After a fantastic 2021, ADAXIS was excited to enter 2022 with dreams of moving our product from an advanced MVP stage to a fully commercialized product. From November 2021 till January 2022, the tech team worked hard to polish the first version of the product. Meanwhile on the business side, we worked on the pricing strategy for the product. I also kept learning about business and finance language so that I will be able to understand the impact it has on every decision I make for my startup.
I had a Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) subscription, where Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) provided me with the necessary basics. Courses like accounting fundamentals, budgeting and forecasting, corporate finance fundamentals, scenario and sensitivity analysis, valuation of startups and businesses were immediately helpful.
Once you have the hang of basics in business, you can sharpen your skills only by doing it. Over the next 7 months (Jan-July), I was busy working on partnerships – both Technology (universities, research institutes and corporate R&D) and businesses (channels and distribution). I also worked actively with customer support, onboarding and delivering value.
One of the important lessons is to always think from your counterparty’s perspective and understand their perceived leverage. A realistic estimation of your own strength at that moment will help you find a win-win solution. Sometimes, it is a zero-sum game, and it will not work but most of the time you can find a middle ground. Though it is a simple and effective lesson, many forget it. Like the quote: “Common sense is not that common”
Another important lesson is that you should always have a BATNA – A better alternative to negotiated agreement. You must have a threshold of demands that should be met. If the talk cannot guarantee that, you should be prepared with an alternative and walk away from the discussion table.
We quickly scaled to more than forty customers in a short span of 6 months. Most of our customers are from Europe and North America. I am originally from India, so I thought about expanding ADAXIS in APAC & Middle East market. As more people are experimenting with robotic additive manufacturing and there is a critical mass of users in this region, my cofounders and I decided that I will move to India and explore APAC & Middle East market for ADAXIS.
I moved to India in August 2022, and in the past 4 months, I am amazed to find substantial number of activities in robotic additive manufacturing of metals, concrete, and polymer. By meeting many businesspersons and engineers, I figured out that I enjoy interacting with people, selling, and trying different strategies to expand our market. I understood that I am enthusiastic about business, startups, operational aspects, and VC investments. For me, being in the startup/business ecosystem felt like being a fish in the water. In the coming months, I am planning to write regularly about business, startups, ADAXIS scaling experience, venture capital and other things that interest me. Looking forward to sharing things with you.