Everything that we do in our courses is highly experiential — it’s the only way to begin to appreciate the demands that entrepreneurship places on teams and individuals. Additionally, the best startup teams embrace disciplinary diversity so we encourage all students from across UofT to participate. This is why we offer two of the most highly rated courses in parallel. A customer development course, the Business of Software (CSC454/2527 – that all of you will take), which informs the product development Capstone Design course (CSC491/2600 — that a subset of you will take). The former course (customer development) requires no previous computer science or business background, just an insatiable curiosity for entrepreneurship.

Customer development teaches you how to engage prospective customers in order to validate the hypotheses you will make regarding your customer’s personas, their hair-burning issues and your value proposition to them. The knowledge gathered there directly feeds into a calculated product development cycle to rapidly iterate toward product-market-fit and minimize the go-to-market timeline. This all needs to underpin an investable, self-sustaining and ever growing business model.

The second way we create a true-to-life experience is by sourcing industry problems. That means we go out and seek industry partners that provide problem sets for our students to solve during the semester. Problems that are really challenging their businesses. No make-believe issues or theoretical hallucinations but the problems that are costing them financially or reputation every single day! We’ve done this before with subjects such as law, biomed/biotech and human performance enhancement.

Industry Collaboration

This semester we have teamed up with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific (CSI Pacific).

CSI Pacific is a world-class institute that fosters an ideal Olympic and Paralympic training environment. Through the support of national and provincial partners, CSI Pacific’s sport scientists and medical experts provide leading-edge programs and services to athletes and coaches in order to ensure they have every advantage to win medals for Canada. They are committed to Powering Performance. Inspiring Excellence.

CSI Pacific is the team behind the team and they have asked our class to work alongside them and their sport partners. They have offered to donate data, problem sets and subject matter supported by the team in Biomechanics & Performance Analysis, led by Dr. Ming-Chang Tsai.