The Startup Executive Academy (SEA) is a three-month Go-to-Market program for executives and founders of early-stage (seed, A or B phase) technology startups that has been taking place annually since 2017. The SEA20 Online is organized by Silicon Castles, an Austrian strategic business accelerator for technology businesses. The aim of the academy is to enable startups to accelerate their business by providing highly relevant and practical input delivered by a world-class faculty from academia and business, led by Prof. Baba Shiv from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Andreas Spechtler, CEO of Silicon Castles.
Here’s an overview of what you can expect:
Stage 1 – October
- Week 1-2: Online Business Challenge Assessment
You and your team will have a video call with the Silicon Castles team and selected SEA faculty members. We will identify your startup’s challenge(s) and advise you on what to discuss and prepare internally to increase the value of your SEA20 participation.
- Week 3: Meet your SEA20 Group
You will be assigned to a small group based on your startup’s assessment. The group serves as a support system and together you will prepare for the online live sessions and exchange experiences.
Stage 2 – November
- Week 4: SEA20 Online – Business Model & Strategy I & Storytelling
On every Monday, for the following four weeks, you will receive access to new videos and pre-reading material. The provided material will prepare you for the online live sessions that take place every Saturday afternoon (CET time). In the days between the sessions, you will get the chance to gather individual advice from selected SEA faculty members in dedicated 1:1 timeslots.
Prof. Baba Shiv will kick off the first week of stage 2 with the topic of Business Model & Strategy, that centers around the Business Model Canvas, a powerful and comprehensive visual tool that innovators find useful in developing and honing their business strategy and model.
The second session of the week is taught by marketing expert Catherine Ogilvie, a founding member of Napster and former marketing executive in global companies like Dolby. She will guide you in putting together a compelling and authentic company story that will provide the essential backbone for your communication strategy and messaging for both internal and external audiences. In addition to the BMC, you will also create your own Marketing Canvas this week.
- Week 5: SEA20 Online – Business Model & Strategy II & Value Proposition
Prof. Baba Shiv will continue with Business Model & Strategy II.
Value Proposition, the second topic of the week, is also taught by Baba. You will gain a rich understanding of the workings of the instinctual brain, which shapes a substantial proportion of human decisions and actions, that are not only automatic but also often non-conscious. You will learn how to use this information to discover and design solutions that the instinctual brain seeks and craft value propositions for these instinctual solutions.
- Week 6: SEA20 Online – Pricing, Sales & Negotiation
In week 6, Maciej Kraus, VC and former Global Pricing Head of PWC, will first introduce you to pricing strategies and tactics. This includes pricing in competitive markets, estimating demand, price discrimination, pricing in B2B, and pricing of innovative products. Alongside the input from the videos and the session, you will prepare your own Pricing Canvas.
The next topic, Sales, is taught by Andreas Spechtler, founder of Silicon Castles and former President of Dolby International, and Mahesh Sundaram, CCO of Authentic Vision and former VP of Worldwide Sales and Customer Support at Immersion Corporation. Together they have closed 500+ sales deals all over for the world and they will share their key learnings, common misconceptions, and best practices in technology sales, as well as how sales management evolves as your company grows with you. Before the session, you will work on your Sales Canvas.
Successful sales require negotiation skills. Christian Dreyer, a seasoned entrepreneur with 30+ years of experience building up companies and former McKinsey consultant, teaches you what it takes to be a good negotiator, how to push your best interests without alienating the other side and how to react when your opponent uses dirty tricks.
- Week 7: SEA20 Online – Investors
The last week of stage 2 is dedicated to Investors – a topic that’s highly relevant for most startups but also feared and associated with a lot of uncertainty. Pascal Levensohn, Senior Managing Director of Dolby Family Ventures and a Silicon Valley veteran, introduces you to the different types of investors and how and when to approach them. Additionally, Andreas Spechtler will lead you through the creation of a comprehensive Investment Memorandum, which attracts investors.
On November 29, the SEA CIRCLE day takes place. On this day, your class will be joined by members of the SEA CIRCLE, the SEA alumni network of some 40+ companies. Together, you will discuss the highs and lows your startups have experienced (1h) during the Covid-19 crisis and how your startup coped with them. Afterward, you will get the unique opportunity to peek inside the head of a VC for one hour as he shares his thoughts and comments while someone is pitching. This allows you to understand the standpoint and mindset of a VC and enables you to finetune your own pitch. Next, Prof. Baba Shiv will present a keynote (1h) on a current topic (tba). The SEA CIRCLE day will finish with a final plenary Q&A session with all participants and the SEA faculty.
Stage 3 – December and beyond
- Week 8-9: Online Faculty Mentoring
So, you’ve learned lots during the SEA20 Online and you’re brimming with ideas to take your startup to the next level! Navigating these changes can be highly rewarding but tricky. Selected SEA faculty members and the Silicon Castles team will offer guidance for you and your team to enable a smooth implementation process during a mentoring call.
- January 2021 and onwards: SEA CIRCLE Sessions
Reunite virtually with your SEA CIRCLE peers and the SEA faculty for one evening a month starting in January 2021 to learn about new topics to ensure the continuous acceleration of your startup – broaden your horizon and ask all your burning questions!
Curious? Check out the SEA20 Online website to learn more, apply or schedule a call to have all your questions answered by the Silicon Castles team!