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The Lean Innovator Cohort

Gain Traction with the Lean Innovator

Join us for a 10-week-long cohort program supporting pre-seed startups in gaining traction with their customers.

The program will run from August 16th to October 23rd and will have an in-person kickoff weekend and virtual meetings on Wednesdays from 12 - 2pm. We will kick off the program with a Launch Weekend at the Carlsen Center and conclude with an in-person Demo Day.

Lean Innovator title image

About the Lean Innovator

Our curriculum and program focuses your efforts on doing the things that matter in gaining traction. We enable you to engage customers while gaining evidence that systematically de-risks your startup.

  • Customer Profile Development
  • Customer Interviews
  • Market Niche Research (SOM)
  • Value Proposition Design
  • Testing & Assumptions Mapping
  • Pitching
  • Prototyping

Each module will include instruction time plus worksheets that will guide you step-by-step through the process.

Lean Innovator Cohort zoom photo

Cohort Based Course


Peer Support

  • Start up with 8 new friends
  • Practice with each other


  • Help each other stay accountable
  • Checklists and worksheets

Additional Support

  • In-person and Virtual Office Hours with facilitators
  • Support from mentors and advisors

Your cohort mates are in this with you, and they want you to succeed. You’ll meet with them, learn with them, work with them, and create relationships with them.

This is a cohort-based course, designed for transformation, not just knowledge transfer. There are online courses and videos for that.

We’ve baked in community best practices that will create a safe yet effective space for you to grow with others. What’s more, we’ll show you how to do the same thing so you can stay connected with your cohort-mates after it’s over.

Expected Results

At the end of this course, you’ll be able to articulate:

  • What your startup is
  • Who it’s for
  • What it does

We’ll show you how to condense ALL the things into different formats such as a product statement, a one-minute pitch, and a pitch deck. You’ll have the opportunity to pitch to your peers and get feedback.

But the best thing of all: You’ll have a core group of new friends that have your back and who you can lean on for support way after the cohort is over.

The Facilitators

Jessie Becker Alexander


Entrepreneur-in-Residence - Carlsen Center, Co-Founder and Past CEO - Alydia Health (Exited)

Jessie Becker Alexander on LinkedIn

Cameron Law

Cameron Law

Executive Director of the Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Cameron Law on LinkedIn

Cameron Law is a Sacramento native who brings his passion and love for Sacramento as well as his experience in social ventures, venture capital, and management consulting to the

Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as the Executive Director. He is an active ecosystem-builder and is working through the Carlsen Center to make the Greater Sacramento region a premier hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. He personally values love and service and brings this intention to building the region and serving the community and its entrepreneurs.

Kaleen Canevari, Lean Innovator Cohort Member on Startup Happy Hour

Participant Testimonial

I started the Lean Innovator Cohorts program with a startup to market the world’s most innovative and simple all-in-one brewware for homebrewing beer in small batches under pressure. But after going through various exercises during the program on customer interviews and customer journeys, I discovered a bigger and lower hanging fruit embedded in my brewware startup – a method to perfectly dispense champagne under CO2 pressure and preserve its bubbles for extended enjoyment. Hence, the Champagneur was borne – the world’s only champagne stopper with a tap and a flow control that can be put on with one hand and pour conveniently with the stopper in place for a perfect glass of champagne. The market potential and adoption for Champagneur is many times larger than the brewware. So, I am working on a Kickstarter campaign and manufacturing the product. It has been exciting and rewarding to participate in the Lean Innovator Cohorts program. All this would not happen if I did not sign up for it. I and millions of champagne lovers thank you!
Trong Nguyen
Hacker | Inventor | Maker | Brewer
Homebrewer LAB


You've got a whole community and resources at your back:

  • Office Hours with Lean Innovator Facilitators and Subject Matter Experts
  • Community of Support through Cohort Model
  • Access to Carlsen Center Mentor Network
  • Learn from successful entrepreneurs