Company Situation

VC funded startup. It has demonstrated proof of concept of its optical networking technology. It is in discussion with potential OEM customers, and is also working on raising its Series B funding.

Key Problem

Do they believe requirements expressed by potential OEM customers? Is it worth betting the company’s success upon their input? Out of dozens of potential product configurations, what are important relative to forces are driving customers purchase decisions?

In the words of CEO Brian Peters:

“Our mentality as a start-up is we were evolving a great technology, but with an unclear direction as to where exactly we would begin applying it. We’re too small to have a second chance. We have to get this right the first time.

The market study’s objective was to help guide us in our product development. The technology was there. Our question was which specific product were we going to develop.”

Tactics Solution

Market Validation via Peer Research. We recruited a professional “peer”, a former VP, Information Technology for the prestigious Federal Reserve Bank in an eastern district, to interview CIOs, and VP ITs to explore their “pain” relative to high speed optical networking. He conducted detailed discussions with network managers to understand how end users would respond to Blaze’s benefit propositions.

Business Results

Tactics identified key cost, performance, and configuration factors network managers required for upgrading their network backbones. These insights drove Blaze’s product configuration and positioning decisions.

In the words of CEO Peters:

“The results received from TACTICS were used in two ways. First, they served as the basis of facts that we used in our decision process. We ultimately decided on a specific product configuration which was part of the recommendations set out by TACTICS

We also used a number of the key items brought up by the end users themselves to help define our feature set. What we ultimately used that for was both a corporate level positioning to our potential investors, as a way to get into the market, and as our product and positioning strategy.”