The market innovation circuit: emerging tech and agrifood startups

Once you know where to arrive: transforming your innovation into business, it is useful to know the circuit and its traps. Let’s already remember that a technology startup has for objective of developing a profitable business in the long term. Its economic model is not that of a Rockstart startup service laboratory, even if it may occasionally benefit from financial aid. The work on the innovative offer must therefore aim for the ultimate result: concrete business.

The market innovation circuit

How to succeed in the “double transformation” of its innovation into a truly finalized and salable customer solution and of its innovation in concrete business? It is rare that the startup manager has traveled the entire circuit of the innovative and / or research project and development to the finalized customer solution and to the business, especially if he has a technical or scientific background. 

It has in this case often worked in a team (technical, health, agrifood or other), but rarely in all areas concerned. This is the reason why it is important for the entrepreneur to guide himself along this circuit, because he has limited knowledge of the circuit and even more of the icy patches (risks) on this circuit.

Young technology startups will often focus on upstream innovation and emerging tech startups and Rockstart work (development of multiple versions of concepts, specifications, demonstrators and prototypes) and then directly on downstream marketing. We often see that the market and potential customer confrontation comes too late, in the very advanced prototyping phase or even after launch in some cases! 

Intermediate stages between and implementation of agrifood startups on the market to build a truly complete, and Rockstart makes it salable and profitable offer and to prepare a launch and an effective initial adoption is overlooked for lack of experience.

Some classic examples:

· The initiation of unnecessary developments or the forgetting of essential developments due to lack of knowledge of the real problems and needs of customers.

· Development carried out entirely in-house without having studied costs or profitability or on the contrary with a poorly locked subcontracting for the heart of the innovative offer or a critical part which weakens the startup or makes it too dependent on a partner

· The launch of a “end of solution” presented as a complete customer solution, of an unstable product as a finalized solution, of a new and interesting product without more (not differentiating enough compared to the existing and to the competition) or a product at the wrong time: too early or too late compared to the maturity of the market.

· The attack on relatively closed markets without having chosen the “right horse” and in particular the partner already introduced which will allow you to access the market more easily and quickly.

· Opportunistic sales “to those we already know” without prioritizing customer targets, sales channels and of marketing tactics, which must be very different depending on the targets and market maturity.

Startups sometimes tell me: “we launch what we have developed and we will adjust afterwards with feedback from the first clients “. For products with cycles of more than one year, this means that we take the risk of investing a year in development resources without market validation. It’s an unnecessary risk! 

For certain types of products with short development cycles, from a few days to a few months, and with limited investments, this does indeed seem tempting. But the impact will necessarily be negative, with for example:

  • In terms of human and financial resources: a demotivation of the teams that have sometimes worked for nothing or next to the customer need and who will have to redo or do for yesterday what was forgotten. And then investments (time / cost development team) put in the wrong place and unnecessary and additional costs to catch up.
  • At the market and customer level: an incomplete or unstable product, an opportunistic commercial approach without targeting is very clearly felt by the market and limits your professional credibility. The market innovation circuit has multiple stages and uses specific product management, marketing and business development tools.