Exploring Corporate Innovation Models
Did you know that 90% of startups fail?
Not that we didn’t trust the viability of our product. More that 2020 ushered in a slew of political, economic, and social challenges that made introducing an entirely new product to the market rather daunting…but here we are.
In any case, April 2nd marked our first anniversary. Though we’re not here to rest on our laurels. We’re here to share what we’ve learned about building a B2B SaaS product – as well as all we learned about scaling a startup in uncertain times. We also want to share our roadmap for 2023 because we’ve got some exciting new developments on the horizon (and this way, you can hold us accountable).
But first, our product has changed a lot in the past two years. What started as an “innovation matchmaker” has evolved into the “world’s largest use case database” and one of the most intelligent startup scouting and market analysis tools for corporate innovation models out there.
So here’s our journey in a nutshell.
Our Mission | What is corporate innovation?
Entrapeer began with the mission of making corporate innovation models more accessible, actionable, and attainable. So what is corporate innovation, and what does that mean?
Well, we recognized that all too often, enterprises got excited about an emergent tech or new trend, but couldn’t find data to justify the risk of investing in unproven technologies. They heard whispers of a startup’s success in the metaverse or an enterprise’s foray into DeFi, but rarely could these rumors be substantiated. In other words, it was nigh impossible to find the tangible results of these partnerships.
Meanwhile, there were lots of startups that had proven their solutions worked. But their case studies were taken with a grain of salt, and specific partnership or project details often couldn’t be shared due to NDAs. So startups would have to sit and wait while enterprises conducted their due diligence over months or even years – time that scrappy startups often couldn’t afford to waste.
We set out to create an innovation enablement platform for corporate innovation models with all the sophistication of McKinsey or Gartner yet greater accessibility (both in terms of price and ease of use) than anything on the market.
We believed that by illustrating a given technology’s use cases, we could make that data actionable – meaning enterprises could easily understand how the tech applies to their own business and execute proof-of-concept (POC) projects of their own.
Finally, we designed our platform to promote synergy between startups and enterprises and thereby make partnerships and pilot projects more seamless and innovation truly attainable.
Thus the idea of entrapeer was born.
Our Corporate Innovation Journey
We began with the simple concept of creating an innovation “matchmaking platform,” where startups could share data about their success stories, and enterprises could browse solutions to their pressing innovation challenges.
Meanwhile, we would draw on our collective decades of corporate innovation experience to act as an objective third party, verify startups’ claims, and validate project results.
We did this by creating reports we called “evidence.” Basically, these were case studies on steroids: startup-enterprise POC projects as reported by an objective third party, with verified project results and other key data points.
There was just one problem.
Chief innovation officers don’t want to read pages of dense text to grasp the potential of emergent technology. So we pivoted to focus on use cases: bite-sized summaries of the existing problem and the technological solution a given startup offered.
We began building the world’s largest use case database, leveraging AI as well as human expertise to comb thousands of websites and hundreds of news sources to extract use cases for leading-edge technologies – from the metaverse to web3, solid-state batteries to autonomous driving.
Within a month, we could present our customers with clear applications for the technological solutions that interested them most, as well as the startup partners able to provide such solutions. Still, our use case shift brought yet another challenge to light.
Even with verified, digestible data, it’s difficult to extrapolate and envision potential business opportunities for novel technologies based on the existing market. It requires months of benchmarking and competitor analysis for an enterprise to determine how it can develop a unique product or position itself to outwit the competition.
Now we’ve shifted focus once again – or rather narrowed our focus – to enhance our AI tools so we can provide enterprises with instantaneous, real-time market insights on pretty much any tech they can imagine. Piece of cake, right?
Well, it won’t be easy, but based on our learnings from the past year, we feel 110% confident we can pull it off. So without further ado, here are some of the most valuable insights from our experience scaling a B2B SaaS startup and navigating times of crisis.
Lessons Learned from Our First Year
1. People don’t read.
In an age of 15-second Tik Toks and 15-minute meetings, you can hardly blame them. Our attention spans are shrinking.
According to Dr. Gloria Mark, average attention when on a single screen used to be 2½ minutes in 2004. Today, people can only spend about 47 seconds on a single screen before they lose interest.
