Getting to Market
Customer development using white labelling
While we all know how hard hardware is, there are a myriad of ways to get a product to market. In Nigeria, where funding is difficult to find and market sizes can be quite difficult to ascertain, it is important to manage your cash flow as prudently as possible especially in the early days.
On Saturday, November 10, we had three panelists discuss this at our meetup held in the American Corner at the CcHub, Yaba. Speaking were Uche Onuora, CEO of HITCH; Yang Yan, Product Development Manager at ARTOP Group; and Jeremy Kirshbaum, Researcher.
Jeremy started off the event with a preview video of the ARTOP Group and described how they support hardware entrepreneurs with their product development needs from across the world.
This set the stage for Yang to introduce himself, having called in remotely. He spoke about how ARTOP Group helps entrepreneurs from different parts of the world to utilize Shenzhen’s manufacturing abilities to go to market faster.
One question he received was on the timing for approaching a manufacturing partner:
Uche was on hand to answer questions with a more nuanced view of the local context. He described his company’s early customer development process using off-the-shelf hardware components and how they got accepted into the HAX Accelerator in Shenzhen.
He stressed the need for developing the business case for a product in the early stages and how using off-the-shelf parts or white labeling can help so that you’re not just making a product no one needs.
When answering a question about optimizing the technology one builds for cost, he was more instructive:
Intellectual property is a hot topic in hardware in Nigeria. As product development is expensive, would-be entrepreneurs care about the value of their developed technology. Jeremy, however, had another opinion on this.
The consensus seemed to be that using off the shelf parts or white labelling is the way to go to establish oneself in the market in a cost effective way. When reasonable demand is met, a manufacturing partner could then be approached to come on board. Manufacturers themselves are interested in opportunities in emerging markets, such as Nigeria, and could even provide supply chain financing for the product roll out.
We had over 70 attendees who came around and had a wonderful time at the meetup. As usual, we care about your feedback and are looking forward to receiving you at our next event!
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Special thanks to the American Corner in Co-Creation Hub for hosting us.