One year ago I decided to start a new adventure together with Daniel and Luis, and so SC Robotics was born. Founding a company for the first time is not easy at all. Having three engineers with a highly technical background as co-founders makes it more difficult. And if that were not enough, COVID-19 pandemic has made the journey even more challenging, to say the least.
It's been a year full of learned lessons and new experiences. Keep reading because I'd like to share a few of them with you.
Lesson 1: Customer relationships
I've never had to visit clients and offer them my services before. In my previous jobs I would usually show up in a later phase, after the project development started. This has been (and still is) the most difficult task we had to learn. As engineers we tend to give more importance to how to resolve problems than to which problems to resolve, however, our customers give more importance to the latter.
During the next year I'd like to establish deeper relationships with our clients so we can openly talk about the problems they are facing and how can we help them to solve them. For a company like ours, which works on many different vertical markets, finding the right problems to tackle is not an easy task. Should we find partners that can guide us every time we enter a new industry?
Lesson 2: Value proposition
Our initial idea was to offer consultancy services on drones and embedded devices in general while also keeping an eye open on developing a line of products. Looking back at this idea, the core of our business model was too broad. Probably the worst consequence of this lack of focus was that it was not easy to explain what we did and give real world examples when selling. Companies we talked to would hardly remember what SC Robotics did.
One year later we are pivoting towards becoming an OEM hardware vendor which has a series of well defined products that can be offered to potential customers and adapted to their needs. Currently we are mostly focusing on two lines of products: monitoring devices based on Cellular LPWAN (a.k.a. NB-IoT, LTE-M...) and touchless interaction technologies. We are not there yet, but at least this has made identifying potential customers easier than before.
We are small and the three of us are the only sales force we can can rely on, so finding a niche market is key if we want to be efficient. Next year we will continue to refine our offer, add new products or modify the existing ones according to what the market asks for.
Lesson 3. Key partners
Many of our projects consist in developing connected devices for monitoring our customers' resources. This usually means the end-user will not be buying the devices themselves but access to the data they generate. In consequence, either we partner with data platform developers or we rethink who we try to sell to. Neither is an easy task!
The good news are that data platform developers are usually looking for companies like ours that can study each scenario and build custom hardware that meets customers' needs. If you are one of these companies feel free drop me a message. I'm sure we can find a way to collaborate!
The first year of life of SC Robotics has been quite challenging, but as soon as I decided to start this journey I knew I would have to learn a lot of new lessons. On the bright side, one of the key advantage of being a small company is that we can move fast and if everyone is open-minded enough, we can try, fail and adapt quickly to end up becoming profitable.
Our journey has just started, let's see what next year brings us!