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There are a lot of ways not to launch a startup. Unstuck Labs, a small company in Rosslyn, aims to help entrepreneurs avoid the early pitfalls of a new company with a course aimed to walk small companies through the process.
“We’re sort of Yoda for startups,” CEO Wa’il Ashshowwaf said. “Most days, the team here is helping people with modules and helping guide people.”
The company guides startups in a 12-week program. Ten startups have gone through the program and Ashshowwaf said 100% have raised some kind of seed funding and 60% have generated revenue.
The company is based out of Spaces (1101 Wilson Blvd) in what was once the Artisphere. Ashshowwaf said the Rosslyn location means they have good access to bigger companies like defense contractors, small entrepreneurs, and a variety of academic resources.
The course works in 18 building blocks that take entrepreneurs through the methodology of building a company. For the more technically-inclined, the focus might be on marketing, for those with a marketing background the focus might be on how to build a business model.
Ashshowwaf said the entrepreneurs that come to them are generally people who are just getting started or people who have launched a company but have struggled with growth. The startups are typically smaller in scale — Ashshowwaf said there’s a lot of “Uber for something” type companies and startups that bring chefs to people’s houses — while others are people like engineers and doctors who have big solutions for a problem but don’t know how to take that to market.
The number one mistake most new startups make, Ashshowwaf said, is starting with a solution in search of a problem.
“They build an app for tech that they like, but they don’t talk to customers,” Ashshowwaf said. “It’s Thor’s hammer. It’s a product just for you and no one else can use it.”
Unstuck Labs walks entrepreneurs through the technical side of starting up an app or a website, but Ashshowwaf said they also guide them through the business side, like reaching out to potential customers to get feedback and looking at how to scale a project.
Ashshowwaf said Unstuck Labs is different because instead of just giving out tools and reviewing work, the company is very hands-on with helping guide each person through the process.
The course is $9,470 with Unstuck Labs having the rights to invest early, after graduation.
Unstuck Labs is taking applicants for their startup studio. Ashshowwaf said the ideal applicant is someone who is about to lift up the phone and call an app developer.
“They should call us instead,” Ashshowwaf said. “Somebody called us today after they went straight to building a $40,000 website. They should have called us.”