Innovation is Exact-ly that Easy: 5 tips to bring new technology to market
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
There are several steps involved in creating a new technology, and bringing it to market:
• Research and feasibility
Two local business men, one a successful realtor and the other an expert in new and emerging technologies, set out to create a tech solution to a real world problem in the real estate industry.
Chris and Kevin of ExactDeposit recently sat down with NSBI to share some of the lessons they learned on their path of bringing a brand new tech solution to market.
Like many entrepreneurs, Chris Ryan and Kevin Kline started ExactDeposit in a basement. The two had known each other for 18 years before embarking on this endeavour, originally as co-workers in the tech industry. Following Chris’ return to Nova Scotia ten years ago, having become a realtor, he helped his friend buy and sell several houses. It was through this process that ExactDeposit was born.
The concept was to create a service that would facilitate the movement of deposit funds on residential properties between a home buyer and a real estate broker’s trust account electronically. Every year, there is more than $2 billion worth of deposit cheques written in Canada. These cheques have to make it from the home buyer to the realtor and into a brokerage trust account within a very short period of time – typically 24 to 48 hours, requiring physical transportation and usually changing hands several times; this creates a huge drain on human resources. Not to mention the impact producing and moving all this paper has on the environment.
Chris and Kevin knew that they wanted to create a process by which realtors could process electronic deposits on a mobile device. While they had the knowledge to begin, they knew they would need targeted expertise to help develop a working product. So they went out and created partnership with groups like the National Research Council, Mitacs, and Dalhousie. They worked with interns – senior level Computer Science students, and professors. Bringing ExactDeposit to life became a collaborative experience.
“Working with the Dalhousie Computer Science senior PHD and Masters students was a great experience. Being skilled in the latest interface design and development techniques, not only were they able to help bring some of our product blueprints to life but they also provided valuable insight from a generation who would soon be entering the home buyer market which helped in the overall direction of the service,” said Kline.
Now, with a successful social media launch behind them and increasing industry interest, ExactDeposit is moving forward with its live beta pilot.
Thinking about developing a tech solution for a real world problem you can see? Chris and Kevin have this advice for you:
1. Know and understand the problem AND the industry you’re working with
“If Chris wasn’t a realtor, this would be almost impossible,” says Kevin. Having an industry insider isn’t only helpful when working on the solution; when it comes time to present your product or service they can accurately speak to your audience on the pain that you are trying to solve.
2. Minimal viable product
Start with a clear end goal and a solid blueprint for what you want to create – but be prepared to adapt that idea and forget about the bells and whistles. Once you’ve created that minimal viable product you can start -
3. Testing with end users
A great product is nothing more than a great idea unless it works in the real world. Let some of your customers get their hands on what you’ve created and see how it does outside of your company. Make sure you’ve worked out as many kinks and hiccoughs as possible first, of course, but once there’s nothing left except real world testing, get it out there!
4. Educate yourself on funding and grant programs
Chris advises, “It is a gauntlet of information. You talk to one person, you’re told about certain things; you talk to somebody else, you’re told something completely different. Educate yourself first. NSBI helped us navigate available solutions and opportunities.”
Perhaps the most valuable piece of information, however, is this piece from Chris,
“No matter your industry, product, or service . . . Be prepared to work your butt off.”
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