Start-up Companies & VCs
The “Lean Start-up” philosophy is gaining deserved attention, both for start-up companies and for more mature companies launching new products. Eric Reis’ philosophy on Lean Start-ups1 is that by iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers, companies can shorten their product development cycles, reduce market risks, and sidestep the need for large amounts of initial project funding. When combined with other ideas on “customer focused” product and business development, such as Stephen Blank’s “Four Steps to the Epiphany”2 and “Business Model Generation”3, they form a powerful body of innovative thinking on how to increase the success rates in new product development and start-up companies.
This focus on customer needs has been at the heart of Qi3’s work for its clients since its foundation. We have a range of methodologies that fit closely with the “Lean Start-up” philosophy, and are focused on pulling the understanding of customer needs to the very beginning of the start-up or new product development process. The knowledge and insight gained by Qi3’s methodologies transform the success rates of our clients in a wide range of sectors.
- Concise Strategy Review
- Starting with the Customer – ‘Cash Neutral’ Market Research and Insights
- Rapid Market Prototyping
- Raising the Finance
- Driving Towards Rapid Sales Growth – An interim Marketing & Sales Team
- Preparing for Exit
Examples of our work can be found in our case studies.
“It is self-evident that the least objective assessors of a disruptive technology are the incumbent developers, immersed as they are in the practicalities of commercialisation, and we needed independent scrutiny from without. Qi3 brought us a rigorous approach and a sound model. Their questioning of our planning and market knowledge was intensive and insightful, and built both on technological understanding and significant experience. The result was a clear understanding of where our value lay, and a shared ownership of these models, as they had been built, with Qi3 guidance, within NanoSight.”
-Jeremy Warren, CEO at Nanosight
To discuss your needs, contact Robin Higgons on +44 (0)1223 422404 or email@example.com
Understanding clearly market needs, drivers and what customers want to buy is a fundamental prerequisite to commercial success. Qi3 has developed its Technology Market Evaluation (TME) methodology to address these very questions. In-depth market research on a “Virtual Product Specification”, discussions with Key Opinion Leaders, and identification of early sales prospects combined with Qi3’s knowledge bank and extensive commercial experience brings the customer into the very start of the product development cycle, giving clear market insight from which we develop proposals on key strategies for commercial success. Armed with this clarity of understanding and direction, the company can steer a focused and rapid path to commercial success.
The ‘cash neutral’ element comes from an effective strategy to exploit different funding sources for commercialisation of innovation. Innovate UK has a number of excellent part-funded schemes and Qi3 has developed a methodology for projects where the client’s contribution is funded in kind rather than in cash.
Qi3 Rapid Market Prototyping is an iterative process that addresses the complexity underlying a simple business challenge:
- Which markets should I address?
- What products will they buy?
- How do I accelerate sales growth?
Rapid Market Prototyping enables market strategies, product development programmes, ‘go-to-market’ plans, and sales growth strategies to be developed, tested, and implemented with real potential customers in very short timescales.
This revolutionary lean business methodology puts the customer at the heart of these processes, transforming their effectiveness and resulting in faster time to market, more compelling products, and higher sales growth.
While Qi3 is not a corporate finance company, we have extensive experience in both supporting our clients in raising investment and as an angel investor ourselves. For many clients we have undertaken the key market research that has underpinned their investment memorandum. The clarity of understanding of the market opportunities and the client’s value proposition has been a fundamental element in successful fund raising.
Qi3 Accelerator also leads an informal grouping of business angels and venture capital funds that collaborate on technology investment opportunities. Our unique ability to understand the investee and investor perspectives enables us to give effective advice on how to position a company to be attractive to investors.
Qi3 believes that the acid test of successful marketing is rapid sales growth. We work closely with many of our clients in their early life as their interim, part-time Sales and Marketing team. We drive the commercial elements of the business plan, product development, product launch and early sales activities. We measure our success by how quickly our clients can replace us with a full-time team.
Preparing for Exit
Again, while not in corporate finance, Qi3 has helped many companies prepare themselves commercially for exit, so that the corporate financiers can do their job successfully. We have developed a robust methodology of market segmentation and sizing that has passed the scrutiny of many due diligence exercises. We have assessed potential ‘acquirer’ targets, understood their acquisition strategies, and developed business strategies for our clients to make them highly attractive to these targets. And we have mapped valuations (revenue and EBIT) to set appropriate expectations and maximise outcomes.