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Markets and consumer behaviour are fast moving and it can be difficult to keep up with new needs, trends and technologies.
In these stressful economic times, corporations and entrepreneurs are unlikely to invest in new product development and innovation in struggling segments. Yet rapid innovation is happening in booming sectors like digital services, retail delivery services, healthcare, and communication offerings, and markets are getting more competitive.
Developing new products and services takes time and resources, and startups may not have the adequate skills in-house to reach the market in proper time and with a solid product. That is why many startups fail, with up to 90% of startups failing in their first few years.
The uncertainty is high in a startup’s early stages, which is why testing the market with a scale-ready minimum viable product (MVP) is so vital. This way they can confirm if their business model is economically feasible and if there’s a real need for their services.
Startups need to test the waters with a bare bones product before committing their limited capital to a full product.
However, building an MVP and hiring qualified professionals for those skills is quite challenging in the competitive recruitment marketplace. Hiring engineers can eat away at a startup’s runway and deplete funds while recruitment takes up even more time.
According to one report in the Netherlands, around 33% of employers have experienced shortages in accessing ICT talent – which puts startups at a disadvantage. This issue can be critical, especially for early stage startups that have constrained resources at their disposal and need to be fast in these initial phases.
Finding a trusted technology partner
Outsourcing the development and design of these digital products has become a key strategy for companies that need quick access to the best technical skills to develop their MVPs.
Outsourcing can help not only small and medium sized companies but also innovation departments of large corporations save resources and provide a larger return on investment, as reducing the time to market will help in gaining market share quicker.
Another advantage of outsourcing is that companies that have ideas can connect with product managers, developers and UX/UI designers with the knowledge and experience to turn those ideas into a real product rapidly and efficiently.
Having a tech partner also helps companies get ahead of their competitors, reducing the time to reach the real market, and avoiding unnecessary risks.
“We’ve learnt from our experience all ideas need to be tested. Even if you think it’s the most brilliant business model, if you don’t validate it first you might as well be finished in a matter of months. Our methodology prioritises the development of features based on what customers look for as a result of our product design dynamics”, said Acid Tango chief executive Alex Gonzalez.
Acid Tango is a software development studio that works with startups as well as incubators, accelerators, venture builders and innovation departments at corporates to design and build digital products.
“We turn technology innovation into market-ready products and solutions to help businesses gain a competitive edge, increase operational efficiency, and maximise profits,” Gonzalez said.
But outsourcing isn’t simply a case of handing a project over to an outside company and then forgetting about it.
Communication and trust are vital aspects of outsourcing. It has to be bidirectional. The client needs to specify what they would like built and issues such as security and confidentiality need to be clearly addressed early on. On the other hand, development studios like Acid Tango must involve their customers in the building process with collaborative tools and agile and iterative dynamics, to help them prioritise what’s important for their products.
A product that emerges from an outsourcing relationship provides a quicker time to market for the startup but it should also be adaptable so that the startup’s team can build upon it and scale it further once the product has received some market validation. This is why it is key that the studio defines and builds a good and scalable technology infrastructure, applying development best practices.
Just as important is the process of hand-off. Not all studios work the same, so clients should confirm that they’ll help with the training, knowledge transfer and even the hiring process of specialised profiles. This will ease the transition and make everything smooth for the startup team.
According to Acid Tango, the 12 startups it has worked with this year have raised around €40 million from investors. This includes startups in sectors like mobility, real estate, food distribution and finance, although its outsourcing model can be applied to any sector.
Benelux: a thriving tech ecosystem
Acid Tango is now entering the Benelux market to work along with venture builders, startups and corporates in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to get their MVPs off the ground.
“It’s encouraging to see how tech startups are gaining more relevance across the Benelux area. Because of this, we see a great opportunity for companies like ours, which understands both the technology and the business” said Fabien Bouhier, managing director for the Benelux.
With cutting-edge innovation institutions, universities, public and private support, and being amongst the most digitally connected societies in the world, the tech startup scene in the region has much to offer for entrepreneurs local or international.
“We’re thrilled to start our journey in the Benelux market, it’s such a technology hotspot and full of opportunities. Great innovations are coming from this region, so opening an office in Amsterdam only seemed natural so we could get closer to the action.”
Read more about how a digital product development studio can help you build your idea and get a free validation meeting with Acid Tango.