Mentoring innovators to market
Mentor: Robert Cooper, president of the MBAAI
“I am very optimistic about Dovetail,” he states. “They aren’t a new company. They’ve been involved in software development for a long time. They’re excellent technicians and strong in terms of operations and customer service. But at this point, they’re not leveraging that in the market place. I would say they’re weak on sales and marketing. They’re also moving from service offering into product offering. What they’re lacking in that area is a coherent strategy, which I can help them with.
“I can tell that they value having satisfied customers. That has to do with the fact that they are working ‘in’ the business rather than ‘on’ the business. But they need to start thinking about positioning themselves as principles of the business and that’s a major decision for them to make. Do they want to be technicians or managers?”
“The global banking world is a labyrinth of different payment systems,” explains Bankhawk chief executive Brian Weakliam. “Banks make their own rules overseen by central banks and regulators. So there’s a huge amount of complexity in the banking world.
“We set up five years ago with the aim of building an analytics system to help customers demystify what’s going on in their banking system. We have already worked with several big companies. We know our service is good but we need a mentor to challenge our business plan. We’ve built an innovative product which is a brand new concept. There’s always been banking analytics for banks but not for customers. For the first time we can give customers the kind of information only banks have. But because our product is innovative there’s an education process with potential customers. We’re not selling widgets.”
Mentor: Ken Greene, chief operating officer of a major law firm
“I’d like to bring an outside perspective to a business that is small,” he says. “Secondly, my initial understanding of Bankhawk is that it’s a very good service that’s scalable and can target industries, both large and small, across many sectors. So I’ll assist them in the sales front. They could do a lot of one-off jobs hits but the key to their development is getting repeat sales.”
Arran Healthcare Innovative disinfection technologies
“The company was incorporated in 2010 and we have developed a new breakthrough product for infection control and prevention in the healthcare sector,” says chief executive Paul Maguire. “Specifically we’re targeting disinfection of mattresses, known to act as a reservoir for a range of harmful pathogens, including MRSA. There are no gases or chemicals in our mattresses and they are highly effective. It destroys any pathogens present. There are four full-time staff in the company but we have a number of contracts and consultants we work with.
“We have no clients at this point. We are still finishing the product development, transferring to the manufacturing stage and commencing our regulatory applications. Our big challenge is selling into the healthcare sector. There’s a lot of pressure at the moment in terms of cost but we’re confident our new piece of technology is more effective than what’s currently being used. But we need validation and routes to the marketplace.”