The added value of participation has doubled
Interview with Mrs. Dorothea Utzt, Managing Director of Streetspotr, participant in the EY Start-up-Challenge 2015 in London
Please provide an elevator pitch of your company/of your technology solution.
We help manufacturers and retailers of consumer goods to gain actionable real-time insights into the consumers’ buying behavior at the POS, such as supermarkets, grocery stores and kiosks. Manufacturing, marketing and sales processes can be optimized along the entire value chain and adapted to the true customer needs.
Clients such as AB InBev, Ferrero, P&G und Red Bull can track if their products are priced and placed correctly, if their indoor advertising measures work – and if they are used at all. For the first time, they are able to conduct an offline tracking of the impact and ROI of their TV and online marketing and advertising activities in real time.
To do so, we provide the consumer crowd with a smartphone app and manufacturers of fast moving consumer goods with a tracking dashboard. By using our technology, our clients can measure, track and efficiently manage their sales and marketing activities as well as optimize the purchasing behavior.
Our solution works at three levels, using ...
- ... an APP to activate and keep active consumers
- ... a desktop for gaining real-time insights
- ... technology (including geo functions, background tracking via iPhone which is supported by Google and Apple); here, we don’t track individual movements; we fully respect all national data protection, privacy regulations and applicable laws.
What is the USP?
All data are collected in real time via our APP and displayed for practical use on our dashboard. The feedback is generated on site and via smartphone while consumers are shopping at the POS.
In which phase is your business model (seed, growth, expansion, IPO ...)?
Currently, our company is in the expansion phase.
How did you launch your start-up? What brought you to the idea?
One vital impulse to develop our idea into a proper and well-working business idea came from EY. In 2014, we were among the 50 finalists of CODE_n at the CeBIT. At a panel discussion, we told some of the participating EY professionals about our idea. They said that our concept has potential for growth and suggested a cooperation between them and us. Actually, it was them who brought us to the idea to participate in the EY Start-up-Challenge. It was a really good idea, indeed.
What are your experiences of cooperating with established companies/corporates/partners?
From our experience, our clients are very open to our solutions. After all, they are facing a couple of challenges and issues: Are their products actually available at the POS at all? Are they in the right spot at the right time? Are they available for the right customers? Do my marketing and advertising activities catch the eye of my target groups? Where are the gaps in the supply chain? Our clients often realize that we can not only help them to measure, monitor and track customer behavior but also to find concrete solutions which can be gained from real-time insights.
Do you plan to expand internationally? Where?
We are already active in almost all European countries, including the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy. But we have put other regions on our agenda as well, such as Asia. Currently, we are developing different strategies and cooperation opportunities for expanding into several markets outside Europe. Clients from countries all over the world have an open mind about our ideas and solutions. These countries are home to very interesting crowds, even though there are many regional differences. In France, for example, our APP did not work until we provided it in French. The UK is the most innovative market in Europa, with crowds who are eager to try out new things.
What are your future targets?
Our solutions meet concrete demands which become more and more important for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. They increasingly focus on the quality of customer experience and journey. With our solution, we want to significantly contribute to better meet those needs all over the world. Furthermore, we want to do our bit in better connecting online with brick and mortar retail businesses. Here, our technology can offer important insights and solutions, from which retailers and consumers alike can profit. Given these facts, we are sure our company has good perspectives for further growth.
Do you think about the future of the retail business?
We believe that people will continue to buy goods and supplies in the physical space. This will not pass. On the other hand, we are quite sure that our market research solutions can help retailers to better meet the needs of consumers who are becoming increasingly used to buying online. Here, we can help to better coordinate and connect online with offline retail.
We deliver insights into what people want to buy where and when. An event such as a World Championships, for example, drives the sales of certain goods. Thanks to our technology, retailers can gain real-time information about what is quickly sold and has to be delivered subsequently. As a result, people get what they want on time. Retailers don’t need to send their costumers home empty-handed any more or, even worse, lose them to their competitors. We help them reliably satisfy even the most spontaneous demands of their clients, turning them into regulars.
How did you get to the idea to participate in the EY Start-up-Challenge in London?
It was simply a perfect match. As it happens, we were about to expand into the UK, which is one of the most innovative markets in Europe at the moment.
What exactly motivated you to join the EY Start-up-Challenge in London?
Fortunately, there is still no competitor to our ideas who is developing their business model in a UK base. The challenge was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get support for our market entrance and increase or marketability here. As I said before, the UK offers a lot of possibilities and a large client potential.
What were your key learnings from London?
You have to invest plenty of time to take part in the EYSC. It’s all or nothing, and the program requires your full commitment. After all, the participating partners and mentors are highly committed to support you and your business. All partners have to give their best, which was indeed the case at the EYSC. We really did appreciate that.
What were the biggest challenges during and after the program? And how did you manage to meet them?
The biggest challenge was to schedule enough time for the challenge and to organize our participation at due level. A large part of our team at the EYSC were commuting between Germany and London. But we also had permanent staff on site. Additionally, we had hired a staff member from London who brought in his local competence and knowledge. But it also helped us a lot that we were expanding into the UK market at the time. Our participation in the EY Start-up-Challenge was in every respect a perfect match.
Whom would you recommend to participate in the EYSC? Can you give them any advice on how to go through the application/ selection process?
We think that the EYSC program is perfectly suited to early-stage start-ups. Nevertheless, they should have more to offer than just a first idea. It should be at least a minimum viable product. The EYSC provides early stagers with a lot of inspiration, input and market knowledge. It can help them find out what is best for their further development. And it is a perfect opportunity to put their idea to a real test and to get challenged by experienced professionals and mentors. They will get all the support they need to avoid mistakes that can cost them dearly, and to significantly increase their prospects for success. Nevertheless, founders should be able and willing to invest much time and commitment into the challenge. It will pay off.
You’ve probably participated in other accelerator programs? What were your personal highlights of the EYSC?
We especially liked the perfect mentor matching and the extremely good organization of the program. EY really succeeded in providing us with exactly the right mentors and knowledge we needed to further grow and scale up our business. The workshops went very well and the participants were highly motivated. Accordingly well selected were the 7 participating start-ups. EY really coped with the task to deliver us the data and knowledge we need to succeed today and in the future. It was really impressive. At the EYSC, we were never left alone, which should not be taken for granted. This all requires top-notch organization.
Are you still in contact with EY and its global network after the challenge?
We are keeping in touch with our EYSC mentors and frequently exchange information with them. Furthermore, we maintain our network contacts we’ve made during the program. Our participation in the EYSC afterwards resulted in concrete jobs and client projects. Since then, EY has been proving themselves as a reliable partner who are supporting us with useful data and knowledge we need to grow our business. This all contributes to doubling the added value of our participation in the challenge.