Our strength and our distinctiveness lies in our unique approach to scoping, seeding and commercializing robotics
The process of how robotics - complex hardware paired with complex AI and ML driven software - get to product and then get to market is so different than how the same works for software alone. Yet many in the startup ecosystem have little experience with hardware and thus, don't fully understand the difference. Without an experienced team at the helm, timetables are longer, capital and material costs are higher and the talent needs are more specialized. All of which creates more hurdles, roadblocks and costs control challenges - what many call 'points of failure.' We built our model to mitigate these risks, expedite our time to market and optimize our cost controls. It is a different model than many are used to seeing. However our goals are more ambitious than bringing science to market. We are bringing game-changing, milestone-driven, innovative and 'integratable' products to market better, cheaper and faster.
Step 1: The Pipeline
Investors have ‘deal flow,’ we have IP flow; a consistent pipeline of promising technologies in development, prototype or testing stages that we can opportunistically acquire and accelerate if the market trends, drivers and conditions look favorable (validation of a high value, unmet need). We wont push a technology without a corresponding strong pull from the market.
Step 2: Technology Readiness Level and Complexity
Most technology ventures start at the research or concept phase. We source our venture opportunities from IP that is further along in its maturity - after the research and science is complete. We assess the technology readiness level - or TRL - to scope the time and resources needed to get to a market ready product. We always keep an eye out for solutions that require a scale or complexity few have - which plays to our strength and advantage. If we think others can easily or quickly achieve what we are aiming for, then it’s likely not the right opportunity for us.
Step 3: Getting Product to Market Ready
Before we green-light a new launch, we've already completed an exhaustive amount of diligence (Our Chief Strategy Officer calls it the "pre-mortem") - identifying the cost and time frame to get to minimum viable product, vetting market entry and profitability expectations, mapping the potential risks or missteps and gathering investor sentiment and customer prospects. In order to achieve our goal of getting solutions to market faster - and for less cost - than other robotic startups, we compress our timelines. To hit our aggressive milestones, we run engineering, strategy, investment, operations, sales, talent - all our workstreams - in parallel, allowing us to deliver returns 2x-5x higher - and market entry 2x-5x faster - for our companies over other venture backed firms in robotics and automation.
Step 4: Customer Access and Business Attractiveness
We constantly monitor relevant industry needs and market trends and can quickly adapt and redirect resources. We play close attention to whether there are clear buyers or beneficiaries for the solutions we back and make sure prospective customers and buyers have an accessible channel or path to access them – mindful of competitors or other major barriers. Key to success introducing innovative solutions in industrial automation and robotics is a sharp sense of whether the opportunity is simply too far ahead of where the market is ready to go. There are occasions when we have a strong, novel and valuable technology advantage that is too advanced, too different or requires too much of a ‘mindshift’ leap to be adopted or embraced. But one day...
Step 5: Talent
It's our belief that positioning talent with a head start, a strong hand to work with and expert support is a critical enabler of success. The "Founder" principles, expectations and models that traditional software venture firms follow is often a mismatch for industrial and hardware focused start ups for whom engineering, facility, tooling and pilot product costs reach deep into the seven, and often eight, figures. For industrial robotics startups, the first and most expensive step is de-risking the engineering and hardware - our specialty. Our launch model provides the seed capital and expertise for that de-risking so we can onboard talent with a full complement of assets to supercharge growth; an MVP, pilot partner and investment capital already secured.
Step 6: Growth & Value
There are times when a core team of founders can lead a business to great heights and there are other times when someone else has the assets, brand and category strength to build and maintain a winner. Our goal is to launch and build successful, sustainable businesses in robotics and automation, unbiased by a pre-conceived path or process to get there. Finding and nurturing a network of strong prospects and partners for potential joint ventures, M&A, exits or other partnerships that can compound growth and prospects for success is an important and exciting part of our work.