Recently we’ve shared our experience with working with startup companies in an article. You can read it on dt.lodzkie.pl, a portal focused on design thinking method. Below, we give you an English version of that article:
There are many definitions of a startup. Generally speaking, it is a company in its initial stage of growth. According to an expert in this field, Steve Blank, it is simply a temporary organization, which is searching for a target profitable business model. However, many people define it narrowly – as an innovative, debutant firm connected to the new technology industry.
Startup companies introduce creative products to the market, they takeup niches and seek out surprising segments of customers. In the public perception, they function as solution providers, but they are customers themselves – a very particular type of customers. Krzysztof Wyrzykowski, the founder of the Lodz’s software house PrimeModule, which operates in the field of new technology, told us about working with innovative projects and people, who create them.
Our portfolio contains projects of functioning and momentumgaining companies, such as TomTom or Tourmedica. However, most of our clients are pure startups. As a company, we share our beginnings with our, now regular, customer, with whom we have quickly established a technological partnership. It is a highlyspecialized company from San Francisco that provides analytical tools used in the Internet marketing. So far, we have had the pleasure of working with foreign startups only. Still, we have been paying close attention to Polish ones as well, i.e. due to our sponsorship involvement in the “Młodzi w Łodzi” competition (more about it in this post). As part of it, we have established cooperation with two promising initiatives.
What makes the diference between working with wellestablished companies and those, which are just now starting with new ideas, is first of all a sort of comprehensiveness of action and the need to become a mentor. The people behind startup companies are often experts in a narrow field, on which they base their proposition for a new quality on the market. They come to us with a remarkable diamond, which needs its final cutting, for example by providing them with a tailormade technological solution. This type of a customer often knows what his aim is, but is seldom aware of a knowhow. He works out his business from scratch. This is why we start the partnership with such a customer by asking proper questions and specifying his vision. Startup people have open minds and are willing to accept suggestions. Such a twoway engagement evokes motivation, while during the creative process we vastly identify with those projects. Working with startup projects is a reat pleasure, because there are amazing stories behind them, and their creators are remarkably inspiring persons. Is there any advice that could be given by a company that observed the start of a few others? Above all, seek out the help of specialists.
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Unfortunately, unlike in the Western Europe and the United States, the Venture Capital sector in Poland is still in its development stage, and local starting entrepreneurs are looking for cost reduction on each and every step. They often look for them in worthless places; for example, they commission their more or less professional friends to do some jobs on the side, instead of dealing with specialists precisely chosen for such a task; they also underestimate the importance of marketing. Their customers, however, need to see quality, and reaching them through the swarm of competition may prove dif icult. Moreover, I advise creating prototypes; conducting tests with the target customer on each stage; developing the product using the MVP strategy (starting from its minimal version). This is what we do in PrimeModule – we pay close attention to the initial phase of designing. We also eagerly use creativityinducing techniques, such as design thinking, brainstorming or branded interactions. We encourage everyone who wants to be innovative to use those techniques as well.