3 experiments for early-stage founders seeking product-market fit
At Human Ventures, we have a fund for pre-seed and seed-stage investments, a venture studio and an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program.
Through this work, we’ve discovered a lot about how different founders fulfill their journey of customer discovery and product-market fit. One of the largest challenges for pre-seed and seed stage founders is determining where to start: There are a million things to do. What should you do at each stage?
We interviewed three founders from our portfolio, all of whom ran discovery experiments to find their product-market fit at different stages of their company’s development.
Here’s what they had to share:
Pre-MVP/customer discovery phase: Tiny Organics
Tiny Organics is a plant-based baby and toddler food company on a mission to shape childrens’ palates so they’ll choose and love vegetables from their earliest days. The company raised $11 million in their Series A in 2021 and is growing at over 500% annually.
Founders Sofia Laurell and Betsy Fore joined our venture studio as EIRs and went through a six-week discovery sprint. As Sofia explains, they knew they wanted to build something to make parents’ lives easier and threw a lot of initial ideas at the wall from the Finnish baby box 2.0 (Sofia is Finnish) to an easier way to create Instagrammable baby pictures.
They went through multiple exercises to test the viability of new parents’ most pressing and urgent needs:
Conduct a “Start with Why” exercise
Define the “Jobs to be Done”
Create a lean canvas for each (viable) concept
Define the user journeys
Conduct user surveys using platforms like pollfish.com and 1Q (instant survey tool)
Identify and define their customer personas
Conduct customer interviews and synthesize them
Construct concept prototypes
They also met prospective customers, conducting a focus group of 10-15 moms. When the founders asked them to text them what they were feeding their children along with pictures for a week, they realized the lack of healthy finger foods in the market, thus sparking the idea for Tiny Organics.