Market Validation in Manufacturing Often Requires Access to the Inaccessible

What does the movie Robots have in common with positivity author and guru Norman Vincent Peale? An understanding of the importance of identifying need.

  • “See a need, fill a need.” - Bigweld in Robots (2005)

  • “Find a need and fill it.” The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale

Identifying need is central to any successful new venture and at the core of any structured entrepreneurial training. Techstars’ StartupWeekend events are hosted in 1,300 cities worldwide and guide attendees through:

  • Ideation

  • Market Validation (including need)

  • Business Model / Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Market validation is the process of presenting a product concept to a potential user to determine whether the idea is worth pursuing. In other words, is there sufficient need to build a specific solution? If this process is done during the conception or ideation stage of the business, the cost of developing the wrong product can be avoided. This process works. For example, there’s’s unicorn story. (You can read about here.)

But what happens when market validation is inaccessible?

Many industries are opaque to outsiders. Their subject matter experts are inundated with startup requests; and these insiders do not have the time (nor often the interest) to speak with the vast majority of startups. One cybersecurity expert described the problem: “Ten years ago there were ~500 startups in cybersecurity. These days the number is closer to 5,000 and they all want access to the same people.”

Traditional industry trend sources, such as top conferences or analyst reports, are too expensive for raw startups. Inventive entrepreneurs often beg/borrow/steal their way to that data but then lack ongoing access and/or the ability to drill into critical details. Additionally, analyst reports are based on established market trend data – typically too late in the adoption cycle for most seed stage entrepreneurs. Startup founders are looking for gaps, challenges, and implementation specifics from subject matter experts on today’s issues, not yesterday’s.

If it were possible to democratize access to this type of insider information, the number of innovative solutions in the market would grow.

This is why I am so excited about the speaker series kicking off on Monday, July 27th. In partnership with Stanley Black & Decker, I will be moderating a series of monthly panels with the manufacturing industry’s global leaders. They will be speaking directly to the startup community about existing gaps, challenges, and opportunities. The format will include the ability to ask questions both during the event and a week later in a Tweet Chat.

Information on how to register here.

An interview with Stanley Black & Decker's CTO Mark Maybury and Global Vice President Sudhi Bangalore about the series can be found here.

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