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Y-Combinator Startup School Graduation

By Pamela Cook Dreyer

In March 2017 I heard about Startup School, a 10-week one-on-one mentoring program for startup founders created by Y-Combinator. I decided to see what this was about and if this could help us with the 4D3d Therapy Puzzles digital apps. This has ended up being a very wonderful adventure. Here is the story.

We are not located in Silicon Valley or any of the hot entrepreneurial hubs. We do our best to keep up with what's going on but with working on our business projects we're bound to miss something. A few years ago I joined a Facebook group of tech women from underrepresented groups (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American). The creator of that group post a link that talked about Startup School. I said to my husband Bernard that I was going to submit an application for the program and focus on 4D3d Therapy Puzzles, a family of 2D and 3D puzzles and games created to help people suffering with a cognitive impairment to recover quicker just by playing them. To our delight we were notified 1-2 weeks later that we were one of 2,820 startups selected out of 13,321 startups that applied from around the word. We had to wait another two weeks before the classes started the first week in April.

Startup School is a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) which is a scaled down version of the full Y-Combinator incubator program which normally lasts three months. A MOOC made it convenient for all of us to take advantage of the knowledge of Y-Combinator graduates with one-on-one access without having to move to the Bay area. We met in groups of 30 companies weekly to give our updates of what we were doing, problems we ran into and other business related issues. We also watched two videos a week taught as a special guest lecture series from Stanford University. This link includes an ordered descending list of the videos we watched with links to attached resources. The videos are also available on the Stanford Online YouTube channel along with many other interesting videos.

We have a wonderful Y-Combinator mentor Michael Rubin, a co-founder and CFO of Magic. One thing we learned during this process was that we needed to be even more aggressive than we were in getting our products to market. We felt that we had to have the perfect or almost perfect product ready. They taught that companies do better when they were able to get people to use their products and receive feedback, paid or free. You started to promote your minimum viable product (MVP). Getting the feedback from users is critical, especially negative feedback. Through this process you can quickly find out if your product is something people will want as is, with changes or a complete waste of your time.

Some of the startup founders during the program decided to change their product altogether and do something else. This is referred to as a pivot. Don't be too proud to admit that your product is just not what people want. Keep working until one fits a market group. Many successful companies have gone through this process. Think about how many times Facebook has tried different functions (products) then got rid of them. This is not unusual.

We have already made several changes with our business projects and will probably continue to along the way. I mentioned in previous posts about the project WorkPool Online we were working on. When I started looking at the second use case for that project we began to hear about Angie's List which was fairly new at the time and decided to abandon the WorkPool Online project. We decided to focus more on our 3D Dimensional Geometry based digital apps instead.

Our initial digital apps included 3D puzzles. We initially planned to focus on getting our products to occupational and speech therapists that work a lot with patients with cognitive impairment. We were able to do a presentation at a local hospital. While going through the program we decided to present what we had. We did a presentation to speech therapists at a local hospital. From their invaluable input we saw that what we had could work for those with very mild impairment or no impairment but would be way too difficult for those with more several cognitive impairment. We decided to create new 2D puzzles. We're also working with a neuroscientist, Dr. Amy Price, who has done a lot of research at Oxford University. At her suggestion we added apps with different types of 3D games. We also decided to reach out to educational institutions, particularly to schools doing research along with public and private schools with special education programs. These puzzles and games are also a lot of fun to play for anyone that likes a challenge.

We were able to seriously network with startup founders from around the world with varying skills and backgrounds. This has been invaluable for us. We were not sure what would happen when the course ended. Thankfully we will have access to the entire network because Y-Combinator decided to keep their chat channel up forever. We are also grateful that Michael Rubin has agreed to continue to be our mentor in the days to come. We will definitely find him when we need to get set up for funding to facilitate our business growth. This startup is currently fully owned by LightBe Corp, our umbrella corporation. However if we start getting funding it will be spun off into a separate corporation which he can help us with as well. We may also consider applying for the full 3-month Y-Combinator accelerator program at that time.

There's a lot more I can say about this wonderful experience but I don't want this post to be too long. We completed Startup School on June 16, 2017. 1,584 of the 2,820 companies completed the Startup School Founders Track. The last task we did was to create a presentation of our startup to be used in a directory where people familiar with Y-Combinator can search by vertical / category. We are listed as a healthcare startup. Here is our Y-Combinator presentation. We expect many great days ahead!
TECH, INNOVATION, SPACE, RESEARCH, SCIENCE, INVENTION

News provided by LightBe Corp


Management and System Consulting - Media Publishing
CAD for 3D-Printing - Localization



4D3dPuzzles and HyperCube of Love Projects

The 4D3dPuzzles Team has completed the initial phase of the 4D3dPuzzles Project.  The foundation of the project is a 3d-Puzzle simulating the unfolding of the Hypercube from the 4-dimensional space to our 3-dimensional space.  This is very intriguing, but easy to understand with little geometry knowledge.

Elements and products of the project are found on the 4D3dPuzzles Website (http://4d3dpuzzles.com): 3d-Puzzle, Puzzle Game Apps for  Computers & Mobile Devices (The Apps render the 3d-Puzzle on the screen),  Digital Books (Moving Between 1D, 2D, 3D & 4D Spaces, Unfolding Geometry Objects, Idea & Concept of the 3d-Puzzle, Benefits of the 4D3dPuzzles Products & Services, Euclidian & Non-Euclidian Geometry, etc) and tesserART (Sculptures, Desk-Sets & Jewelry manufactured by advanced 3d-printing in the Factory of the Future).  Short Videos have been included to provide detailed explanations.

Now the 4D3dPuzzles Team need your HELP. It desires to increase its cashflow for the next project phase: Production of advertising and marketing content, new puzzles in different sizes and material and localization in French.  It plans to implement a two-prong approach:  to reach more people with its products and to contact professionals that are involved in therapies that can benefit from using the 3d-Puzzles.

How can you help?  Simply by purchasing products from the Website STORE (http://4d3dpuzzles.com/store) and sharing this information with your friends and on Social Media. Prices start as low as $6 for Game Apps & Products.

4D3dPuzzles has a related 3d-Puzzle project - HyperCube of Love - that wants to reach Christians.  More details are available on the HyperCube of Love Website (http://hypercubeoflove.com).

To be regularly informed about the projects click on the Websites “Mailing List Sign-up for a free gift”.

Thank you for your support.

Bernard & Pamela Cook Dreyer

The 4D3dPuzzles Team

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Visit the revised "HyperCube of Love" Website, Digital Books and the new 3D-Puzzle Apps

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