Progress on multiple fronts

We have been focusing on product design and specification, team structure, and financial planning.

Since the previous newsletter, we have iterated the visualizations and new versions have emerged. Gradually, but surely the user interface begins to take shape. It’s much easier to create functional visualizations and menu structures once the main screen is drawn. There are numerous drawings because each functionality should have its own visualization.

The idea is to build a model based on the visualizations, that describes how the whole application works. Connecting these screens forms a prototype that can be used as a demonstration. The better and complete the demonstration is, the easier it is for outsiders to catch onto what it is about.

Planning of functionalities should be prioritized and taken to a more precise and detailed level. Every functionality should be connected to the customer value. This will ensure that we don’t create or bring functionalities that will not add value but increase costs.

Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.

Guy Kawasaki, AllTop Co-founder

Although there is no exact match in the market to what we’re creating, it’s still possible to compare single functionality against the corresponding one already out there. Forming a function-specific KPI that will measure how well it delivers value to the customer would be a great asset.

I could use a metaphor and compare this to building an engine. Every single part of the engine must be better than the one out on the market to make the engine superior in every way. Thus we will disassemble our engine once again and grind each part to its peak.

In the context of user interface design, I have been considering how we could bring visualization of the purchase workflow into it. In the latest UI draft, it is now highlighted. The main visual highlights specifically the workflow and the ultimate search functionality is taken into the background.

As much as I would like to show you our current visual, I am not ready to put that out in the public yet. It’s amazing! Something you have not seen yet!

The power of visual is, that it’s possible actually to imagine new functionalities and ways it delivers value. There are new benefits identified already, only by combining substance knowledge, imagination, and the visual. It’s truly a mind-blowingly strong combination.

Team structure

At the NewCo business accelerator, we have gone through two new modules. As I mentioned last, team building and implementing the team are the most important part of startup evaluation and assessment. Failory released a report in March, where they evaluated startup failures based on 80+ failed startup interviews. The picture below shows how reasons are divided.

Common Reasons For Startup Failure

The top 3 failures are lack of product-market fit, marketing problems, and team problems. The same study mentions that typically startup founders should spend 2-3 times more time validating the market than is initially expected.

An entrepreneur is always in a hurry to bring their product to market, short-cutting in the product-market fit process. We still need to verify, and after verifying really make sure and be confident, that the product fits the market, delivers value, and will exceed customer expectations.

One challenge we are facing is the lack of a ‘hands-on’ future CTO. We have heard from several sources, that a strongly technology-focused startup should have an inhouse CTO that could act as a software architect or even code the MVP version. This deficiency has been identified, perceived, and internalized. Measures have been taken.

However, adding a new member to the team is not exactly a walk-in-the-park. The role is critical. The person should have the perfect set of skills to fill in the blanks on our current skill set. But that’s not all, the person should also be a perfect fit to the existing team. When going gets tough, we need to be 100% sure, that everyone is up for their tasks. Attitude is everything.

The compensation model must also be carefully considered. We can’t endanger the company’s cash flow and burden it too much as the product is not out in the market yet. The question is: how do you find the ultimate procurement tech game-changer and how do you get him/her hooked into our journey with what we have to offer?

A lot has been planned, the idea has been worked out and taken forward.

But there is still a whole lot of work to be done. I have clearly underestimated the amount of planning and design required for the project. But it’s such a great benefit to have people around to give advice and tips along the way. We will avoid the biggest pitfalls with the help of the network.

The Finnish startup ecosystem is just amazing! It consists of other entrepreneurs facing similar challenges, former entrepreneurs, angel investors, public startup accelerators, coaches, public fundings such as business Finland, etc. I am sure this ecosystem will rise to an even bigger role in the future. The ecosystem plays a major role while creating new startups, jobs, great exits, and future angel investors.

What a week this has been. But I’m happy, I’m confident and can’t wait for next Monday!

Have a splendid weekend you all! Thanks for being with us on the journey!

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