Our venture process

Four times a year all ayond employees are invited to brainstorm around new (and old) briefs. Based on input from these creative sessions a small number of ideas are permitted into teaser phase. Some of them climb all the way to independent spin-off companies.

The in-house business development process at ayond consists of a number of phases.


1. Idea generation and business briefs

As everyone knows, ideas can come from anywhere. We believe, however, that being a consultant – deeply involved in existing business and organizations – offers a great environment to see needs and spot windows of opportunity. In order to trigger creativity among our busy consultants, initial business briefs are quite simple in its form and can be documented in a couple of minutes. We use the elegantly simple NABC-method of Stanford Research Institute:

•    What is the market/clients Need?
•    What is your Approach to addressing this need?
•    What are the Benefits of your approach?
•    How do those benefits compare with the Competition or alternatives?

Four times a year all ayond employees are invited to brainstorm around new (and old) briefs. Based on input from these creative sessions a small number of ideas are permitted into teaser phase.

 

2. Teaser

A teaser is a time-boxed activity, normally 10-40 hours, aiming to deepen the understanding and feasibility of the venture in order to make an informed Alpha decision. Activities of the teaser depend on the nature of the business idea, but typically it may involve the following:

•    Preparing a pitch to a venture capitalist
•    A pre-study on technology, market, competitors, partners or some other dimension
•    A mock-up or a quick prototype
•    Focus group sessions with prospect customers
•    Creating user scenarios to specify the value proposition
•    Creating feature lists and interaction design
•    Pre-sales
•    Reaching out to potential partners to create a more powerful proposition
•    Applying for funds from a governmental business facilitator (Swedish examples would typically include Almi, Vinnova, Tillväxtverket, EU)
•    Etc.

Teasers are well defined mini-projects with a project manager, deadlines and budget. The consultant responsible for the brief is always invited to participate in the teaser. Concluded teasers are to be reported to ayond innovation board. If the milestone is passed, the project is taken into Alpha-phase.

 

3. Alpha

Based on the insights gained in the teaser, ayond innovation board analyses the business idea and suggests purpose, activities, operational team and budget for the alpha phase.

Aim:
•    Build a sellable prototype
•    Attract first paying customer
•    Marketing website
•    First draft of business plan

Form:
•    Budget of 100-300 hours
•    Operational team set up
•    Deadline when aims have been fulfilled
•    Time reporting
•    Project manager reports to ayond chief innovation officer
•    use ayond existing client base as sales targets

 

4. Beta

If the aims of Alpha have been fulfilled, the innovation is brought into beta phase. This is the first phase in which the inventor – i.e. the consultant – should be prepared to invest his own risk/time/money into the project. A typical scenario would be to work part-time as ayond consultant and part-time as self-employed entrepreneur.

Aim of beta:
•    Economically and operationally self-sustained company run by the entrepreneur
Form:
•    Enterprise registration at national registration office
•    Ownership clarified. ayond ventures will be one of the owners with a fair share of the company.
•    Normal business operations

ayond contributes with:
•    Admin/accounting
•    Sales support / network
•    Infrastructure
•    Senior advisory
•    Marketing

Entrepreneur contributes with:
•      Time
•      Engagement
•      Vision
•      Entrepreneurship

 

5. Venture

Ventures are spin-off companies that – except ownership – have gained full independence from ayond.
 

No-go business ideas are sent to the Freezer

No-go business ideas are saved in a special place for future reference, including the motivation for the no-go decision. We call it Freezer rather than trash since it should be possible to pick up ideas from the freezer if the business conditions change.