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Dan Manian

Entrepreneur • Advisor San Francisco Bay Area, US

VP of Product. TA for Steve Blank at UC Berkeley, UCSF, and Columbia. Berkeley and Columbia MBA. Stanford eng grad.

VP of Product. TA for Steve Blank at UC Berkeley, UCSF, and Columbia. Berkeley and Columbia MBA. Stanford eng grad.

3 vouches

Primary Skillsets

  • Business Development
  • Product
I have an idea, but I'm open to other ideas

Primary Cofounder Skillsets

  • • Business Development
  • • Product

Involved In


Stanford University
Alchemist Accelerator


VP Product Sookasa July 2014 - present
I-Corps Adjunct Faculty National Science Foundation June 2014 - present
Mentor Stanford University January 2014 - present
Mentor Alchemist Accelerator January 2014 - present
Product Strategy and Customer Development Consulting Freelance consulting January 2014 - present
Teaching Assistant National Science Foundation January 2014 - March 2014
VP of Product Luidia Inc. May 2012 - January 2014
Teaching Assistant UCSF August 2013 - December 2013
Teaching Assistant University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business January 2013 - May 2013
Director of Luidia Labs Luidia Inc. March 2010 - April 2012
Industry Coach Stanford University October 2008 - June 2011
Product Manager Luidia Inc. September 2008 - March 2010
Teaching Assistant Stanford University September 2007 - June 2008
Design Consultant Intern SAP June 2007 - September 2007
Engineering Intern Northrop Grumman Corporation June 2004 - August 2006


Columbia University - Columbia Business School 2011 - 2013
UC Berkeley Haas School of Business 2011 - 2012
Stanford University Mechanical Engineering with focus in Design Methodology 2006 - 2008
Brown University Mechanical Engineering 2002 - 2006

Interested In

Joining an Early Team
Cofounder With
  • • Engineering
Markets of Interest
  • • Cloud Services
  • • Commerce
  • • Data & Analytics
  • • Enterprise Software
  • • Mobile
  • • Music
  • • Productivity Tools
  • • Recruiting
  • • Robotics
  • • Small Businesses
  • • Smart Home
  • • Transportation

You Should Know About Me

Key Strengths

Customer development • Lean startup • Product Design • Product management • Product Market Fit

Key Accomplishments

I built an innovation team from scratch at my last company, and started within 2 months of being hired as a Product Manager. I built a team of 12 engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs who employed Design Thinking and Customer Development to talk to customers, discover new opportunities, and rapidly prototype new products and iterate. We launched five hardware and software products, and I mentored people on the team into leadership roles.

Most recently, as the VP of Product I built new processes for creating product roadmaps and launching new products, both of which were adopted company-wide.

I have been helping Steve Blank teach the Lean LaunchPad for the past two years at a variety of schools (Stanford, Berkeley, UCSF...). I've seen over 150 startup teams go through the Lean LaunchPad process using Customer Discovery and the Business Model Canvas. Coaching startup teams, especially through the process of finding product–market fit, is one of my passions, and I have learned a ton in the process.

I'm currently consulting with a couple early-stage startups to assist with customer development as I look for the right cofounder.

Not on my LinkedIn profile are several side projects I've worked on. One project, Date Genie (, was the result of 3 months of work, which included over 100 customer interviews, many product iterations, and the development of a minimum viable product. (My cofounder and I ultimately chose not to pursue this full time.) More recently, I launched Boxer Sub ( as a hobby project. The site is currently up and running, and we have paying customers. My cofounder and I launched the site one week after deciding to work on it.

How I like to work with people As a Cofounder

I have a deep understanding of startup tools like Customer Discovery and the Business Model Canvas, coupled with pattern recognition from seeing 100s of teams use the methodology.

I'm great at pulling teams together, and figuring out what to do next in the face of insufficient data. I have a ton of experience interviewing and observing users, and taking those learnings to identify value propositions and develop products for customers.

As an Advisor

I have advised startups in education environments (Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, UCSF), as well as teams working full-time on their startup. I am not very prescriptive, nor do I try to figure the answer out for you – you know your business far better than I do. I usually ask a lot of questions and provide guidance on process, typically around what I would be trying to learn from customers (who to talk to, what to say, how to find them). I'm happy to start with a short meeting, and sometimes am available to have a longer working session in front of a whiteboard.

Vouches Received

Vouches Given

Think Dan is awesome?
Vouch for them.

Corina Yen
We worked together at Luidia
Dan is an experienced leader who combines strengths as a design thinker with a strong business acumen and a past life as an engineer. In oth ... er words, he embodies the startup trifecta. He's a rare combination of being highly thoughtful with a bias for action, unafraid of taking risks when needed. At the educational tech startup where we worked together and he is now VP of Product, he built our internal innovation team from the ground up. He hired an all-star team of designers and engineers, drove our direction, internally advocated for our human-centered design process, and managed several projects and teams at once. He was a great collaborator and leader on design projects. He excelled at bringing us together and driving us to do more and better. Focused on user needs, he has a knack for nailing product-market fit. I also was on the teaching team of one of the graduate design classes he TA'ed at Stanford, and he was a great coach and mentor for a dozen teams. A testament to his experience and his intuition, often a key insight or a suggestion about a next step from him would get a team off and running in the right direction.
Danielle D'Agostaro
Program & Marketing Director, Alchemist Accelerator. Previously Associate Account Manager, Adobe. University of California, Berkeley grad.
Olga Mack (Kotlyarevskaya)
Assistant General Counsel, Zoosk, Inc.. Previously In-House Counsel, Global Client Deals and Product, Visa.