VSParticle Blogs from MIT (3): ‘The Board Meeting’

juli 17, 2015

After winning the first edition of the TU Delft STARTUP competition Tobias Pfeiffer and Aaike van Vugt, founders of VSParticle, are in Cambridge MA, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Our prize: a spot in MIT’s Global Founder’s Skills Accelerator (GFSA) at the Martin Trust Center (MTC). Read all about their adventures here.

After a first month of hard work, multiple interviews and good progress it was time to set up a Board. Before Boston we didn’t know much about a Board or what to expect from one. In preparation for our first board meeting, we were told us that the main job of a board is to hire and fire the CEO. Excellent.

Within the GFSA however, the main goal of the Board is to assess our progress on the milestones each month. Every milestone has a price tag and the Board decides how much of that money we have earned. The June milestones consisted roughly of steps 1 to 13 of Bill’s book. The main focus in these steps is on finding your beachhead market, setting up an end user profile and defining the high level specifications of your product. By mid June we had assembled a diverse Board of five people with different skills and expertise, but all with a background in the startup scene.

Most teams had their board meeting in the final week of June but in our case we moved it to the first of July. The reason for this was that we were selected as semi-finalist for the Hello Tomorrow competition, and I would be in Paris to Pitch in front of the jury. After returning form Paris without winning the 100K grand prize, but with a suitcase full of interesting business cards, we were left with a few days to prepare for the board meeting.

The board meetings are strictly limited to one hour. We learned from the other teams that one hour is short, especially if you have a board asking difficult questions on every slide. We prepared for the meeting as well as we could, introducing ourselves to the individual board members ahead of time, and discussing our technology and the our progress this month.

We sent the slide deck in advance, practiced a bit in front of some of the GFSA staff, and I prepared myself to guide the meeting through the milestones within the hour.
After a quick lunch (instant noodles) we were all dressed up and ready to shine. I managed to go trough the milestones in 45 minutes, hitting our target for the milestone completion. We knew we still had work to do in July to get our milestones to 100% done. However, we did get to spend valuable time on the issues we needed feedback on, making our first board meeting a success.

Read the former blogs:

‘Being within the MIT entrepreneurship ecosystem’(1)

‘The Interviews’ (2)

VSParticle (‘Very Small Particle’) brings a highly flexible technology to the market that makes nano particles  accessible for companies and researchers. The company is part of the portfolio of Delft Enterprises and YES!Delft.