Everyone has an idea for a product. Think about it---haven’t you at one point thought, “I’ve got a great idea” and then never did anything with it? Did you see that idea launched later by someone else, perhaps with great success? To illustrate the point, if decades ago someone had the idea of “driverless cars”, they surely would have lacked the expertise, ingenuity, experience and capital to actually launch an autonomous vehicle company. There may have been thousands of people that had the idea of autonomous vehicles at different points and today believe the idea to be their own. But merely having the seed of an idea doesn’t give you much credit. To actually bring an idea into fruition is on an entirely new level.
At NXT Assent, we think ideas – even good ones - are a dime a dozen; the challenge is sifting through these ideas to find those that should actually be turned into products and companies. While we contend that the idea itself plays a minor role in the creation of a successful product and company, and there are many potential fail points enroute to success, choosing the right idea from the onset is a necessity.
We cultivate ideas, whether these ideas come from internal or external sources. Once we settle on those that we like, we work to prove or disprove it in our comprehensive and unique Validation phase. The idea is the first step and here I am going to focus on what we look for in an idea and potential company.
NXT Ascent’s consumer first approach focuses on creating and building brilliant companies for our specific target audience. This helps us streamline idea flow---if it doesn’t fit the NXT Ascent Family then we simply move on. It may be a good company, but it’s just not for us. Otherwise, often we can screen out many ideas knowing in advance that they won’t successfully pass through our validation phase.
There are certain company profiles which we just say no to. We have identified certain markets and product categories which we will avoid for different reasons, for instance: high sku count, trendy, high CAC, low consumer perceived value, etc. By knowing what we DON'T want, it helps us quickly sift through ideas that don't fit our model.
With our consumer first approach, we look through the lens of what our NXT Ascent Families might need and isn’t readily available in a way they would want it. We figure out the need, utilize data to measure opportunity size and then work backwards into the product that will solve it. Our DeliverySafe product (DeliverySafe.com) is a great example. Consumers are getting more products delivered than ever (merchandise, groceries, mealkits, etc.), but there wasn’t a viable solution to protect these deliveries outside their doors until they can retrieve them. Beginning with this problem, we then worked backwards to solve the last link in the supply chain and thereby created DeliverySafe, a large, insulated and secure package lockbox designed for outside the front door.
The idea's that we like will still need to move through our Validation phase which will ensure these ideas meet parameters which fit our firm. We always keep in mind--Every company needs to start with an idea, but not every idea should become a company.
How do we source ideas: Because there are so many great ideas already out there, we have various streams for sourcing ideas:
• Build internally - If we know the problem, we want our team to create the solution.
• License ideas from inventors – we’ll pay royalties or licensing fees to inventors based upon the development stage of the product and defensibility of the IP.
• Work with Product Development houses to identify and create specific products within certain market categories.
• Co-Founders- we will work with talented entrepreneurs who need the funding, processes & infrastructure we can provide
• Buy – we’ll purchase fledgling or under-performing companies based on whether we determine they can thrive under the NXT Ascent model.
At NXT Ascent, we have the reach, connectivity and resources to bring to market any consumer product for our NXT Ascent Family. It is part of our unique ability. But any good product begins with a good idea.