Developed with the ever-evolving needs of startups in mind, the dynamic ATDC curriculum incorporates startup best practices and the collective experience of ATDC staff and industry experts from Georgia and beyond.
ATDC Entrepreneurs’ Curriculum
(ATDC Educate members and Portfolio companies only)
Our Entrepreneurs’ Curriculum prepares first-time and seasoned entrepreneurs alike for the entrepreneurial journey. This progressive series consists of 10 modules. Start your journey with Customer Discovery. Move through the rest of the classes in the recommended order listed below. Registration is required for ALL CLASSES.
(for Portfolio companies only. Click here for application criteria)
Click here for more about our industry-specific programs.
Customer Discovery Badge
Our Customer Discovery module is your starting point at ATDC. It consists of Customer Discovery Theory, Customer Discovery Tools, and is followed by Customer Discovery Lab (min: seven sessions).
This badge is a prerequisite to attend both Financial Literacy and Investor Readiness.
Customer Discovery Theory (2-hour session) – Most concept-stage startups fail because they focus more on how to deliver a product than on the needs of people buying it. This course provides a concentrated overview of the Customer Development Process, Business Model Canvas and Minimal Viable Product. By understanding customers, startups reduce the risk of failure. This class is the first in the Customer Discovery Badge Program, and it should be followed with Customer Discovery Tools.
Customer Discovery Tools (2-hour session) – This is a follow-on class from Customer Discovery Theory. The purpose of this class is to work with the entrepreneurs to make sure they are ready to move forward with the discovery process—actually interviewing potential customers. We will review the entrepreneurs’ business hypothesis, initial set of interview questions, and tools to help build a persona of potential customers. This class should be followed by Customer Discovery Lab.
Customer Discovery Labs (7 – 10 weeks) – Customer Discovery Lab is designed for founders who wish to deeply explore their customer segment and value proposition. Customer Discovery Labs use a combination of teaching methodologies from Customer Discovery (get out of the building), Lean Startup (iterative loop of experimentation), Startup Engineering (disprove your assumptions), and the Business Model Canvas to uncover your compelling business model.
After this seven-to-10-week program, you will have identified the core of your business model – your customer segment and value proposition. You may discover there isn’t one and that’s fine. It’s better to find out you were wrong now than later – after spending years and possibly a fortune.
How does it work?
- Multi-week intensive program. You should commit to attend every week.
- Each week, make assumptions about what needs to be true about your business model to succeed.
- Design tests to disprove each assumptions.
- Collect data and interpret the results.
- Update your business model canvas based on what you have learned.
- Present your findings to the teaching team and get thoroughly thrashed.
You will be expected to talk to at least 10 potential customers each week.
A new program starts every third week, so classes overlap with latter and earlier stage teams.
Financial Literacy Badge
(Prerequisite: Customer Discovery Badge)
Through this four-session module, you will gain a thorough understanding of your business model and be able to articulate that model to an investor in financial terms.
- Learn the details and underlying assumptions of financial models.
- Become familiar with the terminology investors expect you to know, understand, and use.
Dive into your individual business’ financial model.
Investor Readiness Badge
(Prerequisites: Customer Discovery Badge and Financial Literacy Badge. Recommended: Telling Your Story)
Taught in partnership with Atlanta Technology Angels, this three-session workshop focuses on the final steps needed to prepare you for talks with potential investors.
- Understanding of the investment process.
Work one-on-one with angel investors to determine your readiness.
Telling Your Story
In this highly interactive three-session workshop, you will learn the three most important and often overlooked activities for early-stage startups:
- Elevator pitch.
- Executive summary.
- Short pitch.
Angel investors, strategic partners, prospective co-founders, and others evaluate these presentations to make a decision on whether to partner with you.
Corporate culture is incredibly important in hiring and retaining the brightest minds. In this workshop, we work through creating a mission, vision, and values for your business that will cultivate the culture that you desire.
Develop your sales skills in this two-session workshop. You didn’t start a company to become a salesperson, but the truth is startup CEOs typically close the first five or more sales deals. This workshop includes sessions on Selling Skills, Lead Qualification, and Closing Your First Five Customers.
Depending on location, attendees will either be participating in “Traffic Hacks” or “Building a Prospect List.” Check the calendar for details.
[Midtown] Traffic Hacks – This is not the field of dreams. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. In this interactive workshop, you will learn how to increase traffic to your website or app on a startup shoestring budget.
[Athens/Augusta/Peachtree Corners] Building a Prospect List – How to maximize your customer discovery process to build a pool of supporters for your startup.
In this interactive session, we’ll help you craft a powerful PR program that includes messaging, media relations, content marketing, and social media. You’ll leave with a road map and best practices to land your dream headline, increase leads, and generate buzz.
You’ve raised some money and acquired some early customers. It’s time to scale. This class focuses on recruiting, hiring, and managing talent.
You’ve got some early-adopter customers and have figured out how to sell. It’s time to scale sales. This class focuses on activities that you need to be focused on to scale: sales compensation, salesperson hiring/recruiting, managing sales people, and the tools you need to grow.