In­vest Ot­tawa: Ask an Ex­pert!

Ottawa Business Journal - - LAUNCH PAD - BY IN­VEST OT­TAWA

C anada is now home to more peo­ple over the age of 65 than un­der 15, ac­cord­ing to Statis­tics Canada. As a unan­i­mous feel­ing, the well-be­ing of ag­ing rel­a­tives al­ways seems to pang the hearts of fam­ily mem­bers. That’s why Felipe Izquierdo, Nick Petryna, and El­iz­a­beth Audette-Bour­deau de­cided to start the se­niors care con­ver­sa­tion by launch­ing their app: Welbi.

“Tak­ing care of our el­derly fam­ily mem­bers, while still al­low­ing them to be in­de­pen­dent, is dif­fi­cult. No one on our team could find a so­lu­tion that pro­vided the peace of mind that our fam­i­lies need, so we de­cided to build one our­selves,” says Felipe.

Us­ing wear­able tech­nol­ogy, Welbi tracks the health pro­gres­sion of ag­ing loved ones. The app’s an­a­lyzes and ag­gre­gates the data (heart­beat, sleep­ing pat­terns, etc.), no­ti­fy­ing users should any ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties form. The startup wants fam­i­lies to be more in­formed when co­or­di­nat­ing their ef­forts of car­ing for el­derly loved ones.

Right now, the new firm is in their beta phase, boot­strap­ping their op­er­a­tions. They hope to crack the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket with their prod­uct, con­nect­ing any­one with a smart­phone and piece of wear­able tech.

With grow­ing con­cern around the ag­ing pop­u­la­tion be­com­ing preva­lent, many global com­pa­nies are fo­cus­ing R&D in this in­dus­try. So Welbi needs to know “what should be pri­or­i­tized when your com­pany needs to grow quickly to suc­ceed in a com­pet­i­tive in­dus­try?” Christo­pher John­son: Founder & CEO of Face Strate­gic, L-Spark Men­tor & In­vest Ot­tawa EIR

First, clearly de­ter­mine your value propo­si­tion, demon­strat­ing suc­cinct com­pet­i­tive dif­fer­en­tia­tor(s). If your tar­get mar­ket doesn’t un­der­stand the value of your prod­uct or ser­vice, what will stop them from buy­ing from your com­peti­tors?

Sec­ond, com­pa­nies re­quire val­i­da­tion and a proven sales and mar­ket­ing model. With­out clear val­i­da­tion and a proven model, com­pa­nies can waste an in­or­di­nate amount of cap­i­tal on un­proven tac­tics. How can you achieve rapid growth by pur­su­ing the wrong buyer or in­vest­ing in a flawed in­bound mar­ket­ing strat­egy?

Once a prod­uct is val­i­dated book­ended by a proven sales and mar­ket­ing strat­egy, ven­ture cap­i­tal or an­gel fund­ing is an op­tion to scale quickly. This is es­pe­cially ap­pli­ca­ble in a case where it pro­vides a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage by tak­ing mar­ket share from the com­pe­ti­tion. Sam Khan: VP Op­er­a­tions and Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment of iS­torm & In­vest Ot­tawa EIR

Speed to mar­ket and a sound guer­rilla mar­ket­ing plan can be a big dif­fer­ence when com­pet­ing against other com­pa­nies in your mar­ket. Paid ad­ver­tis­ing such as Google Ad­words or Face­book ad­ver­tis­ing will get your brand in front of your cus­tomers for a low cost and will build your brand’s aware­ness.

Also po­si­tion your­selves as a thought leader in your space. It sets your­self ahead of your com­pe­ti­tion and es­tab­lishes you as an ex­pert. Blog articles or videos work well.

An­other thing to con­sider is part­ner­ing. The more ap­pli­ca­tions which Welbi can sync with, the more value your clien­tele can take away from it. I’ll use fit­ness wearables as an ex­am­ple. Fitbit is com­pat­i­ble with a sur­plus of other well-used apps and does a great job of cre­at­ing a com­plete ecosys­tem which cov­ers the user’s life.

Three Take­aways:

Dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion is Key Your prod­uct and your com­peti­tor’s prod­uct are not the same and your cus­tomers should know that. Be­come a Thought Leader in Your Space Cre­ate blogs, videos, and any other con­tent that dis­plays your knowl­edge and puts your prod­uct ahead of your com­pe­ti­tion.

Part­ner WITH the Best to BE the Best Cre­ate part­ner­ships with ap­pli­ca­tions and prod­ucts which align with your cus­tomers.

Have a busi­ness ques­tion for our ex­perts?

Email us at askan­ex­pert@ in­vestot­tawa.ca and we’ll be in touch!

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