McGill X-1 Weekly Recap Series | Week 1 (2017)


Welcome to the Week 1 Recap of the the McGill X-1 Accelerator. Before we jump into what happened, let’s first summarize what the X-1 involves.

Hosted by the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, the McGill X-1 Accelerator is an intensive 10-week summer program designed to accelerate later stage McGill startups towards investment readiness and launch. It’s going to take place from June 5 to August 11, 2017 prepping for the Demo Days which will take place in Montreal, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, and New York in Fall 2017.

Some of the benefits include:

  • $5,000 available for each eligible co-founder based on milestones achieved
  • Dedicated startup space available all summer at McGill.
  • World-class mentorship and resources
  • Opportunity to pitch to investors at Demo Days in Montreal, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto and New York City.

The focus this week was: Value proposition & Team-building

Day 1:

The cohort came in for breakfast, we introduced them to the program, everybody in the cohort met each other for the first time, we showed them their space, did some quick icebreakers, had lunch, and let them start working.

Day 2:

Jean-Nicolas Delage came in to talk about legals. He’s a partner at Fasken-Martineau, which helps startups from pre-incorporation all the way to exit. Startup package includes incorporation and organization for shares and being VC-ready, along with 2 hours of free consultation per month and all the templates you need to jumpstart your legals.

3 simple rules to use IP to your benefit:

  • Own what you say you own with clear assignment language in contracts
  • Spend your first dollars on trademarks.
  • Keep your house in order
    • Store your documents
    • Document your Open Source Policy

We also introduced the cohort to the Disciplined Entrepreneurship workbook by Bill Aulet, which uses his framework developed at MIT – this is going to be an extremely valuable companion for the startups throughout the accelerator as a roadmap that asks them to actively think through their processes and answer difficult questions.

Day 3:

Professor Lisa Cohen gave a talk on team – extremely important. The way you hire & fire can literally make or break your team)

TMPF meetings: Internal X-1 team had meetings with each startup to really dig deep into what their goals are and how we can help achieve them. Each week, we’ll be holding internal meetings with the startups talking about the team, their market, their product, and their financials.

Day 4: 

Thibaud Marechal who first developed the X-1 after visiting MIT, came in to give a talk and a workshop on value proposition. He helped the teams come up with good answers as to why their product matters, why they’re credible, why now, and why people should join their cause.

Day 5:  

First Grilled by CEO Session: Helge Seetzen (TandemLaunch) listened to each pitch and grilled them on their weaknesses. 

Helge’s takeaway: Manage risk. If you take risk in one area, be damn sure you’re minimizing it in other areas. For example, if you’re taking an R&D risk by making a brand new technology, don’t take market risks. 

There is such thing as unnecessary creativity. Take risks in the area where there’s huge reward. But it’s a smart move to be conventional and follow pre-existing templates in others.

That’s it for this week, we’ll see you back here for week 2.

Mo Akif

Mo Akif

The Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Dobson Chronicles. Never having started a lemonade stand as a child and tired of reading blog posts about entrepreneurship without actually doing anything, he was on the verge of giving up and joining a pyramid scheme. Luckily the McGill Dobson Centre decided to adopt him, allowing him to get a closer look at what it takes to build something valuable.