In our latest conversation with Josef Brunner, CEO of leading IoT platform relayr, we talked about key success factors for building a platform business. And he was clear right from the beginning that it is not about technology, it’s about focusing on outcomes for the customers and to understand market transformations. Only when you understand bigger trends and market shifts you can build a platform business to be ready at the right time at the right market.
Josef Brunner is an entrepreneur at heart and the CEO of Relayr, his fourth company (and his last one according to him).
Relayr, which was founded in 2015 in Berlin and acquired in 2018[NDL1], is the company you call when you want to transform your business from CAPEX to OPEX : in other words, if you have machines, whatever the purpose of the machine may be, be it grinding diamonds or cutting metal sheets, you can convert it into an “as a service model” with Relayr.
Keeping the complexity away
Building multiple companies is a journey full of learnings and starting Relayr was no exception to the rule for Joseph. His previous companies were all addressing one specific problem, in a given market, with one dedicated product. Therefore it was relatively easy to launch and scale these companies. But Relayr is different as it provides something very abstract: a middleware and a technology foundation to enable new business models. How do you sell this to customers?
As Josef simplifies: it is easier to describe the company as “to get from CAPEX to OPEX”, than by explaining the technology behind it. This is actually one of his main journey’s learnings: keeping the complexity away from the customer and avoiding mentioning technology.
Focusing on outcomes
According to Joseph, the key is to “simplify the value proposition, solve the problem holistically for the customer, put the outcome at the centre of everything that you do. Stop selling technology to technologists, sell outcomes to businesspeople.” Everything else: the machine, the technology risk transfer, finances…, all these tools only exist to deliver that outcome.
A recent example of a customer engagement was Trumpf, a global market leader in producing laser cutting machines. Relayr worked with Trumpf to come up with a pay-per-use model that focused on making Trumpf’s customer more successful by guaranteeing they were getting the best results with the best price in the market.
This sums up a key lesson for platforms, as they play the middle-man role and are based on sophisticated technology: focus on the customer problem and sell solutions, not technology.
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Note: This article appeared first at https://platforminnovationkit.com/how-to-launch-a-platform-as-an-incumbent-company/