Deeptech startups require a lot of focus and willpower to build. Here, we offer the most useful tips and lessons learned for those looking to market a cutting-edge technological company.
What’s a Deeptech startup? There are numerous definitions, however, the following is the one I choose to use:
A deep-tech startup is a business that introduces to the market a better product, platform, or service that is 10x more efficient than alternatives. It must also use cutting-edge, genuinely difficult-to-copy, and original technology to address a significant SDG issue.
So what makes this different from starting any other IT company? Do Deeptech startups face any unique obstacles? Absolutely, there is.
The fact that the factor “10x superior” is made possible by a technological advance is crucial in this case. In reality, the factor of 10x might only be 1.1x, provided that it is sufficient to upend your target industry.
A technological breakthrough can be challenging to achieve, but it is often even more challenging to use it to sustainably create value for a large number of clients. Additionally, this is the cause of the 10x. Avoid creating a startup around a piece of technology if it doesn’t significantly benefit the customer.
What difficulties face Deeptech businesses?
Time is one of them. Yes, as in years and occasionally even decades.
Even when Hofstadter’s law is taken into account, everything takes longer than you anticipate. Yes, that might be amusing, but when you’re establishing a Deeptech firm, this “rule” frequently feels like an understatement. It’s also a result of the time it takes to convince your first customer to take the risk and say yes, in addition to all the challenges and unpleasant shocks that come with developing new products and ramping up production.
It takes a lot of bravery to be the first customer to incorporate an unproven, 10x greater, and likely mission-critical component into their own offer.
This initial, crucial stage takes considerably longer than your most gloomy logical mind might anticipate (especially when it comes to money).
Regardless of your superior specifications, you are ultimately selling to a human, and it takes 10 times as many meetings, 10 times as much testing, and 10 times as many legal hoops to jump through to get that person’s trust in this new weird item. Your staff, your investors, and your customer advocates can stop believing in you before you even arrive.
There are many obstacles in your path that could make you want to give up.
Even Nevertheless, there are deep tech startups that are successful. What are the methods that will shorten the journey and improve your chances of success?
1. Controlling expectations
You firmly believe that if you build it, they will come and that your business model and product are a no-brainer for the consumer. In our cosmos, something does occur occasionally, but in fact, it hardly ever occurs on earth.
2. Keep in mind that adequate is sufficient.
Your technology’s potential may enable something even 50 times better. However, until you reach 10x or perhaps even 2x, your offer might still be sufficient to satisfy your initial clients. The enemy of “good” is frequently “best,” and few things rob time more than perfectionism.
Additionally, the reality is too complex to optimize in just one dimension. In a commercial context, 10x in one dimension is sometimes interpreted as too late.
When a market is ready for a technology shift, it won’t wait for the best technology; instead, it will go for the one that is now in use. Only when that technology is visibly out of date will the market then move again.
3. Adhere to the plan and exercise flexibility as necessary.
Some claim that the one who learns the most quickly ultimately succeeds. While accurate, this is only partially the case. You won’t raise your speed or decrease the time it takes to succeed until you apply your learnings to revised plans and activities. What about your perfectly thought-out plan, then? Should we simply discard it after each time we learn something? Indeed and no! Here, it’s crucial to create a balance.
Teams and organizations require plans featuring objectives, benchmarks, KPIs, and other metrics. Not only do they perform better, but when people are aware of what is expected of them, they often feel safer. If you alter plans every week, many employees will leave the organization. As an outcome, you need leadership and a method to put each learning into perspective and assess whether it actually calls for a change in course. Sometimes there are numerous tiny adjustments, but occasionally there is one major change. Most of the time, the best course of action is to follow the plan.
4. Establish a culture of task force operations
As I said earlier, nothing ever goes exactly as expected. Particularly when working with Deeptech, this is valid. Adversity can occasionally be so severe that it threatens to end your startup’s existence as a wonderful idea.
All hands must be on deck if this occurs! Adversity should be seen as an opportunity by founders and leaders, who should also emphasize that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. This is indeed true in the startup industry.
Create a suitable task force to carry out the finest suggestions after brainstorming potential fixes or workarounds. You’ll have a lot tighter team and a greater valuation once the crisis is over. Creating task groups gives the organization the necessary sense of urgency and the impression that it responds resolutely to challenges.
Additionally, occasionally your brilliant and creative team comes up with a solution that is even better than the one you are working on. At first glance, it appears to be the case. This is a very risky position that is likely to lead to arguments and break up your team. Again, forming a task force is the answer. Let a few individuals demonstrate why you should replace the current approach with the new one since it is in fact superior to the current one and will be implemented more quickly and easily. Otherwise, follow your plan.
5. Find champions and get in touch with them early
Find champions early on and start interacting with them. What we mean by a champion is a person, typically employed by your ideal (favorite) customer, who is eager to test new solutions and, if the trial is at least moderately successful, is eager to push (yes, they have to push a lot) your solution, product, platform, or service even further into the customer’s internal evaluation process.
Deep tech startups very frequently avoid meeting with potential consumers in the early stages, either because they are perfectionists who are not yet satisfied with the performance of their product or because they are concerned about being viewed as naive and immature.
Everything is brought back to the front due to this poor strategy (or rather lack thereof). It’s highly improbable that you can determine all the nuances of the problem, what the problem costs, who owns the problem, what the ramifications are for the customer’s customer, what the budget is, etc. from the outside unless you have really been the customer.
The devil is in the details in this case. Instead, you ought to start building relationships with potential clients right now. Look for a problem owner who can serve as your ally on the inside. Make them an accomplice to your crime. Give them the chance to flourish as heroes within their own company. You can improve your comprehension of the issue you’re trying to solve by having a champion on the inside. You’ll learn a tonne about what the customer values most and what is missing from your product. You’ll probably be astonished by how much quicker you can arrive at a value proposition that will satisfy your customer.
Just think about how much time you’ll save if you don’t include all the things you originally intended to but found to be nice-to-haves! Not to mention the time it would have taken to fix it if a necessary item had been overlooked.
Words from very well
Establishing a deep tech startup requires time. However, you may expedite the process and increase the likelihood that it will be successful by being focused, customer-centric, efficient, content with good enough, and managing expectations.