The Garden Bug is a full-scale garden center located in Detroit’s Grandmont Rosedale community. After dabbling in landscaping for years and noticing a need in her neighborhood, owner Tina Castleberry decided to run her business full time. Through the TechTown SWOT City program, Tina was able to choose from various resources needed to grow her business.…
Chris Lum is a DTX Launch Detroit 2016 graduate. During his time in the program, Chris gained firsthand insight on what it takes to launch a successful tech- based business. At the conclusion of the program, Chris opted to join an existing startup to gain more experience. The inaugural awardee of the DTX Career Experience Award, sponsored by Bank of America, Chris was matched with Detroit sports technology startup Impellia, where he completed an internship and later accepted a full-time offer.
What’s a typical week like as a participant in the DTX Launch Detroit program?
We were required to meet here at TechTown two times a week. Tuesday is more of a coaching, education-focused day. Instructors taught us about the Lean Startup methodology, customer interviews, customer discovery, etc. Fridays we would have guest speakers come in from various industries. One week it could be someone from marketing, then the following week it could be someone from product development. Throughout the week, we’re expected to be out in the field doing that boots-on-the-ground research: interviewing stakeholders, getting customer feedback and iterating your product.
What was the number one thing you learned while in the program?
I guess the number one thing I learned was the importance of that boots-on-the-ground research. You can do all the research online, but you’re not really going to know the voice of your customer unless you go out and actually talk to them. This program really emphasizes stepping outside of your comfort zone, getting out there and asking those tough questions.
What did you find challenging about the program?
The biggest challenge was scheduling those interviews. We were charged with conducting over 100 interviews during the 10-week program. It forced you to step outside of your comfort zone and to get creative and figure out how you were going to complete so many interviews in a short period of time.
Can you speak more about your position with Impellia?
DTX offers a Career Experience Program, which is an internship program sponsored by Bank of America. I applied and was matched with a Detroit startup, Impellia. I was excited to work with Impellia because they are a sports technology company and I have a background in sports and wellness. After completing my internship in December, I was offered a full-time position.
A piece of advice for anyone considering applying for the program?
Anytime there’s an opportunity to get real world experience outside of the classroom, take advantage of it. Programs like DTX are important because not only are you growing your skillset, but you’re growing your network as well.
Applications for DTX Launch Detroit 2017 are open through April 21. Application and more info here.