Tight Times for Startups / Opportunity for The Enterprise

March 8, 2017, by Sid Probstein, CTO & VP Professional Services, AI Foundry  

A recent NY Times article noted that the “number of deals struck tumbled to their lowest levels since 2011.” … while established winners and a few new unicorns raised money, 2016 was otherwise a tough one for startups. 

It’s hard to believe it could be otherwise. By one count, today, there are some 2,000 companies in the Big Data space, spread across some 50 categories. Boris Evelson, analyst for Forrester, recently tweeted about this, noting: 

Boris Evelson, Forrester

Even assuming deep specialization by at least 80% of the market – across industries and sub-industries, between front and back-office, mobile and web – it’s hard to imagine that Boris isn’t 100% correct. Even so, startups struggling to find capital and/or new customers can absolutely benefit from a strategy of finding a single critical customer who needs their software – but installed, adapted & tailored for their use – and ultimately partnering with them to turn it into a competitive advantage. (Partnering, BTW, in this case, means not getting paid for the full value of the software up front, but ultimately being able to incubate a solution that is more valuable, and get it to market “battle tested” – i.e. with references”.)

I’ve written previously about how Investing in Tech is No Longer Optional and will repeat a key point from that: “identifying, evaluating and ultimately partnering with the relevant players in your industry” is good advice for both startups and established companies seeking advantage in the market – which should be all of them. 

Here’s the reality though: if you aren’t ready to execute those steps – consider working with a venture firm, or a solution provider that specializes in integrating innovative capabilities into solutions you can easily evaluate and adopt – on premises, or in cloud. AI Foundry is exactly such a provider, combining Kodak Alaris world leading capability in scanning & extraction with new capabilities that collectively solve important problems across the AIM lifecycle. 

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Sid Probstein
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