This post was inspired by Anthony Pierri https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-pierri-7b5080a9 on LinkedIn. I thought it was a good framework of questions, so in the spirit of "build in public" I answered them. It actually took us a year and 9 months to be able to answer these questions.
1️⃣ The company
→ Where is the company in their funding journey?
1 round of friends and family. 1 SAFE.
→ Where are they on the technology adoption curve?
The current solution is a mish-mash of email, the file server, excel spreadsheets, and OneNote. This will be difficult to change because our ICP has not seen a good technical solution. They don’t know it even exists. Where are WE on our tech stack? Our tech stack is a whos-who of leaders from Salesforce to Twilio to Microsoft to Cloudflare.
→ What is their growth model? (i.e. sales-led, product-led, etc.)
Sales-lead. This is an enterprise to SMB sale, but a demo seems a must.
→ Are they moving up-market to the enterprise?
No. Our ICP is a Director of Research, Head Portfolio Manager, or CIO at an asset management firm. If the firm is smaller our ICP could be the founder.
→ Down-market to SMBs?
Maybe someday, but that would be another vertical. Anyone with an insane amount of email and files is potential whitespace.
→ Any external trends helping—or harming—the business?
Yes remote work, an awareness of moving away from siloed expertise inside a firm, and an awareness that the efficiency of the team can help mitigate budget pressures. We’re also trying to educate our ICP on parasitic loss, which is the wasted time and frustration the team has with finding work product. Sifting through the bloated network drive to find a file or scrolling through email is drudgery and a complete waste of time.
→ How is the product priced and packaged?
It’s early, but the industry standard is per seat.
→ Who are the key competitors?
Microsoft Office mish-mash, Bloomberg Notes, FactSet IRN. All are about average. None are a delight to use.
→ How does your product stack up to them?
For saving all your investment work product (emails, files, notes, Tweets, calendar items) in one place with the power of a Google-like search to find them all? The competition fails at this. Try us, I’m amazed, and I use all the so-so apps mentioned above. I’ve been using Bloomberg since 2005 and FactSet since 1995.
→ Company DNA? (i.e. mother, mechanic, missionary?)
Mother and Missionary. I'd add more but look up Anthony P's post on LinkedIn to save me some time.
2️⃣ The team
→ Who does what?
AM – CEO, co-founder, does product, strategy, GTM, sales.
JS — CTO, co-founder, manages IT, security, development team
AP — Lead Dev, co-founder, does frontend, backend, database, code base, and services
WS — Head of UX, co-founder, does UI/UX, every pixel is his job.
3️⃣ The product
→ What is the core value prop? Alpha per person-hour increases. Simply said, we save your PM’s and analyst’s time. Less hunting for important emails (I get 500 a day), less foraging through the file server or even worse using "search" in File Explorer.
→ How easy and clear is the onboarding experience?
Since we’re brand new, one of our co-founders on-boards you and your team. This is pretty easy, in 15 minutes the customer will be live. We're growing fast. I dont know how long this will last, but we'll try to have you work with a co-founder for as long as we can.
→ Where is the "aha" moment?
First search. The first minute after the onboarding. Minute 16. When our new fan types in “Boeing” into the search and sees all of the models, emails, notes…essentially every piece of information their firm knows about Boeing, they say “I get it, this is better.”
But without a demo, we’re dead. This is a new thing that our ICP doesn’t even know is possible.
→ How many steps does it take to get there?
2 steps. First a demo. Second create an account.
→ Where could messaging create a smoother experience?
I don’t know.
→ What is overall long-term product strategy?
Always make search more relevant.
Integrations with other software.
AI/ML to automate investment insights.
Extend to adjacent markets. We’re having a good experience with Investor Relations teams.
→ What big releases are coming down the pike?
DoTadda 2.0 is right around the corner. Better use of screen real estate, prettier, much faster, better mobile experience. See above.
4️⃣ The customer
→ What is their TAM? (widest group of potential customers)
With our first market or ICP (Asset Management), the TAM is roughly $200mm. Our TAM quickly expands when if you include any team who gets an insane amount of email per day and maintains an insane amount of files.
→ Who is the ICP? (clearly defined set of firmographics)
CIO, Director of Research, Portfolio Manager, analyst team
→ Who is their ideal user?
→ What type of progress are they trying to make? (JTBD)
From my view, our ICP wants to save time and reduce frustration at all costs. By my math, saving an analyst 5 minutes per day is roughly $3,000 saved per year. I expect that we save an analyst easily 30 minutes per day. The savings go up, the more senior the title. Also, this does not account for the higher alpha generated per person-hour from better insights. There of course are more benefits. Lower frustration, lower turnover, etc.
→ What "old way" are they leaving behind for your product?
Well very little….they have to login in to our app. We use email to get data into our app, so the new adopter, must add an an additional email address to emails they send. We say, “if you can use email, you can use DoTadda”.
→ What perception (if any) do they have of your brand?
I’m unsure, but we’re focusing on “simplicity”
→ What are they reading/listening to?
Very little, they have no time and a stressful job. They are likely reading street research, they might read Epsilon Theory or something similar. For podcasts, any pod under the JoinColossus family, ValueHive, Panic with Friends and maybe RealVision.
→ Where do they hang out on social media?
LinkedIn and Twitter
→ What conferences or trade shows do they attend?
Mostly sell-side industry conferences. Sometimes our ICP will attend industry conferences for practitioners.
Thank you all for reading this blog post. My name is Andrew Meister. I have been a career equity research analyst for 27 years. I’m a co-founder of DoTadda to help asset managers gain total control of their data. If you want to reach me, contact me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @DrewMMeister.