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LESSONS FROM A FOUNDER: What's Your 2019 Startup Goal?

last modified Jan 31, 2019 03:51 PM
For many of us, a new year often starts with an optimistic resolution to change – join the gym, write a book, travel perhaps. But if you’re running a startup, January is a great time to assess your company’s development and set fresh goals for the coming year. We asked four founders at ideaSpace to reflect on progress and share their area of focus for 2019.

Charlotte Guzzo is Co-Founder and COO of Heterogenous, a user-centric genetic data marketplace connecting individuals directly to researchers. Charlotte is based at ideaSpace City. 

2019 will be a year of impact for Heterogeneous. As an early stage startup, we spent the last year developing our product, a software platform that links researchers in pharma, biotech, and clinical trials to engaged patient cohorts. We also grew our user base from less than 100 individuals to over 1000 in just a few months. Growth was the biggest challenge for us this year and we learned a lot through trial and error. One strategy that really made a big impact was to do regular user testing. By observing how individuals use our platform, we were able to purposefully improve our user experience and have become better and better at testing our assumptions. It is easy to get your priorities wrong when you have worked on the same project for months - user testing brings you right back to what matters to your customers.

I would strongly recommend user testing. It can be uncomfortable to put your product to the test and to receive negative feedback but we really saw a positive impact on growth. Our main focus for the next year is to share our product with more people and to make research faster, more efficient, and more patient-centric. User testing will still be a big part of 2019 for us and we will continue seeking feedback from our customers as we develop our product and launch new features. We are looking forward to seeing the hard work we’ve done so far turn into concrete outcomes for our growing base of customers!

 

John Clarke is Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at InsurTechnix, a simple, cost-effective cyber risk management tool designed specifically for SME business users responsible for managing their organisation’s cyber risk. John is based at ideaSpace West. 

For InsurTechnix 2019 will be all about reliability. Now I'm hearing you ask “Reliability? What about scale?” 

Let me explain. InsurTechnix deploys its CyberSentinel software through a multi-stage channel. We write great white-label software, insurers apply their branding to the software and then distribute it through their brokers to their policyholders.

One insurer may have thousands of brokers and each broker has thousands of policyholders. Scale is not a problem. Scale is our immediate and inevitable consequence of adoption by an insurer.

So how do we cross the chasm between a seat-of-the-pants startup (us) and enterprises, some already hundreds of years old (our customers)? 

InsurTechnix must double down on being the sort of company that a large enterprise is comfortable doing business with. Our key promise is the innovation our technology enables.

However, that has to be reinforced by the implicit promises of on-time deliveries, speedy resolution of issues and absolutely no surprises.

We shall measure this year's success by how well we expand our reach on those markers of reliability.

 

Sadiq Jaffer is Founder of Opsian. Opsian sells next generation low overhead Production Profiling and Observability tooling to help customers improve their end-user experience, create capacity and scale whilst reducing the cost of their infrastructure. Sadiq is based at ideaSpace City. 

2018 was a productive year for us. We started onboarding users to our platform and signed up our first customers. We visited Oslo, Antwerp, Minsk and London a couple of times to deliver talks on Profiling in Production at top conferences. These proved to be quite successful and we’ll likely do a few more in 2019. On reflection there’s little we’d do differently other than potentially put even more of our time in to marketing efforts, both in terms of content and our social media presence. 

In 2019 we plan to focus on sales and marketing more systematically. We know we have a product that can give organisations significant value by addressing existing performance problems and preventing future performance regressions while maintaining rapid software delivery. What we need to work on is conveying that value through our marketing messaging. We’re also planning to be more proactive about going after potential customers who we think would see significant value from Continuous Profiling.

 

Sam G. Bose is the Founder and CEO of IntelliSense.io, an industrial AI company delivering next generation automation through their real-time decision making technology platform brains.app. Sam and his team are based at ideaSpace South.

2018 proved to be a seminal year for the business where we broke into the exciting growth phase of the company’s evolution. This growth has come from the vote of confidence we have received from our existing and new customers who have deployed our current applications and trusted us to develop new applications that solve intractable problems faced universally across the industry. This has also meant expansion of our applications portfolio and geographical expansion into South Africa and Brazil beyond our existing markets of Chile and Kazakhstan. This business growth has been driven by the three values we hold dear: Customer Success, Growth, and Innovation. We’ve built a fantastic, multi-disciplinary, international team at IntelliSense.ioacross three global offices (Barcelona, Santiago and Almaty, besides Cambridge) and have together released our latest product: Bornite¹⁹, which unlocks a world of AI driven efficiencies for the mining industry. In 2019 this release will enable our current customers to extend process optimisation across the Mining value chain and provide us with new reference sites to expand our footprint across the Mining Industry.

Our New Year’s resolution is to keep a strong focus on making our customers successful as we expect the macro business environment to experience considerable change and volatility which will have a marked impact on commodities and business confidence. In this rapidly changing world, our focus is to ensure IntelliSense.iobecomes the partner of choice for capital and asset intensive industries who want to adopt AI and digital technologies to improve efficiency and the safety of their employees.

  

The ideaSpace community is made of up founders, entrepreneurs, innovators, advisers and investors. If you are founding a startup with the potential to scale, then we would love to hear from you at info@ideaspace.cam.ac.uk.

 

 

 

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