“At the midpoint of the LaunchBox program, Surfbuoy has come a long way, although not exactly as we expected. At the outset of LaunchBox we were very focused on product development, the nuts and bolts of how our device worked and what features could improve it. However, we had greatly underestimated the importance of customer development and market research. In the early weeks of LaunchBox, we went back to customer development and the results of our research completely changed our perception of the market. Overall, it felt as if we had tried to skip a step. Now that this groundwork is in place, we feel much more confident in our identity as a company.
From talking to people even as early as the first day, it became clear that there was a genuine interest in our product. We could see this from conversations with watersports organisations, as well as casual conversations with people on the street. However, the people who were most interested were not always those that we had imagined to be our target customers – parents of young children expressed the greatest enthusiasm, whereas we had imagined adults to be our main market.
So, the best piece of advice we can offer is to avoid isolating yourself from the customer and their wants. We were initially too focused on the device itself and neglected our relationship with customers, which hindered our progress in the early stages.
Our experience so far? Surprising, challenging, but ultimately rewarding.”
- Colin Burke: SurfBuoy