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Start Bridge

posted on 1 Aug 2021

I really enjoyed my eleven years at Royal Dutch Shell. There was a lot of learning, building, and fun to be had. I loved working with extremely innovative teams that cared about their end-users and worked hard to deliver innovative software solutions.

Now, it is time for me to learn some more, build some more, and have quite a bit of fun by founding a startup to address frictions and inefficiencies prevailing during the promotion and evaluation of innovations and enabling a collaborative marketplace where all innovation ecosystem stakeholders can exchange and flourish.

Innovators come in many forms. They are inventors preparing prototypes in their garage, students groups mentored by incubators to run a university spin-off startup, mid-career domain experts leaving full-time jobs to launch new ventures so they can address known specific industrial pain points or team members in large organization innovation departments mandated to monetize corporate research and development. All those innovators have to go through a similar, often frustrating, and complicated process of convincing peers, partners, investors, and clients about the value of innovation in terms of technology readiness, commercialization models, competitive scoping, market size, and fit, or intellectual property.

Pitching innovation is frustrating because intrinsic risks associated with a specific innovation put innovators in a disadvantageous and unequal negotiation position. Innovators spend most of their time and effort de-risking their venture by leveraging their own experience, past successes, proofs-of-concept, patents, first clients’ referrals, etc.

This results in a very asymmetrical situation, similar to a courtroom, where per default, the innovator takes on the “accused” role and must overcome all doubts and reservations expressed by their audience and fight many cognitive biases against new things. It is all about creating trust. On the other hand, their targeted audience takes on the “accusers” role, and they are evaluating innovation based on their own expertise, interest, and experience.

Start Bridge idea is to assist innovators in marketing time-limited commercial offerings (“bridges”). Innovators can invite their professional network to review and comment on those offerings before introducing them to the marketplace. Bridges will help innovators promote, evaluate and monetize their innovation while building their reputation. Our motive is to shift the innovator and their audience from an “accused” and “accusers” relationship to a “seller” and “buyer” relationship while leveraging existing and widely proven sales techniques.