How one founder turned an idea into a tangible prototype and angel-funded startup.
Alyssa Ravasio, Founder & CEO of HipCamp - a platform that makes it easy to discover and book awesome camp sites - used the lessons that she learned from Femgineer to find early adopters, launch a prototype, and raise $1M in angel funding for her startup.
Femgineer's Ship It course pushed Ravasio out of her comfort zone to seek customer feedback much earlier than she was ready. With only a prototype in hand, she was nervous about what others would think. But Femgineer forced her to move faster and to get her product into the hands of her customers.
"Going through a lot of these usability interviews, I've learned to ask open-ended questions instead of specific ones. For example, I would ask - what is your biggest challenge when camping? I've received so much unexpected feedback on that one question."
As part of the Ship It course, Alyssa was able to do more than develop her product - she was able to identify a critical flaw in some of her early business assumptions. Initially, she built her prototype around the assumption that her customers had no familiariy with the state parks around them. She even wrote code to help audiences find state parks close to their cities.
But Alyssa's early prototype helped her see that her target customers already knew where they wanted to camp - they just needed a little bit of help finding the right place.
She was also surprised to learn that her customers didn't need a bunch of complicated features - they already found her prototype useful.