Vyacheslav Solonitsyn and his global team at EnchantVC are responsible for fulfilling the true potential of some of the world’s most innovative startups. Durtti wants to know more about how EnvhantVC take a great idea and turn it into a commercially viable brand and product.
Can you describe what EnchantVC does in 30 words or so, Vyacheslav?
EnchantVC is an accelerator and seed fund for hardware and IoT projects. We help technologies and products come to life and successfully bring them to the mass market.
Business plans aside, do you always get an initial ‘gut’ instinct about a potentially successful new product that sits alongside the extensive research and launch/exit strategies you and the EnchantVC team deliver?
We have got more than 500 applications and some of them looked very solid, but, as a venture investor, we have to closely watch market trends. We only accelerate and invest in startups that have their unique USP for crowd-funding platforms and meet current investment trends. So it is not a “gut”, but rigorous market analysis we carry out on a daily basis.
How many different startup stages do you identify from launch to exit and what are they?
Product-market fit definition is the very first step each team should deliver. We use crowd-funding platforms and online direct pre-orders campaigns for this.
Retail channels fit is the next validation we are typically doing as part of scaling-up programs for startups. The manufacturing programs should also be met against the projected sales plans, ideally startups always want to work with the biggest contract manufacturer it can afford.
Raising Series A funding is another significant milestone for each startup, which we see more and more happening once the hardware startup has already figured out the growth model and supply channels.
To be acquired however, startups either have to have a unique core technology proven in the first minimum viable product or a strong consumer / b2b channel growth traction.
You have played a large part in the success of many consumer hardware startups to date including the 3D pen CreoPop. What impact do you think the 3D printing sector will have on our society in the next 3-5 years?
We do expect that 3D printing will mature enough to disrupt manufacturing processes to make product customization for individual customers possible. We don’t see this happening at the home printer level, but rather at some level of city hubs or even at the manufacturing level (traditional manufacturers will adapt customization processes). We already see this happening with companies like Polychemy.
You already operate in multiple geographical territories. What plans do you have to build upon EnchantVC’s existing success in the next 24 months?
We are planning to open up regional branches for the program for very early stage startups working at product inception stage in about 18-24 months. We want more and more hardware teams to start working on their ‘Enchanted’ products.
What other hardware companies under EnchantVC are you most excited about that are yet to launch?
We are very excited about all our hardware companies, however, to name a few I would say: I like the Glance Clock idea – the guys are bringing wall clocks to the connected world.
The other accelerator team SVET is working to change everyday lights to make them health friendly.
We also have Hong Kong team Qi Aerista working on bringing a high end tea tasting experience to the mass market.
What are the next generation of characteristics and features we are likely to see from both new and existing social networks in your opinion in the next 5 years?
They will speak to the things around us, as part of our daily lives. Social networks and platforms will be infused with everyday objects and the interactions will be gearing to become seamless – it will take some time to integrate all around but in 5 years, we will see it as part of the “next normal“.
If someone wants to approach EnchantVC, what is the ideal checklist of things you need to know about them and/or their startup ahead of any initial conversation between you both?
They should have the main competencies within the team like having a strong CEO and CMO, and they have to be in the consumer hardware space – ideally Enchanted Objects or IoT-related with core technology, some positive traction in the marketplace like a certain number of email signups from their marketing efforts before crowd-funding, and we’d like to see a sample of design and a working prototype.
Finally, Vyacheslav, what is your overall advice to new startups trying to launch their products/brands?
Set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with good mentors, inspiring team members with complementary skill sets that you’ll need.
Get a great landing page, marketing plans and most importantly of all, make a product that will solve a problem and deliver it to the market that you address!
You can follow Vyacheslav and the EnchantVC team here on: Durtti and Facebook.
More at www.enchant.vc
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