GIST Innovation Talks Episode 7: Lean Startup

GIST Innovation Talks Episode 7: Lean Startup

December 14, 2020

In this episode of GIST Innovation Talks we learn about the Lean Startup process from Grant Warner, director of innovation at Howard University. VentureWell senior program officer Christina Tamer leads the discussion.


Key topics:

  • Three pillars of Lean Startup

  • Pivoting based on customer discovery

  • Conducting customer discovery during a pandemic

  • Understanding and mapping your ecosystem

  • Ensuring that you are talking to the right people

  • Guiding your customer discovery by testing your hypothesis

  • The role of the business model canvas


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Christina Tamer
Sr. Program Officer, VentureWell

Christina oversees VentureWell’s early stage innovator programs ranging from initial customer discovery in E-Teams to investment readiness in ASPIRE. Previously, she worked with a seed-stage impact investment venture fund. The experiences as an investor in addition to countless hours reading grant proposals, building and tracking startup pipelines, and serving as a startup mentor allow her to support VentureWell’s startups with real world examples, lessons, and insights. She holds a BS in Marketing and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts Boston. 



Grant Warner
Director for Innovation at Howard University

Dr. Grant Warner is an established technology entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of ConnectYard, a social analytics platform integrated into leading learning management systems and e-learning platforms. He is also a co-founder of XediaLabs, a DC-based incubation firm that provides training and technical consulting to local startups. Grant leads the HowU Innovate initiative at Howard University. HowU Innovate is an interdisciplinary initiative which provides campus-wide innovation programming, including the Bison Startup and Bison Accelerate courses, in which students are guided through the process of founding technology startups. He also directs the Howard University - Hampton University I-Corps Site which focuses on commercializing university research from HBCUs in the DMV area. Additionally, Grant is a member of the national faculty for the NSF I-Corps program. In that role, he has provided innovation and entrepreneurship training to 100+ teams and companies from across the nation. Grant received a B.S. degree from Cornell University, an M.S. degree from Penn State University, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University all in Mechanical Engineering.



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