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This month at CES, we hosted a panel of industry players to discuss product-based startups oftentimes tumultuous path to market. The panel included:

The conversation was very insightful for how a product-based company like Revolar was able to navigate all the steps to market represented by the other panelists. Some of the insights included:

Creating a Product is the Easy Part

Most product-based startups are product-obsessed…as they should be. However, many times this gets ahead of the the question, “Will anyone purchase this once I build it?” Then if someone is willing to purchase it, “Will I actually be able to manufacture it, finance it, and provide customer service for it?” Considering these questions earlier in the process ensures time and money are not wasted on product development.

Buyers Treat Their Positions Like Small Businesses

When approaching a buyer about your product, it’s best to remember that they treat their product line like a small business. You must make a business case for why they would take your product over the other hundreds of products the should consider. Be ready for this and provide proposals for win-win situations.  

Treat Your Vendors Like Co-Founders

For most product startups, you’ll most likely rely heavily on component vendors for the bulk of your product. Someone else will manufacture, test, or even engineer your product for you. Treat these vendors like co-founders and choose them wisely. They can literally make or break your company.

You Will Always Need More Money

While this may be true with most startups, it is especially true for product-based startups.  Lots of money must be spent with vendors, retailers, R&D, marketing, etc before you even launch a product and hope to see revenue. If you’re seeking venture capital to fund this, you’ll always need more than you think. Make sure you raise enough to provide the runway needed for success.

If you’d like to learn more about getting a product to market, please feel free to reach out to me.

Applications for our next Techstars Retail Accelerator in partnership with Target can be found here.


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Ryan Broshar
(@rbroshar) Ryan is the Managing Director for Techstars Retail, in partnership with Target in Minneapolis. He is an entrepreneur at heart who has been working in and with startups for his entire career. Ryan is also the Founder and MD for Matchstick Ventures, and Co-Founder of Beta.MN and Twin Cities Startup Week. @rbroshar