The Lean Canvas
Examples from Invention Capital




Business Model: "A design of the operations of a business which focuses on how revenue will be generated" (

A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010)

A business model is a description of the activities that a company performs to generate revenue or other benefits, and the relationships, information, and product flows a company has with its customers, suppliers, and complementors (Malone et al., 2006)

[A] Lean Canvas (LC) is adapted from Alex Osterwalder's The Business Model Canvas. Lean Canvas helps deconstruct a business model into nine distinct subparts that are then systematically tested, in order of highest to lowest risk. Lean Canvas is a business model validation tool. that document a business model, measure progres and communicate learning with internal and external stakeholders:

  1. Problem: The first stage is about determining whether a problem is worth solving before investing months or years of effort into building a solution.

  2. Customer Segments: Prioritize target customers and users that that will need the product most.

  3. Unique Value Proposition: Single, clear, compelling message that states why you are different and worth buying.

  4. Solution: Once the problem is understood, you are then in the best position to define a possible solution - identify the top 3 features.

  5. Channels: Path to customers and users. The means by which a company delivers products and services to customers. This includes the company's marketing and distribution strategy.

  6. Revenue Stream: Your sources of revenue. Revenue Model, Lifetime Value, Revenue, Gross Margin. The way a company makes money through a variety of revenue flows.

  7. Cost Structure: Your fixed and variable costs. Customer Acquisition Costs, Distributing Costs, Hosting, People, etc.

  8. Key Metrics: Key activities you measure. Every business has a few key numbers that can be used to measure how well it is performing. These numbers are key for both measuring progress and identifying hot spots in your customer lifecycle.

  9. Unfair Advantage: Can’t be easily copied or bought. Examples include: Insider information, “expert” endorsements, a dream team, personal authority, large network effects, community, existing customers, SEO ranking, patents, etc.

Figure 1. The Lean Canvas with an Example from Ash Maurya

Figure 1 is an example from Ash (2013). A template for the Lean Canvas is provided herein (Yeap, 2016)-.

An illustrative video (cache) on the Lean Canvas:

Other good web resources on Lean Canvas:


Maurya, A. 2013. Running Lean, O'Reilly.

Malone, T. W., Weill, P., Lai, R.K., D’Urso, V. T., Herman, G. Apel, T. G., and Woerner, S. L. 2006. Do Some Business Models Perform Better than Others?, MIT Working Paper 4615-06.

Osterwalder, A. & Pigneur, Y., 2010. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers 1st ed., Wiley.

Yeap, T., 2016. Lean Canvas template, Invention Capital Publishing.