Blog

Our Insights is where we share our latest thinking through blog posts, interviews with members of the entrepreneurial community, and external publications.

How early is too early: knowing when to engage your customer

“But we need to develop 3 phases of prototypes, go through accelerated life testing, and get 10 patents granted”. Or so go the usual protestations against early market engagement. The value of bringing partners and customers into the conversation at an early stage is often trumped by fear. “They’ll steal my technology”. “It isn’t advanced enough”. “They won’t understand it”. There is only one thing that you need in order to commercially engage with companies; a proposition. Something to spark their interest. Let’s say you live in a very rainy country and I’ve invented the umbrella (which for some reason,…

Life is beautiful: in memory of JP

JP had all of the energy and passion of the entrepreneur. He was also a lovely man. Full of good cheer and resilient enthusiasm. Being an entrepreneur and trying  to grow a business is a fight.  There is fun in it but at times the going is hard and the struggle all consuming. JP was up for it all and I admired him for that. In his passing there is reflection. It makes me think how much is sacrificed in the building of a business. Without that struggle it would be hardly worth the effort. It is the struggle that…

Start Small

A CEO we are working with asked me today about how large a deal she should look to do with an agricultural foundation that could become a big partner. As her company’s technology solves a major problem for them, she was aware that there was the potential to do a big initial deal but her instinct was to start small.   I think she was very right.  We had a situation with another company for which we had opened a discussion with one of the largest surface materials companies in the world. We started by talking to one division, but…

Creating International Currencies

Currencies enable commerce, acting as a recognised standard unit of exchange; they are closely associated with nation states – usually being either created or controlled by governments, within their (geographic) spheres of economic and legal influence.  What is interesting about the early cryptocurrencies is they have been able to address very large communities –  crossing many national boundaries in the process – and although we have seen certain countries seeking to dissuade the use of cryptocurrencies (for example China and Korea) – the growth of the populations ‘using’ (in the widest possible sense of the word) continues.  In this respect…

Closing

Closing any deal is an event created by a process. The event itself involves getting the deal over the completion line. It is no more than the summation of a process that starts once a degree of mutual trust and interest have been established. Opening is a fluid mix of sparking interest (i.e. potential but still unsubstantiated fit and benefit) and relationship building. Relationships matter as they create access and provide the agency that gets things done and the medium through which information and insight is channelled and processed. Importantly, they also allow us to understand first hand what is…

A conversation with Ffion Rolph, Rapid Innovation Group Project Director

RIG’s summer intern, Nadya Kelly, sat down for lunch with Ffion Rolph, RIG’s project director. Over some pizza and coffee, they discussed Ffion’s time at RIG, technology interests, and gender issues. NK: How did you end up working for RIG? FR: Honestly, I came out of university, and like most people, didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had a couple of ideas. I’ve always been into politics - I studied it at university and had been working at the Welsh Assembly for a while before I came across RIG. A friend knew someone who worked here. I…

The draw of a silly assumption

On paper it might make sense: hire a commercially minded executive who has ridden the tiger at a fabulously successful growth company, who has been there and done that, and low and behold the same result will transpire. Unfortunately, this will rarely happen in practice (at least not in the formative stages - see below) yet it is an assumption that in the sweaty heat of entrepreneurial aspiration is alluring.  It follows a predictable path in how we seem to process success and failure. If a project or indeed a company is hugely successful it is all down to us;…

First impressions of life at RIG

It’s the end of week two working here for me at RIG (well, it was at the time of writing) and it’s time for me to give a little bit of detail to what I’ve been up to, what I’ve learnt, and first impressions of the company. It’s started as a little bit of acronym bombardment, full of TAMs, IPPs, OEMs and IPOs and a healthy dosage of blockchain chat from David. Slowly, I feel like I’m getting accustomed to how things work in the office, small company culture and RIG’s careful line between scrupulous professionalism and the informality fostered…

Thoughts on Crypto Assets, Initial Coin Offerings, and the Utility Value of Blockchain Technology

Thoughts on Crypto assets, Initial Coin Offerings, and the Utility Value of Blockchain Technology New to Bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies? Read this primer A new asset class I am a believer, or maybe I just want to believe. Is this Amsterdam in the 17th century? My view is: no; a new asset class is emerging, and we are about 45 seconds into the evolution of the species. I have read yet another sceptical article on Seekingalpha this morning, specifically focussed on the Bitcoin (BTC)/Bitcoin Cash (BCH) split.  The author’s supposition is that there is evidence of a bubble in Bitcoin…

The economic challenge that must be incorporated into design

Recently I have been working in the renewable energy field and two pieces of insight highlighted two key mistakes that innovators, but particularly engineering and science based start-ups, are prone to making. Mistake 1: talking to the market after key design elements have already been locked down. Mistake 2: failing to consider the economic envelope in which their innovation needs to perform. Payback hurdle The first insight we received from several market participants, in multiple geographies, was that the product in question would need to payback in under 7 years. The reason for this was that each of them had…