Essays/linkedin/24-05-09 hardware mvp

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🔬 I have seen countless hardware-based spin outs struggling with defining and building an MVP off the ground. Sooner or later we all face the same question: outsource or build in-house.

I got tired of meeting incubator mentors pushing for outsourcing. Their premise is: "since I have no clue how to build a complex instrument, you'll definitely fail."

Transferring tech out of a lab and into your startup is a massive step that must be done at the appropriate time.

If you are still struggling defining the problem, the value proposition, or if the research is not complete, then it doesn't matter who builds your MVP. It's simply too early to know what you are meant to do.

On the other hand, at some point you won't be able to move forward if you don't have anything to sell.

Outsourcing may seem the easy path. But you need to define what you outsource. Consultants don't need to understand about the business case. They'll execute on the specifications you give them.

If you are building sci-tech (instruments meant to be used by other scientists), there is a massive advantage of building in-house. You'll have closer iteration loops with your customers, you'll be able to identify improvement opportunities, and new pain points that can be addressed by v2, v3 or a new product.

Once you outsource the creation of your instrument, you'll become a reseller. The creative process is placed outside of your know-how sphere. Chances of missing important hints by customers are high.

Sometimes the business case warrants outsourcing. If speed to market is your biggest asset, you should leverage it. Or if you operate in a highly regulated environment, such as medtech.

In any case, it's hard to overestimate the value of playful exploration. If you are not the builder in the team, partner up with someone who is.

Building hardware is, above all, fun.

-- 👋 Hi! I'm @Aquiles.

I'm a scientist turned entrepreneur. I share insights on the challenges of #scipreneurship

Follow me to get all my latest thoughts and reflections.


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