Innovation Works

Featured Reciples

Validating Your Idea with The Mom Test and SurveyMonkey

Every startup idea makes perfect sense to its creator, but the only way to know if it’s viable is to test it with potential users. But you won’t get accurate feedback unless you ask the right people the right questions. This Recipe gives you a way to test your product concept with the right audience and get unbiased feedback.

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Create and send a company update newsletter with Mailchimp

Maintaining periodic communication with your startup’s supporters is an excellent way to both keep them engaged and invested in your success and to keep yourself accountable to the goals you establish. In this recipe we’ll use the popular email marketing tool Mailchimp to set up and send an update newsletter to your supporters.

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Designing a logo with Fiverr

While you don’t need a logo for your company until launch, having a unique logo that reflects your brand can make a huge impact in how potential customers perceive you and it can help you identify your company’s key attributes and differentiators. But logo design is a specialized skill, so this is one case where it’s worth spending money to get a good result. In this recipe we’ll use the freelance marketplace Fiverr to hire an expert to design a logo for your startup.

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Competitor Research with Crunchbase, Pitchbook, and Product Hunt

While competition shouldn’t discourage you from launching your startup, knowing what alternatives your potential customers have and how you compare against them is critical. In this recipe you’ll use a search engine and sites like Crunchbase, Pitchbook, and Product Hunt to identify existing competitors and understand how they are funded, as well as how you stack up against them.

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Centralized password management with BitWarden

Using a password manager is one of the best cybersecurity practices your business (and you personally) can undertake. Building this core security practice into your company’s DNA at the earliest stages can provide significant protection as you scale. In this Recipe we’ll use Bitwarden to demonstrate setting up a password vault, storing passwords and other secrets, and making them available to cofounders and staff.

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Make a Product Launch Video with Biteable

A product overview video is a key tool in your product kit. Videos are great for explaining abstract ideas and a video can convey your product’s benefits in ways that text and images can’t. It can be embedded in your website, and they are often required or strongly encouraged when applying to pitch competitions and accelerators.

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How We Choose Tools for the Recipes

When evaluating tools we use the following criteria:


Since this guide provides a path to validate and launch an MVP with as little cash outlay as possible, price is a primary consideration.

  • Transparency. Tools that do not list a price on their website and/or cannot be purchased without a sales representative being involved were excluded from this guide.
  • Annual cost, since many products offer a discount for annual subscriptions.
  • Whether the tool offers a free trial or a free-forever tier that founders can use to defer paying until they are able to generate revenue.

Feature set

We look for tools that address the need stated in the guide, as well as:

  • Specificity. We prefer tools that are purpose-built to address the need.
  • Interoperability. Where possible we prefer tools that support integrations with other popular tools, and/or support Zapier integration.
  • Well-supported financially. While we prefer to support startups where possible, we must balance that against the risks of using a tool that may unexpectedly shut down.


When selecting tools for this guide we take in to account popularity within their category. A particular tool may have a higher annual cost but its ubiquity makes it a better fit because:

  • The founder will be less likely to need to replace the tool as they grow
  • The skills that they develop will be transferable in the event that the founder decides not to pursue the venture
  • It will be easier to hire individuals or firms to provide maintenance and support as the founder’s cash position grows
  • We are less likely to need to modify the guide to use a different tool as an example

Innovation Works is not sponsored by nor endorsed by any of the  tools, software, and companies mentioned in Startup Recipes. This guide is to assist early-start startups to get through the early stages developing their companies. These guides are by no means the only way to start a company. The Startup Recipes available are for informational purposes and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

View the Startup Recipes