Lisa Schumacher is passionate about growing young companies that use imaginative technology and services to solve big problems. For the past 20 years, she has helped build five b2b startups across brand marketing, education and financial services platforms. Lisa's primary expertise is in customer discovery, enterprise sales and marketing.
Currently, Lisa is part of the founding team for a West Coast social purpose fintech, GroundSwell, which partners with select nonprofits to enable their supporters to give, without added time or money coming out of their pockets.
Lisa spent 10 years in two brand marketing startups. CSpace disrupted the market research industry by being the first to give big brands authentic deep listening and co-creation with consumers via a SaaS private community platform bundled with advisory services. She helped lead and scale CSpace to an over $100M exit to Omnicom. During that venture, she landed and managed some of the world's best-known brands as clients. A shorter stint at a brand strategy firm, Coherency, offered brand leaders a way to quantify and diagnose nuanced emotional drivers of consumer engagement, leveraging algorithms derived from dating platforms like eHarmony.
Lisa also led Startup Institute, an immersive bootcamp at 1871 in Chicago, which gave her a crash-course into Chicago's diverse startup ecosystem as well as the aspirations of millennial career changers.
Her first startup experience, WisdomTools, set the hook for entrepreneurship with KIEI's Professor Wortmann, who was recruited as the CEO, and who in turn recruited Lisa to build sales and marketing.
Prior to jumping into entrepreneurial ventures, Lisa was a marketer for Forum, a management consultancy, and at Thomson, a higher education business and economics publisher.
Lisa enjoys mentoring collegiate entrepreneurs at The Garage and Future Founders, as well as high-school entrepreneurs via LaunchX and Project Invent programs.
New Venture Discovery is designed to help students navigate the earliest stages of starting a new venture beginning with the identification of a problem in the market that is worth solving. The class teaches students tools and techniques to translate these problems into viable business concepts, with an emphasis on enabling an aspiring entrepreneur to get as far as possible, with as little as possible, as FAST as possible.
Student teams begin the quarter with nothing more than a series of hypotheses about a new venture, then design and execute a series of in-market experiments that either validate these assumptions, or force them to iterate aspects of their business model in real time. The objective of the course to guide students toward the achievement of "product-market fit" as a crucial first step in in the creation of a startup. From here, students can evolve their businesses by enrolling in the "Develop" and "Launch" courses that serve as the continuation of the new ventures curriculum.
New Venture Discovery course material ranges from customer discovery and design thinking, to rapid prototyping (of both offers and business models), bootstrapping methods and communicating/selling the vision for a new venture. The course format is a blend of lecture, fieldwork, cross-team collaboration and ideation sessions, outside speakers and expert mentoring.
**This course may not be dropped after the second week of the quarter**