Moonshots and Crown Jewels: Redesigning the Global Startup Program (GSP)

Ja-Naé Duane
May 23, 2019

Last May, after I finished my business modeling session at SU’s Incubator, Monique Giggy, VP of Ventures, asked me to take a walk. As we strolled around the NASA campus, she posed this question out of the blue: “How can we help impact startups scale to serve billions?” What a great question, I thought to myself. Little did I know that my answer would lead to me leading the redesign of GSP.

Challenge accepted

It was exciting to think about how this program, which has been SU’s crown jewel, could help impact startups scale to help billions of people. I know from my own moonshot of helping one million entrepreneurs create one trillion dollars for the global economy through the Startup Equation that to build a program that could even address this question needed to have multiple stakeholders collaborate to share their knowledge and to create with our team.We all knew that this program, much like many moonshots, needs the support of many collaborative partners. It truly does take a village to build something that will have traction and not only launch, but thrive.Indeed, from participating in numerous listening sessions to co-creating curriculum with us, this newly designed Global Startup Program (previously the Global Solutions Program) has had over 30 people give their time, effort, knowledge, and love to create the program that launched with our tremendous SingularityU Nordic partners in April.

We have lift-off

The lift-off of the program started with a four-week, disorientation session in Denmark. While there, 40+ entrepreneurs learned how to create a massive transformative purpose, a moonshot, and a strategy with an initial roadmap to scale their moonshot ideas to create impact at the billion scale. This in-person session (which we have named Activate) culminated with an Idea Review Board of mentors and industry professionals who provided vital feedback and advice that informed how each startup could move forward and build validation and traction.After the Idea Review Board, I asked Diana Daniels, Founder of Tinkerlink, about her GSP experience up to that point. She said:

“Coming to GSP offers founders the possibility to evolve from an improvisational role to more systematic and ready to execute tactics that have an immediate impact. I loved the approach on when far away from a typical business school sit back and listen to lectures, it is a completely hands-on experience where you need to make sure you accelerate your pace, in order to see results. Loved it!”
Participants at GSP Denmark

Looking forward

Currently, the startups have taken that feedback and are traveling the globe, learning from customer validation, building relationships, and garnering the traction that they will need as they head into their second in-person session, Accelerate, in June. There, all 40+ entrepreneurs will immerse themselves in the Silicon Valley ecosystem and build the relationships that they will need in order to scale.Though these entrepreneurs are in varying stages with their businesses, the feedback on GSP has shown us that we are building something that is creating an impact. Bryan Talebi, co-founder of Ahura AI, said it best:

“SU GSP has been incredible in every way. The mentors were brilliant, the speakers shared a tremendous amount of useful and timely information, and most importantly, the members of the 2019 cohort were the most intelligent, impact-driven group of entrepreneurs that I have ever had the chance to meet. Beyond the two new partnerships that we created, I met some new best friends that I expect will be in my life for the next 40 years.”

Most serial entrepreneurs will tell you that the road to building a company is a long one. However, if you are an entrepreneur building to achieve a moonshot and scale to serve billions, that road is even longer. But these impact entrepreneurs attending GSP know that and are ready for that because to build something that will change the world not only takes time but also takes a global village to join you along that road. Are you ready to create impact at the billion scale? Join us.