Our previous visit in Gdańsk, during which we ran a workshop for startups as part of the second edition of Poland Prize proved to be fruitful enough for us to receive further invitation from yet another Olivia Business Centre resident – the O4 coworking space. The event was a part of the Space3ac Scale Up II acceleration program organized by Blue Dot Solutions in partnership with the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. We have to admit, things got really interesting! Here’s the breakdown of what went down at the startup speed dating meet.
The Tricity project aims to select startups capable of delivering innovative solutions addressing the needs of major companies. The role of the accelerator is to support young businesses through financial subsidies and mentoring by industry practitioners, which in turn is arranged by the O4 coworking space.
We arrived to Gdańsk at O4’s invitation to take part in a novel startup speed dating session and talk to a slew of companies about their options for growth.
From our perspective, the event was a success. The conversations we had have helped us enrich our knowledge and expand our network of contacts. Many of the participants have signalled their willingness to pick up where we left after the event’s over in order to discuss the details of cooperation.
Profile of the participants
Speaking of the participants, there were many mature projects among them, ones with revenues along the lines of 1-2 mln a year, possessing very interesting and in-depth business cases.
What these companies need and what we can provide is a way to scale their operations. Easily repeatable processes and expanding their reach (for instance, a new distribution channel) in the domestic and foreign markets are the next steps in their development.
Issues at hand
A recurring issue among the startups present at the event was not seeing the bigger picture.
The companies we’ve talked to, when thinking about foreign expansion were too much influenced by the Polish market. In their view, a single implementation with a major partner that went well will be easy to scale up after running a series of tests.
Upon seeing this, Sebastian was trying to explain to these startups two things. First, too much focus on the local market can lead to stagnation and losing the first to market advantage. In the meantime, another solution may pop up, not necessarily a more perfected one, but with a broader reach, which will push its competition out of the market, thus becoming somewhat of a standard.
The second issue was the mode of thinking about business and work culture, which differ between markets in various countries.
For instance, tickets for public transport in Poland are checked inside the train or bus, while in England, upon entering the station or the vehicle. The same issue is being solved in two different ways, the approaches vary.
The key issue is pinpointing the most scalable and repeatable business case. It’s crucial to expand into a bigger market or differentiate several smaller ones at the right moment. This allows you to see your own solution from a new perspective and adjust the offer in a way, in which it will lead to maximizing the number of clients.
Summary of the startup speed dating
It was clearly noticeable that the startups present knew well what they’re there for. They had specific business and development goals and precise expectations. Many of the companies displayed significant knowledge of the local and global market, however, they didn’t quite know how to put all the pieces together.
Here’s where our actual mission begins…