TandemNSI Venture Advisor Session: Databuoy Evaluates Options and Next Steps
Background: We met recently with Databuoy; a Virginia-based company that received a Small Business Tech Transfer (STTR) grant from the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program. The company is working to make an impact in the security sensors market. The Databuoy team was prepared with an introductory slide presentation, which included an overview of the company, their team, their technology, and costs for implementation of their technology. TandemNSI Venture Advisors (VA’s) met with Databuoy’s team to brainstorm ideas about how to commercialize their technology, what path to take to market, and what financing options made sense. A series of follow-up sessions were scheduled with the Databuoy team based on agreed-upon needs and priorities.
Questions Brought to TandemNSI Venture Advisors:
- What are the advantages of focusing on the government market vs. the commercial market?
- What are the best strategies for entering the commercial market?
- How to prioritize customer segments and market opportunities?
- Does it make sense to penetrate civilian government markets or look for a very different approach?
- What financing strategies should be considered?
- What haven’t we thought of?
TandemNSI Venture Advisor Imperative:
- Markets: Databuoy thought about several uses for the technology in the government and commercial markets. The next logical step involves a combination of soul-searching, leveraging all the contacts the company has available to it, and conducting strategic customer discovery. Advice was provided around the best point of entry for each market segment, processes to use when doing customer discovery, and programs such as iCorps that might be able to help.
- Product: The TandemNSI Venture Advisors suggested that non-governmental markets would require the same level of precision required by their current clients. A lengthy discussion was held debating the product requirements necessary when selling to institutional buyers for large sums of money vs. commercial venues whose goals and budgets will be different. Advice was provided about what product specifications to consider testing for each type of prospect.
- Investing: Databuoy was coached on how to “boil down” the information they should include in an investor presentation. Sample decks were provided and discussion focused on how investors can also influence prospective market segments and dictate short-term and long-term company priorities.
TandemNSI Venture Advisors are continuing to work with the team to explore potential business models utilizing Databuoy’s technology. We also will help with narrowing Databuoy’s commercial strategic focus further and with communicating more effectively how they see the opportunity and the best path for achieving commercial success.
“TandemNSI advisors absorbed the specifics of our technology and our business experience through dynamic discussions that enabled productive advice that was tailored to our circumstances. As technology developers coming from the Government contracting world, we were less comfortable with trying the commercial markets. The advisors are helping us find a solid approach to getting to the commercial space.” —Kathleen Griggs, President, Databuoy LLC
Disclaimer: TandemNSI’s Venture Advisor program does not disclose any information that the participating company does not want published.