wanted to applaud these winners and highlight their information and varied backgrounds. We are confident that these participants will make the event unique and exciting. IMVU representatives will be speaking at the event as well and are looking forward to connecting with our scholarship winners as well as all the participants.

Here are the eight scholarship candidates that IMVU is sponsoring and in their own words how they use the lean startup methodology and what they want to achieve at the conference:

Sarah Allen – Serial Innovator and Software Developer at Blazing Cloud and Mightyverse

I am well practiced in agile development methodologies and have been working to apply similar lessons to business development for both my consulting company, Blazing Cloud, which pays the rent, and my startup company, Mightyverse, which plans to change the world by inspiring cross-cultural and cross-language communication.

As you know, starting a company can be all-consuming. The conference will give me the opportunity to step back and hear how others have handled the challenges I face. At this phase of my startup, this is exactly the kind of peer wisdom I need to grow my business in the right way.

Jeff Boudier – Stupeflix Evangelix

Stupeflix is a French startup, bootstrapped, founded in 2009, won Seedcamp 2008 where we loved meeting Dave McLure. We are 6, all fans of the customer development methodology, lean startup movement. Every hire gets “4 steps fo Epiphany”.

The talks, theory and methodologies are inspiring and incredibly useful, but what I am really after at the SLL conference is use cases and direct feedback of real-life implementations from peer entrepreneurs.

Shaherosee Cherania – Mobile Startup Slave, CEO and Co-Founder at

I am ready to start a lean startup in the mobile and/or related space. I’ve started 3 different ventures in the last 5 years, and they failed. I think I could use a lesson or two! I would like to make ‘new’ mistakes, not repeat old ones.

I will spread the knowledge (assuming that’s okay) with the hundreds of women I meet every year who are current early stage founders and future founders with just a dream.

Alan El Sheshai – Founder,

We’ve been using elements of the lean startup method to bootstrap our company for over a year now. We are heavily reliant on low cost, agile and open source development. We’ve recently embraced the customer development philosophy, but much later than we should have.

I’ve read Steve Blank’s “Four Steps to the Epiphany” and loved it. However, I wish it had more focus on consumer services and less on enterprise software. Multiple people have referred me to Eric Ries as the bridge between and The 4 Steps and consumer services. I’ve read a few of Eric’s blogs but haven’t had time to read them all and am hoping this conference would allow me to get the key points within a shorter amount of time.

Christina Pan – Social Gaming/Apps Entrepreneur

My main reason for going to SLL is to become a better entrepreneur. Of course there is no better lesson than actually executing on your startup or product ideas, but I also want to bolster my learning by sharing perspectives with other entrepreneurs focused on running lean startups.

For me, the “lean startup” is a way of life since the social gaming business is inherently run that way. Everything changes so quickly: developer platform rules and features, monetization services, competitors. I’ve learned a lot along the way, but there is always so much more to learn.

Cody Powell – Technical Co-Founder at Famigo

As a platform we help spread Lean Startup methodology by sharing the ideas with all the application developers we partner with, both by example by continuously deploying updates to our API, using their feedback to drive those changes and then encouraging them to do the same when integrating with our platform. Our ability to iterate quickly based on customer feedback has proved invaluable in our quest for the ever-elusive product/market fit.

We’ve made great progress using just a few of the key lean startup principles, and I can’t wait to see what else would be possible if I could really immerse myself in the subject with a lot of other smart people facing some of the same problems.

Ben Rigby – CTO at Extraordinaire

We’re an early stage startup – keeping our burn low while we explore the crowd sourcing for social good marketplace. We’ve found a great niche with users – they love to microvolunteer. But we haven’t quite yet figured out how to monetize this enthusiasm. We’re striving to find a viable business model while still delivering social value – and it’s a challenge.

Reading through the Lean Startup blog entries (and Steve Blank’s book) has been a continuous series of “Ah-Ha” moments. We’ve been focusing on the products at the expense of asking critical questions like ‘who is going to pay for this, how, and when’. I’d love, love, love to be able to attend the Lean Startup Intensive to start putting better methodology around our business decisions.

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