Fail Fast To Succeed Faster

Attendees from accross South Africa (e.g. Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Pretoria) took part in the second edition of Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg workshop from 27 March to 29 March 2015 at JoziHub.

Johannesburg, South Africa - 30 March 2015

This is the official press release for Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg. For any further media related enquiries kindly contact Peter Peele.


The weekend of 27 to 29 March 2015 saw the second Lean Startup Machine workshop kick off in Johannesburg.

The Jo'burg workshop was sponsored by Ignitor, Jozihub and iAfrikan.

Lean Startup Machine workshops are inspired by Eric Ries' book, The Lean Startup, and are supported by him. The aim of Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg was to teach attendees a process and methodology for discovering which products will succeed in the marketplace and which won't through problem definition, customer validation and solution validation.

The Lean Startup

The workshop is a high impact and intensive 3 day educational experience with strict time constraints and rules which test the attendees character and perseverance, it is not a conference, a VC pitching contest or a hackathon.

At Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg initially 7 teams were formed on Friday and all 7 teams pitched on Sunday (with one invalidated after several experiments) after going through the whole process over the weekend.

MDRN Medical

Team MDRN Medical being coached by Clen Cook around 22h00 on Friday night

The final teams that pitched - after they experimented and got out of the building for hours on end to interact with potential customers and eventually sell to customers - were:

Mechanico - Car Mechanic Service that reduces life interruption due to a broken down car.

MDRN Medical

Mechanico Team

MDRN Medical - Online distributors of fine medical apparel & equipment.

MDRN Medical

MDRN Medical Team

Textbook Buddy - Students don't enjoy carrying heavy textbooks. Textbook Buddy allows you to only take the chapters you need to school.

Textbook Buddy

Textbook Buddy Team

Agatha - Solving crime through crowdsourcing of CCTV footage and using image recognition and analytics to track and monitor criminals.


Team Agatha

Sift App - Submit bidsTake a photo of an item you want and purchase it online. sift will find you the best product matches at the best prices and give you the option to buy your choice online instantly. Accurate. Fast. FREE.


Sift Application Team

Green Receipts Online - We connect great consumers with great companies.

Green R

Green R Team

After the teams presented for 5 minutes each and had a Q & A with the judges (Dipti Batta, Vije Vijendranath, Tania Van Wyk De Vries, Paul Smith and Dominique Collett) for 3 minutes, the judges eventually decided through a rigourous and objective process of deciding which team best validated their customers and solution that MDRN Medical was the winner.

Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg Judges

Lean Startup Machine Jo'burg Judges

MDRN Medical walk away with the the prize of their idea being accelarated and turned into a viable business with the help of Ignitor.

MDRN Medical, along with Mechanico and Green R Online, receive 12 month residency prize at Jozihub for being part of the top 3 teams.

The teams were assisted throughout the weekend by mentors:

  • Vije Vijendranath
  • S'bu Ngwenya
  • Craig Wing
  • Paul Smith
  • Dominique Collett
  • Clen Cook
  • Tania Van Wyk De Vries
  • Mispah Carelsen
  • Victor Chaitezvi
  • Justin Coetsee

What They Said

Smybinn Mathews is a medical doctor with an interest in application of technology in health, he had this to say about the workshop (he was part of the MDRN Medical Team):

Working 14 hours a day got to Mpumelelo Kapela (Textbook Buddy Team Member) but he still carried on and learned a lot:

We also had a firesdie chat on Friday night with Dominique Collett (co-founder on, largest tech exit in South Africa in past seven years) and she really inspired Quinn White:

Trevor Owens also joined us via Skype video:

Richard Bezuidenhout flew from Cape Town for the workshop and judging by his tweet he not only learned a lot but made great connections too:

Leon Marincowitz, an attendee, also wrote the following two articles elaborating on his experience and lessons learned at the workshop:

Zero - Key To Starting Up

Write A Business Plan, Then What?



Day 1 Image Gallery

Day 3 Image Gallery

About Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg

Lean Startup Machine is NOT a hackathon

It's an intensive three-day workshop which teaches entrepreneurs and innovators how to build disruptive products.

How It Works

The workshop kicks off with a series of product pitches that help attendees organize into teams. Everyone works on a NEW idea. Each team then develops its problem hypothesis, solution hypothesis and a series of assumptions which are core to the success of the business.

Next, each team creates an MVP, or "Minimum Viable Product." The goal of the MVP test is to "Get Out Of the Building," speak with real customers and to collect cash or non-cash currency which serves as validation.

The process promotes a problem-centric approach to business ideation. By continuously validating and invalidating assumptions, teams are forced to pivot their solution (and even problem) toward a true customer pain; rather than creating a solution and after-the-fact seeking customers with a problem.

The event culminates with each team pitching its new solutions and its experience using the process. In this competition the winning team is not selected based on who has the best idea, but instead on which team honors the process and gains the most insights through its pivots.

The next Jo'burg event will be in late Q2/2015 or early Q3/2015. For more information visit the website.

Cover Image: Some of the Lean Jo'burg attendees getting ready for group photo.