Internet of Things

Insights from 2018 LAUNCH Demo Day Grand Prize Winner, DataAgora

DataAgora won the first prize at the LAUNCH Demo Day last Spring and has since received funding from Dorm Room Fund as well. DataAgora sells its decentralized machine learning platform to data scientists across various segments in the IOT space and healthcare.

What was the impact of getting the $25K prize money?

It allowed us to focus more on customer acquisition and flying around the country to pitch our product. Getting to meet potential customers face to face has helped us understand how different types of customers want to use the product. We want to increase the amount of data going through our network by 100X.

What have they learned from the LAUNCH accelerator on their startup journey?

The LAUNCH program teaches you how to look at your business and understand whether you are going in the right direction.  We pivoted halfway through LAUNCH due to the lessons from LAUNCH. For startups, it takes a lot of time and effort to go after one customer in one particular sector. You need to figure out how badly these segments want to use this product. You also need to understand who you are pitching to and what purchasing decisions they are responsible for. We ended up shifting who our target customer was by finding out who the key decision makers are for our product.  

Advice for the incoming LAUNCH cohort:

As a full time engineering student at Cal and CEO of this startup, I spend all of my time either going to class or at work. In fact, our entire team is balancing work and school, but everyone is hungry and concerned with scaling.  Having a clear mission that you are working toward makes it easier to make those sacrifices.

Secondly, develop a customer interview pipeline and interview process to talk to customers with interview scripts. Knowing what specific questions to ask and how to get the most out of the conversation with the interviewee will help you develop a model to understand how your customer behaves.