Time to market" is a strategic issue for companies. Successfully launching a product or service could be summed up by the adage "There's no point in running, you have to start on time." Finding the right timing is indeed a real challenge for startups. But not all are in the same boat. Startups from startup studios are said to get to Series A twice as fast as traditional startups. We asked Patrick Amiel, co-founder of the Paris-based corporate startup studio 321founded, to talk about the notion of Time to Market. After having defined this Anglo-Saxon expression, we analyze in this article the reasons why startups from startup studios are able to obtain a reduced time to market compared to traditional startups. How do startup studios manage to compress time and thus reduce time to market? Answer here.
What does the term time to market mean?
Time to market is a marketing expression that has a double meaning. The expression time to market can correspond to the duration of development and construction of a commercial offer or a product. Time to market refers to the time needed to develop an offer or a service before offering it to the market. The shorter this time, the more agile a company is said to be. Reducing this time to a minimum allows you to stay ahead of your competitors and increase your profitability.
The term time to market also refers to the precise moment of product launch; in other words, the relevance of the moment when the company takes a position in a market. The term time to market is considered here as a moment. It underlines the importance of arriving at the right time in a new market or launching an innovative product or service in an already mature market at the right time.
The choice of the time to market is essential to avoid any commercial failure. It is a matter of taking a position on a market at the most relevant moment, by examining the maturity of the demand, the level of innovation of the product and the possible competition. " Being time to market means launching at the right time," comments Patrick Amiel. "A player who arrives too early, when demand is not yet ready, may fail where a competitor, who arrives a little later, will succeed."
There's no point in running, so you have to start on time. Finding the right timing is a real challenge for startups. The objective is to have the shortest possible time to market to be among the first on a market while guaranteeing the quality of the product or service offered. Depending on the field of activity, time to market can be counted in years, months or weeks.
Entering a market too early before the demand is "ripe" may result in a commercial failure that is costly in terms of financial resources and may not allow the project to survive. It is then usually difficult to move on when the market becomes viable. Entering too late means that market shares are taken and sometimes protected by barriers to entry on the supply side or barriers to exit on the demand side.
Accelerating your time to market is quite an art. You have to try to reduce the time to market without altering the quality of the product or the relevance of the service. Finding this balance is not easy and requires a careful study of your strategy beforehand. For Matthew Burris, Innovation Manager at NCR Corporation, studio startups have the power to provide startups with the ideal time to market. For him, " startup studios have the merit of addressing the shortcomings of gas pedals, incubators, and venture capital by creating a structure whose sole purpose is to build successful companies from the ground up."
The way a startup studio operates involves greater operational complexity than a gas pedal, incubator, or venture capital fund, but results "speak for themselves. For Matthew Burris, the challenge is great. "Startups from studio startups take half the time it takes traditional startups to get to Series A and have significantly higher success rates."
To go further, we asked Patrick Amiel, who runs the Parisian corporate startup studio 321founded, to talk about the reasons for this success. What makes 321founded startups "go faster "? How can we explain that companies created within startup studios have a shorter time to market? What are the ingredients that allow such a reduction of time to market?
The venture design and venture building phases allow to develop the first version of the product very quickly. "At 321founded, we have an extremely experienced team on these subjects. Things go very fast. In two months maximum, we are able to launch the product to test it" relates Patrick Amiel. " We learn by walking " he smiles, underlining that if the V1 of the solution is not optimal, it has the merit to be launched.
The second ingredient is the agile and flexible management style that allows the teams to be operational very quickly. "As soon as the product is launched, we know exactly how we are going to sell it or what marketing strategy we are going to deploy. Everything has been thought out beforehand. The goal is to quickly get the first feedback from the field so that we can quickly adjust our approach," explains Patrick Amiel. Startup studios don't work sequentially. The steps are not dependent on each other. A task can start even if the previous one is not fully completed and validated. This approach, which works in short cycles with intermediate deliveries, makes it possible to adapt to change and adjust.
It is during the venture design phase, which lasts two to three months, that all the questions are asked. At the time of the creation of the company, the market opportunity (the business idea) and the marketing issues (go to market) have been studied. The go to market consists in checking point by point the parameters that allow the product or service to be successfully launched on the market. "Developing the strategy to impose and differentiate in the market is a key step in this first phase. In addition to validating that there is a market opportunity, you have to ask yourself the question: How do you take the market in concrete terms? With which strategic partners? Which team? " explains Juliette Morel, chief of venture design at 321founded.
The 3rd ingredient that allows us to have the right time to market is the way 321founded identifies and seeks out the CEOs who are placed at the head of the companies that the studio has created in collaboration with corporates. "These are entrepreneurs who run our companies; they all have serious entrepreneurial experience and will look for all the shortcuts possible. Combined with the firepower of the large groups we work with, it's the perfect equation to move forward quickly and well. " In more than 25 years of presence in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Patrick Amiel has indeed built a solid network. He knows the problems faced by business leaders and understands their feelings: " If an entrepreneur has suffered a failure in the past, he will want to start again but with better support. If he has been successful, he will be excited at the idea of starting again with a new team and motivated by the idea of making a difference with a daring project.
On one of his Linkedin posts analyzing the strengths of startup studios, Matthew Burris, Innovation Manager at NCR Corporation, sums up this idea in a few points:
-"Startup studios give the brightest and most creative people the ability and support to start a business."
-"Startup studios bring talented entrepreneurs and passionate corporates to the same table, resulting in successful businesses."
- "With startup studios, entrepreneurs can focus on the operational without having to worry about the distractions that arise at an early stage, including fundraising."
- "Entrepreneurs who take the lead in studio-created startups can tackle the world's toughest problems in a structured, less risky way."
To finish, Patrick Amiel underlines the importance of the network. To find the idea with high potential and to transform it quickly into a real business, 321founded applies a methodology in three phases during which the network plays, each time, a fundamental role.
To illustrate this idea, Patrick Amiel evokes the recent collaboration with PMU and the launch of a Web3 startup. "From the very beginning of our collaboration with PMU, we went to the Web3 experts in our network to get their feedback on our business idea. Gathering feedback from these people, who have an excellent knowledge of the market, saved us precious time. This method appeals to large groups, who see it as an opportunity to move forward quickly in a new field, while freeing themselves from the constraints of their structure. " This method of operation meets the speed requirements of large groups that need to be able to quickly test and implement the project," adds Patrick Amiel.
The network also plays its role as a gas pedal when partnerships are set up. " The experts that we solicit have themselves a solid network and do not hesitate to mobilize it, which multiplies the synergies and opens many doors" continues Patrick Amiel. Very quickly, 321founded teams are able to identify the right levers and activate them. When the relevance of a deal with such or such actor is validated, the connection is made very quickly. "We are extremely connected to the ecosystem, which means we have no problem connecting with this or that person in France or Europe. This saves invaluable time and considerably reduces the time to market of the companies we create," concludes the founder of the Parisian startup studio.
Reducing the time of introduction and discussion when signing strategic partnerships is indeed an important asset when a startup needs to accelerate its development to succeed in its time to market. In other words, thanks to its network, 321founded manages to compress time everywhere and especially where an entrepreneur alone could not do it.