Kiuas Startups – The power of digitalization

August 26, 2019
Written by 
Mari Liukkonen

Many stagnated industries are struggling with the need to digitize their services to both do business more effectively and to serve their customers better. However, they are not always able to solve these challenges themselves. 

Rentle is a B2B start-up solving the problems of the consumer rental industry with a SaaS solution that has a built-in solution for payments. Their entry market is the sports equipment rental market which means customers such as ski resorts, bike rentals, and watersport rentals, but the product works for all kinds of consumer rentals such as tool rentals etc.

Indoor Informatics helps its customers optimize floor space by capitalizing on security camera systems and taking advantage of the latest machine vision and cloud computing applications. Ruthless competition in many industries makes sure companies want to be cost-efficient and provide only the services which create value to their customers. Currently, they provide services to fitness clubs and higher education institutes.

Taking industries from analog to digital

When running a B2B company like Rentle or Indoor Informatics, you need to pay attention to both sides: customers and end-users. One of the most valuable perks that Rentle and Indoor Informatics can provide to their customers is the possibility to make decisions based on data – that is a crucial factor when trying to do efficient business.

“With Rentle, the rental company can get an outlook to the future and base their decisions on that,” Tuomo Laine, CEO & Co-Founder of Rentle, tells about the value their software adds.

Aki Illikainen, CEO & Co-Founder of Indoor Informatics, sees the similarity in their service: “It’s the same with Indoor Informatics – we provide data for the gym owners so that they can base their new investment to that. This kind of software helps customers save a lot of money” 

According to Markko Vaarnas, Kiuas coach and Managing Partner at Takeoff Partners, for a business to become truly data-driven, its management needs to be enlightened about the benefits of having important business decisions backed up by relevant and high-quality data.

“Startup companies are successfully facilitating this change by bringing new solutions to the market, which not only provide more relevant and accurate data, but also present the data in a more understandable and actionable format,” he explains.

The other goal these B2B companies have is to develop the user experience for the end-user. “For example, in our case, the end-user wouldn’t have to line up for the gym machines,” Aki explains. 

B2B startups have to also keep the end-user in mind when developing the software. “Any feature that we add to the software has to bring value to the end-user,” Tuomo sums up.

The importance of empathy

When working with stagnated companies, empathy is important. Many people might think that companies operating in the traditional field would have resistance to change.

 “Most of our customers have the will to develop their services and serve their customers as well as possible – they just don’t have the right tools,” Tuomo explains.

“Of course sometimes some customers don’t see the value of our service right away, but you just need to be patient, ” Aki adds.

The key to success

The most important thing is to digitize the whole process, not only a part of it. On the B2B side, there are many stakeholders and interfaces you have to be aware of. If you can achieve this, your chances of succeeding as a B2B company increase significantly.  

“When the software on the background is up to date, companies can offer a hundred times better experiences,” Tuomo describes.

For a B2B SaaS startup to succeed, it needs to find its market niche not only when it comes to the problem it is solving, but also to the segment that it is primarily addressing. 

“There are too many cases where a low-priced niche product is only getting traction with intensive personal selling effort. As a result, the customer acquisition costs (CAC) are too high to enable a sustainable business in the long run. On the other hand, when you are able to create a product, which has minimal churn, you are able to quite comfortably rely on the product’s future success and expand the business to new opportunities,” Markko sums up.

One of the most rewarding things is to see how big of an impact the software can make. “Things that can first seem like a tiny thing can sometimes have a huge impact on the customer’s business, staff, and end-users,” Aki explains.

Tuomo recognizes the same aspect: “It’s nice to see the impact we can make – even if it means that the staff can discuss with the customers at the end of the day instead of filling up the last papers."

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