Yet corporate innovation requires extensive research and poring over dense texts. It requires a deep understanding of emergent technologies, market movements, and past POC projects. So now that we answered the question “What is corporate innovation,” the next question becomes, “How do we make this complex data more digestible?”
Visualizing data with clear charts, infographics, and diagrams helps make the information easier to scan and interpret quickly. Wherever possible, we plan to provide interactive tools that allow customers to get an even deeper understanding of real-time market insights so they can make informed decisions based on their findings and pursue only the most promising use cases.
2. Listen to your customers.
The service we provide today looks different than when we first started. And that’s ok.
We listened to our customer feedback, and as a result, we were able to finetune our vision to deliver a product that met needs our customers didn’t even know they had. Keeping close contact with your user base – via beta testers or regular surveys – means you can gain insight into what people really need from your service. It also helps you maintain a competitive edge.
However, if you react to every bit of criticism, you’ll wind up with a Frankenstein SaaS platform that accounts for everyone but appeases no one.
Stay true to your mission. As you incorporate constructive feedback, regularly check in with your team to ensure you aren’t veering too far off course. With technology evolving faster than ever, embracing change is essential if you want to remain relevant. The key is to maintain a flexible, agile approach yet still stay true to your goals.
3. Put people first.
Earlier this year, a devastating earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, and many of the entrapeer team were personally affected. You cannot know the paralyzing dread that grips you when you’re 7000 miles from home and uncertain as to whether your friends and family are safe – unless you’ve lived through it.
As passionate and dedicated as we all are, it was impossible to think straight, let alone hold meetings or publish blithe social media posts. Additionally, many of the team members wanted to travel to the affected area and offer their aid, which would effectively mean halting our customer research.
We decided to put our people first.
We wrote all of our clients to explain how the disaster disrupted our operations and why we were taking this time to take care of our team. We also used our platform to call on our community for support. We named trustworthy nonprofits that would make an impact with any contribution and suggested e-commerce platforms where people could donate specific items. We called on the humanity of our professional networks – and were met with overwhelming generosity.
When you’re looking at data and invoices and code all day, it’s easy to forget that business ultimately comes down to people. Our platform wouldn’t be what it is today without the passionate, high-performing individuals behind entrapeer. But sometimes life demands that you prioritize the mental, emotional, and physical health of your people over client deliverables.
Thank you all for your understanding and support through this difficult time.
Entrapeer’s New Features for 2023
Thanks to the sea-change inspired by generative AI tools like ChatGPT, the seemingly impossible has been made possible.
After training our AI with our use case data collection protocol, we were able to double the number of use cases on the entrapeer platform in 1 week. We anticipate these tools will continue to refine our data so that your search results are more instantaneous, insightful, and personalized than ever.
Here’s what you can look forward to in 2023:
Market Research in Minutes
With the help of advanced AI models, we’re empowering users with the ability to generate comprehensive market research reports based on real-time data in minutes. These reports will contain a complete brief on the featured tech, important developments, market movements, competitor analysis, news analysis, and all startups working on this technology, along with each startup’s specific use cases.
Keyword search has its limitations. Before, typing “web3” versus “web 3.0” might yield very different results, but no longer.
Semantic search will base results on the concept and context of your query, meaning that you’ll receive results that are tailored to your search intent. It’s like asking a 5-star hotel concierge for the best Italian restaurant in town versus searching “best Italian restaurant” on Google 10 years ago (and being at the mercy of whichever restauranteur figured out SEO ahead of the curve).
Furthermore, these advanced search results will be paired with conceptual visualizations like charts and infographics based on real-time search results from vetted sources.
Seems like new startups sprout up every day. If a startup’s use cases aren’t already on our platform, users will be able to submit a query. Then entrapeer’s proprietary AI will scan websites and news sources to extract all use cases in minutes. This same enhanced AI model will allow us to add use cases at a much faster rate, so you can expect to see a rapid expansion of our database in the next couple of months.
Celebrate & Save with 25% Off!
We’ve walked a long road to get where we are today, and we couldn’t have done it without your support. So, in celebration of our anniversary, and, we want to offer you a token of our gratitude.
Book a sales call in April, and you’ll receive 25% off your first month’s subscription!
Click here to learn more.