Tacklebox Accelerator Syllabus

Program Syllabus

Tacklebox is a seven-week test of the market viability of your idea. Weekly workshops, 1-on-1 strategy sessions, customer intent tests and investor pitches stress test your idea and give you the foundations to launch.
$3,500 per startup (additional $500 per co-founder)
Contact Hours
2hr Weekly Workshop + 45min 1x1 check in each week
3-5hrs of contact hours (Group workshops + 1x1’s) with 5hrs+ independent work weekly
7 weeks
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Outcome: Validate your startup idea and leave with all the tools to grow it
Business Understanding/Startup 101
Validation of Customer and Market
System of Acquisition Channels
Develop early Product Features (market driven)
Opportunity for feedback from Investors
Next Steps/ Structure to move forward
Workshops: Our weekly, 2-hr workshops anchor the program. Delivered to each cohort (~12 small, curated founders) over Zoom, workshops consist of foundational content pulled from 250+ company launches. The detailed curriculum is below 👇, but our overarching goal is clarity. You need to know if your idea has potential - if it's worth your valuable time to pursue. We'll help you make customer-driven decisions so you can validate and scale, always building something customers love.
One-on-one Strategy Sessions: The workshops help you set your destination, the one-on-ones help you course correct during the journey. We'll dig in each week, pushing you on strategy, operations, differentiation. We expect a lot but won't do the work for you - we teach you to fish. This is where you learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Investor Pitches: The program culminates with pitches to early-stage investors. These investors have certainly written checks for our founders, but the pitches are also a great opportunity to level-set. More transparency. Where do you stand now in relation to other early stage startups, and where do you need to get to?
Alumni: Our community is made up of hundreds of like-minded founders with diverse experiences. Our database helps you keep track of who's working on what, who's willing to be a cofounder, or who you might want to work with on your next thing.
Where our founders go next.
Our alums generally take one of five paths after Tacklebox:
(~25%) Friends + Family Raise / Crowdfunding Platform ($20-150k) ➡️ Initial Product: Customer, acquisition channels (CLV = +3xCAC), business model, and initial features were mostly validated. The money is often for product build-out (whether technical or physical) and growth (marketing). Friends and Family often doesn't mean literal friends and family - we teach you how to identify and approach people who aren't professional investors but can write "small" checks. These founders often continue on to the Sprint Program, and may or may not quit their job. Alums in this bucket include:
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(~25%) Bootstrap ➡️ Initial Product: Customer, acquisition channels (CLV = +3xCAC), business model, and initial features were mostly validated. The founder has saved up money and will spend that developing the product. These founders often continue on to the Sprint Program, and may or may not quit their job. Alums in this bucket include: , ,
(~10%) Accelerator Program / Startup Studio 🚀: Customer, acquisition channels (CLV = +3xCAC), business model, venture scale growth (could theoretically get to $100mm in revenue) and initial features were validated. Team is complete and working full-time. These founders have gone on to programs like Y Combinator, Techstars, ERA, etc., which invest ~$120k and take equity. These founders must quit their jobs. Alums in this bucket include: ,
(~10%) Pivot to Adjacent Customer 🔁 : The SOM (initial customer segment) we chose didn't have urgency to solve the problem - not validated. Through the process we uncovered adjacent customer segments worth testing. Our founders generally push through the Tacklebox process with this new customer segment following the cohort. They'll often eventually get to the Sprint Program once a customer segment hits. They don't quit their jobs. Alums in this bucket include: , ,
(~30%) Scratch this Idea✌️, Start Something New: The SOM didn't have urgency to solve the problem and no adjacent customer segments jumped out - not validated. This happens. Not every problem needs a solution. Often, founders realize something about the customer, market, acquisition channels, or competition that pushes them to search for another idea. Some of our best products come from this realization. The founder now understands the process and can pursue their next opportunity with the Tacklebox system and an MBA in entrepreneurship. Alums in this bucket include: , ,
Course Flow
Startup Foundations
Week 1
Understand your Market
Week 2
Trust your Damn Pickles
Week 3
So That They Can (S.T.T.C)
Week 4
Product Differentiation
Week 5
Customer Intent Test + Hyper-Specific Workshops
Week 6
Build Testing Systems and Feedback Loops
Week 7
Pitching + Growth
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Pre-Req (2-4 weeks prior to Tacklebox starting): Startup Foundations
Weekly Outcome: Get started on things with longer feedback loops (customer interviews) and internalize the Tacklebox process, stack, philosophy, and expectations.
Familiarize yourself with the Tacklebox Stack + Philosophy
Run 10 Customer Interviews
Tactics + Resources:
