About Salim Virani

I’m not great at introducing myself so I’ll just share the organisations I’ve founded, and their highlights.

Startups in the early days
And in ancient history, I was one of those teenagers in oversized business suits. I found my way to JWT, the world’s largest ad agency, where I founded their digital media department in Canada.

In the early 2000s, I founded companies in ecommerce, email service provision and IT/Media services. Most achieved some niche or regional leadership position and led to small exits.

Leancamp (2009-2015)
Before the Lean Startup books were written, Leancamp was a community of 3,000 entrepreneurs across 30 cities. We met in structured knowledge-sharing events. Over several years, their practices emerged as the Lean Startup methodology.

Alumni went on to become best-selling book authors like Eric Ries, John Mullins, Alex Osterwalder, Brant Cooper and Janice Fraser, as well as founders or C-level execs at AirBnB, Facebook, Product Hunt, Google Ventures, and many others. Though I count the biggest achievement as the several hundred founders who launched successful companies with the support of their Leancamp peers.

Founder Centric (2012-2015)
A small startup training company consisting of only 3 experienced startup founders. We delivered workshops for Europe’s top-tier universities and startup accelerators. Some were Oxford University, Seedcamp, Techstars, UK Tech City, UCL, Imperial University, Microsoft Ventures and Unilever.

By 2013, mid-way into the accelerator explosion, we’d designed the education programs for roughly half of Europe’s startup accelerators, and later we became known for producing the books The Mom Test and Mentor Impact.

Featured in The Financial Times: Online course opens to sharpen start-up minds & Entrepreneurship can be taught, say educators

Source Institute (2015-2017)
Education delivery company specialising in peer learning, mainly running global programs in emerging tech and highly-dynamic markets. At it’s peak, it was a team of 40, delivering programs across 3 continents.

Clients include: The UK Royal Academy Of Engineering, London Business School, Redgate Software. One of our programs achieved pinnacle status in the Newton Fund because the peer learning design was instantly adaptable to the needs of the 15 beneficiary countries. We also launched the (then) largest tech entrepreneurship course in Africa: The Sources

The Africa Prize For Engineering Innovation, which we fully designed and ran, achieved commercialisation rates higher than global-class accelerators. It was regularly featured on the BBC including
the BBC World Service.

You can learn more about our portfolio here.

DIY Ventilators (2020)
At the start of Coronavirus pandemic, we mobilised 150 engineers across 11 countries, creating ~10 rapid-manufacturable ventilator prototypes in 6 weeks.

Referenced by the US National Library Of Medicine and #EndCoronaVirus

Air Collective (2020-2021)
Air-tight COVID masks that protect the front-line of half of Bulgaria’s hospitals.

Covered by Svobodna Evropa, technews.bg

What am I up to these days?

I’m a new parent, and prioritising my attention on our new rhythms as a family. I’m also having fun with slow creative pursuits: making a few apps, writing, etc.

Work-wise, I’m trekking along at a cozy pace, with a few non-exec, advisory roles for cryptography and microchip manufacturing programs.

In the past, I've designed peer-learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, and Kernel, careering from startups to humanitech and engineering. I also played a role in starting the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Contact me

Books & collected practices

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled
  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams