On 17 Januari 2014 Beestar spoke at the ABN Amro HQ in Amsterdam in front of almost 400 investors and business men. Instead of using the tried and tested pitch format (example) often used by startups, Beestar’s CEO Emanuele Francioni, began talking about the radically honest story of Beestar’s founders Sergey, Fulvio, Charlotte and himself.
Watch the video or read the report of the presentation below (or view the presentation).
This story starts out easy. After about 5 months after partnering up and leaving former employer TomTom, the team of Beestar “gave birth” to their very own positioning technology, which can locate people indoor and outdoor with centrimetric precision. The only thing they needed now was a product to use it for.
At this point, Mr Francioni started telling the investors about the failures that Beestar had endured. “Our first product was ‘Beekids’, a wearable tracker that could locate children in amusement parks.”. Beestar’s team got in contact with amusement parks all over Europe, but they all responded the same way. They were interested in the product, but they weren’t willing to go with new suppliers nor was there the money at the time for new technologies.
Our second product was called Insight. Insight was able to track students with a very high precision and provide learning analytics for students and teachers. The University of Bedforshire in England were the first to embrace this product. They were very enthousiactic about Insight and wanted to buy it in 2015. This meant that Beestar would have to wait for two years. Two years would be too long. So, with a heavy heart, they decided to move on to a new project.
This new project would be the QUASP, a team sport performance tracker. The audience at the demo day were shown a short clip of Beestar at Techcrunch in San Fransisco. Beestar’s participation at Techcrunch gave them a lot of exposure. Because of this, they gained many pre-sales by organizations such as the KNHB (The Dutch National women’s field hockey team) and the international tennis federation.
The requirements that Beestar’s clients were asking for would have lead to an application that would have been too complex and take up to much time to make.
By this time, a year had passed. Money was starting to run out and they were months away from the go-to market.
Emanuele: ‘’by joining startup bootcamp, we got in touch with incredibly inspirational mentors. In our meetings the mentors would listen to me, blathering about the technology, the product and the plan we had, but the they remained silent.”.
The question the mentors asked Emanuele was: “why?” This question made Emanuele realize that Beestar didn’t have a purpose at the time. He went ahead and asked his team the same question that he was asked: “Why?” Beestar’s team also came to the conclusion that they had no purpose.
This lead the team to “rebuild” Beestar. They adopted a completely new business model. Emanuele: “We select a partner per vertical. We partner up with them and provide them with our technology in exclusivity and together we create a new product, for which we share revenue.” With this business model, they got their first partner in the sport vertical.
Beestar’s second partner is Myorder, which is mobile payment platform that’s part of the Rabobank Group. The MyOrder app enables users to pay for parking, restaurant bills and cinema tickets straight from their phone. The third partnership is with Hallofo, a company that sells children’s watches with a built in cellphone.
Emanuele: “What inspired me to adopt this new business model? It was a sentence in ‘The Time Machine’, a book by Jules Verne: “Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” and it’s been our motto ever since.