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We’re pretty pleased with ourselves. We’ve closed out the initial development, branding and marketing plan for the new dscvr app.

We’ve adopted some new technology to develop the app that we’ve been tracking for some time. We now think that it’s stable (and good enough) to use in developing the front end mobile applications and have spent a good while retraining in the technology. Upside is that it will make us much more responsive to changes, cut development times and be cheaper for us in the longer term. We think this technology could become the industry standard – so we’re futureproofing as we go.

We’ve also been working hard on the positioning of the app and what branding resonates with our target audience.

This is more of a consumer led products (B2C2B) and we’ve been checking the pulse of what we’ve been building with ‘critical friends’ all along.

We’re now going to get it in front of some of our target audience and get feedback and start to refine the product…

"There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it, for whatever success I have attained has been the result of much hard work and many sleepless nights."

— Madam C.J. Walker, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist

"If you know too much before the start, then you will get overwhelmed. Come up with an original idea, and don’t copy because there will be no passion. You need that otherworldly passion. Just start."

— Jeni Britton Bauer, Founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

We’re posting this later than we should as the team has been through a pretty torrid time over the last couple of months. 

We love the products we built. We see their potential in transforming shoppers experiences. We think we can help the High Street with technology solutions. We would love to shop using the tools we designed and so do most other consumers we tested our products on.

So anyway, we punched WAY above our weight and got ourselves into some of the biggest retailer boardrooms in the UK. And we learned a lot while we were there.

In summary, and we’re paraphrasing many meetings, the feedback we received was as follows:

"We LOVE! what you're doing. We can see how this would benefit us. Your use of the technology is excellent. But. We can't deal with a startup. It's too risky for us to commit the time and the budget. Thanks for coming and showing us what you've got. Call us again when you have loads of reference sites!"

After getting the same message time and again from just about everyone we did a demo to – our fund raise collapsed (there was no point in carrying on) and we needed to feed back to the team and find out whether we had a plan or not.

Looking back 2 months – we were in a pretty bad way. It’s pretty devastating to hear that your products are on point but the fact that you’re a plucky young startup with no money rules you out of the chance of closing any business. I guess we were looking for our lucky break and it didn’t come.

We asked ourselves:

Did they just say they liked our products just to humour us?

But that wasn’t the case. You couldn’t hide the look on the CEO/Stores Director/Customer Experience Director’s face. They liked what they saw.

They rolled in the people who were going to help us onboard our products with them saying ‘look at this, it’s great and we could really use it, see if you can work with these guys’ – that’s when the wheels fell off. 

These were invariably the budget holders with scarce resources and once they found out that we were a startup – the computer just said no. 

Time, after, time, after, time.

So we don't have a business do we?

Well actually – no.

But yes…

What we learned on our journey were pain points they were experiencing which had been hidden from us up until now as we’d approached the problem from a consumer angle.

We also learned that we’d have to do this ourselves until we were sufficiently credible for them to commit time and budget to.

Our vision of a better world with our products in remained – but the route there was going to be different.

We can write this now we know where we’re going – but to summarise:

  • We now know what we need to do for them to engage
  • We now know what their pain points are and how to solve them
  • We know the products we built were good – we just need to get to them from a different direction.
  • We now know how to do this!

We’ve been extremely busy putting in the hours and polishing our presentations.

We’ve been refining the products and, even though we say so ourselves, they’re pretty neat.

We have some top class meetings lined up and we’re really excited and privileged that some large retailers have agreed to see us. 

We see that retailers can use what we have to create some real in-store theatre – we’ve developed a desk-top live demo (which was extremely difficult to do) and we intend to put that in front of people.

We know that it’s not a great idea to demo a system live – but we’re confident we have the right technology.

We’re going to be putting in the miles over the next couple of months – wish us luck!

We’ve assembled the bare bones of a great team, got ourselves some coworking desk space to get us out of working at the kitchen table and get off those Slack conversations and we’ve developed something which is pretty neat .

Whilst we’re not quite at the stage where we can throw the covers off and step out into the light – we can say that our focus is towards helping the High Street adapt to new ways of working and to use technology in-store to give a completely new experience for shoppers.

We’re getting great feedback from people we’ve shown our products to and we’re aiming to show our technology to some more people to get their feedback.

If any retailers would like a sneak preview of what we have to offer – please just get in touch.

"If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late."

Reid Hoffman

This is almost an apology (almost).

We’ve been developing our products in a coworking space along with a lot of other great technical and entrepreneurial minds. Many people see us beavering away building our MVP and, understandably, they’re curious.

There’s an etiquette in these situations. If a startup is in stealth mode – don’t press the point. They’ll tell you when they’re ready.

But the normal way it happens is that they walk up to our desks, freshly poured coffee in hand, exchange pleasantries (we’re friendly types anyway) and then (you know it’s coming), move onto:

"Hey guys .... what you building?"

You see the problem is that at least three other businesses in our coworking space (including the guys working next to us) have recognised that the sector that we’re looking to disrupt with technology is ripe and ready for it – but they’re going about it in different ways. They don’t have some of the insights or ideas that we do – and quite frankly, we’re not in sharing mode at the moment.

So no offence guys, we’ll let everyone know what we’re doing when we can. You deserve an answer – just not yet. 

Sorry.

"If something is important enough, or you believe something is important enough, even if you are scared, you will keep going."

Elon Musk

Well. We’re off then!

We’ve been knocking round an idea for a while now. There have been things that have been bothering us which we think that we can apply technology to and make things an awful lot more seamless.

We’ve spoken to our friends and partners (they all think we’re bonkers and the problem is too big to solve)

But more importantly they all said:

"yeah, that's a real pain. Why isn't there something that solves the problem - it's so obvious!"

So we’re on a journey. We know we can make a difference – but let’s see what we come up with to make our own little dent in the world!

We’ll be building a team and feeling our way a little.

Wish us luck!