Teachable + Coda + Slack
Customer Interview Guide + Templates
Week 1: Understand your Market
Weekly Outcome: Know exactly what a great initial customer segment looks like - one that can support any type of business you'd like to build. Develop and begin executing on a system to find your initial customer segment.
Understand initial customer segment characteristics and the dynamics of an initial market that catalyze growth
Create your system for customer outreach and establish weekly goals
Meet and interact with your amazing cohort-mates (~10 startups per cohort, usually 15-20 total founders)
Tactics + Resources:
Startup Smile Curve
Inflection Points
2-hr workshop via Zoom
45 min strategy one-on-one
Week 2: Trust Your Damn Pickles
Weekly Outcome: Translate customer interviews into tight customer segments (SOMs) with an urgent, unique, unmet problem we can solve. Begin testing messaging to validate we can get customers to take some sort of action to solve this problem via the One Person Landing Page.
Define tighter SOMs with demographic and psychographic guardrails based on that markets JTBD
Begin crafting highly targeted outcome messaging
Identify preliminary assumptions we're making about customers in our SOMs
Tactics + Resources:
Assumptions Matrix + Persona
DMU's of Persona
One Person Landing Page (Landing Page Resources)
2-hr workshop via Zoom
45 min strategy one-on-one
1-hr group virtual "happy hour"
1-hr group work session
Week 3: So That They Can (S.T.T.C)
Weekly Outcome: Start running message tests in public to multiple channels. Begin understanding message efficacy and early data points for CAC + conversion rate. Find unique, differentiated acquisition channel(s).
Test messaging + urgency via Landing Page + acquisition channels
Find unique acquisition channels (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn don't count) based on SOM inflection points
Acquire cold customers
Tactics + Resources:
Landing Page Flow (Landing Page Resources)
Social ad templates + guides
Traction Channels
Cold email strategy for B2B
Consultative approach for Marketplace
2-hr workshop via Zoom
45 min strategy one-on-one
Week 4: Product Differentiation
Weekly Outcome: Translate customer work into the two core features you think will differentiate your product. Make sure your messaging of that product is perceived by customers as clearly different from current solutions and worth trying.
Important note: Most customers DO NOT have products at this point. We're validating customers want the product we might build prior to building it.
Create channel and messaging tests to ensure true separation / differentiation from how customers solve the problem now.
Map out a Customer Intent Test (CIT) test to validate / disprove riskiest assumption and kickstart the feedback loop.
Tactics + Resources:
Competitive Deep Dive
Assumptions Matrix
Customer Journey Mapping
Pricing Strategies
2-hr workshop via Zoom
45 min strategy one-on-one
2-hr group work session
Week 5: Customer Intent Test + Hyper-Specific Workshops
Weekly Outcome: Run tests with customers to understand if they care enough to take action. Gather data points on each step of the process - acquisition channel, top of funnel messaging, mid-funnel conversion, call-to-action. Learn from customers who made it through the funnel.
Ditch the swimmies and run full cycle tests with the intention of acquiring and selling to cold customers.
Deep dive on each founder's industry to set up systems for B2B, B2C, marketplace, B2B2C, physical product supply chain, digital product stack / developers, etc.
Tactics + Resources:
Database of past CITs from Tacklebox alumni
Financial Report Templates
Mid-Funnel Deep Dive
Evening Working sessions
45 min strategy one-on-one
Week 6: Build Testing Systems and Feedback Loops
Weekly Outcome: Synthesize the first round of tests and create a second round of tests. You'll choose one of three paths for the next tests:
Deeper intent test on initial SOM
Higher level intent test on an adjacent SOM
New channel / strategy for initial SOM
Pivot - we'll talk through this if it makes sense
Dig deeper on next steps - funding, accelerators, getting a product built, when to quit.
Run new round of tests
Calculate CAC for each channel - create weighted value
Understand options for next steps
Synthesize first 6 weeks into 2-minute pitch
Tactics + Resources:
Value-based Pricing
Accelerator Resources
Fundraising Deep Dive
2-hr workshop via Zoom
45 min strategy one-on-one
Investor Pitch
Week 7: Pitching + Growth
Weekly Outcome: Understand where you are and where you'd like to get. Set a weekly plan to get there.
Establish Process + Customer Goals for the next 1/3/6 months
Decide immediate next step: Fundraise, bootstrap, accelerator program, funding platform (Kickstarter, iFund Women, etc.), re-evaluate
Nail investor pitches
Tactics + Resources:
System Audit
OKR Template
2-hr workshop via Zoom
45 min strategy one-on-one
2-hr group work session
Tacklebox currently has a 20% rate of acceptance to the program. We look for dynamic founders who have an interesting POV and determination to make their idea work.
What makes a strong application?
Early action - what have you already done?
Industry expertise - why are you the person to solve the problem?
Compelling point of view - why are you different?
Understanding of customer - what specific customer are your serving?

Not ready to apply?

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