Hardware Business Models
Selling to Consumers and Businesses
Selling to Local Governments
Working with Regulators
Your Extended Team
Urban Us Investment Memos
– Bowery Farming
– One Wheel (Future Motion)
Low-frequency decisions can pose a greater risk for startups because there isn’t enough time to learn from them. Take fundraising, for example: If you do this poorly the first time, it can be hard to learn and adjust. This is different from high-frequency decisions, such as testing a landing page, where feedback is available within days or weeks.
Thus, for low-frequency decisions, it’s especially helpful to learn from other people’s experience — and they need not be full-time team members. Your investors, advisors, and customers are extensions of your team.
Some investors specialize and have deep experience and great networks within specific industries relevant to urbantech, such as real estate, energy, water, or local government. These investors can offer feedback on the structure of the ecosystem in which you’re working and help you to identify prospective corporate partners or customers who are well regarded in their industries (for future referrals). They can also make introductions to founders, who are usually the very best advisors because they’ve recently had to confront similar challenges.
Early customers are essential to successful product development, but they also do a lot more. Like investors, they can offer feedback on sales, pricing, and even prospective partnerships. And they can be especially important in initial referrals (the best way to find new customers). We’ve seen successful founders go to work with customers on construction sites, in police cars, and in their kitchens. The best customers care deeply about what they do and can be very generous when they meet people with a similar passion for what they’re working on.