Is it wise to invest in new start-ups?
In our view, yes, but with a few caveats that we’ll talk about later.
Investing in new start-ups can be challenging, exciting and terrifying, all in equal measure. Over the years, we have invested in a small number of new start-ups, some with more success than others. Usually our input is given in terms of time and resource and in return we are given a percentage of the company. We have recently however completed our first investment for cash + resource, something new to us but one that we are really thrilled about.
Who is our latest investment?
As npd has been part of Site Pod’s story from the initial idea, we’ve had the opportunity to influence the launch of the product at every step of the way, working closely with the fabricators to set up a lean production line for an initial range of products that have been user and environmentally tested. We’re proud to be working with Site-Pod and we can’t wait to see where this partnership goes next.
What is Site-Pod?
Site-Pod provide innovative solutions to the construction industry to ensure work sites are fully compliant with welfare and health and safety standards. Site-Pod also aims to provide construction workers with the essential amenities for an effective and efficient working environment – if workers on site feel safe, have access to fresh water, tea and coffee facilities, food preparation areas, cleaning and sanitising provisions all in one place, they will be happier and more productive.
We have assisted Site-Pod in converting the founders’ vision of having a happy and safe construction site with all necessary amenities and designed the easily transported ‘pods’. Our collaboration is resulting in compact and innovative products that solve a very real problem of site safety.
What is important when deciding to collaborate with a client?
Investing in new start-ups is a decision which cannot be taken lightly. We have to be 100% certain that the relationship that we built during the initial client project is strong enough to build a business on and that we can generate a financial return on our cash + resource input. We have a strong sense of what good looks like and our goals and culture need to align with the rest of the founders as without that connection, the relationship just won’t work.
Whilst we have confidence in the products that we have designed, running a business is not easy and launching a new product typically ends in failure for most new startups. In the case of Site Pod, we compliment the knowledge and expertise of the founders who brought these ideas to our door and the management team each brings a key skill set to the business.
Lastly, we’ve got to have the time available to give the investment the resource it deserves for it to be successful. We’re continuing to build something special at npd and have existing commitments to our clients. We therefore can’t take on every new start up that passes through the business and need to get the balance right between client and investment based projects.
What do we get from the investment?
Clearly there is a financial incentive to each investment we make and ultimately they need to go on to be profitable to be labeled a success. In bringing the ideas to life and continuing to foster the development of the new start-ups though, we’re continuing to develop as a team and learn new skills that we are then able to apply to our client based projects. We’re curious to always learn more – our collaborations are making the best of our collective professional skills to bring well designed, innovative products to market.