17 Nov Discovering BehaviorTech with YellowSpot
YellowSpot is an innovative venture studio, specializing in ideating and bringing BehaviorTech ventures to market. Their contribution to the world is that they conceptualize awesome products and ventures that really help consumers and customers make the soft skills tangible and shift outcomes that are specifically related to them. Here’s our Q&A with YellowSpot co-founder Per Lagerstrom.
Q: Who are you guys as a company and on the whole, and why are you sorely needed in this world?!
A: From a societal needs perspective, YellowSpot’s central core is to democratize access to effective soft skill tools. These tools help people change their life outcomes! That’s at the heart of what we do at YellowSpot. These include the soft skills around mind, body and environment that influences life outcomes for people. These could include: how well we learn in school and in career opportunities, access to the sense of joy and fulfillment we have in life, how we deal with medical challenges.
Democratized access means that the costs are reasonable and that there is massive global availability to effective tools that enable and empower consumers to shift those outcomes and achieve those outcomes.
Our ventures are in almost all the verticals we’re looking at, and there is just simply amazing potential. What we’re competing with is predominantly manual processes and human solutions that have been around for ages, such as coaching and learning & development advice and all of those disparate tools that largely deliver solutions that are not very effective. And they are expensive for consumers! We deliver much better solutions with phenomenal economics that are very attractive for investors. So there’s a win-win here for the end consumers of our products and the investors to provide the funding to go and build these ventures.
Q: Do you have any latest company NEWS to share?
A: We have two ventures that are operational and two more in the hopper and each one of those are deeply disruptive across the verticals they are in. They are in marketing, financial advice, education and senior living/eldercare.
Q: Where did the business concept originate and how has the journey been so far?
A: There are a small group of us that have been coming at this from different angles for over a decade. And we came together two years ago to bring Physiology and Psychology together in a very deep, scientific kind of way. That’s what has accelerated us. The fact that we pulled these various strands of true diversity together into a small team that has experience in science, AI, tech and business is really what set us off on this track that we are on today.
The journey has been wild and exciting. I think all founder journeys are. What has helped us a lot is that we didn’t start from scratch. So, as I said, the fact that we’ve been at this for a long time has helped us immensely. We have the networks, we have the know-how to give birth to what is an emerging field: BehaviorTech.
Q: Anything interesting happening in the future for your company?
A: I think there’s an amazing amount of interesting and fascinating stuff coming up in the next few months and in the next couple of years, both in these verticals that I’ve spoken about but as the tech stack gets more and more sophisticated, it will enable us to license out the components, so whoever wants to play in this space can have access. It’s really the dual mission of what we’re trying to do; trying to build amazing ventures, and then getting a toolkit out there. This will enable other founders that would come with ideas that we haven’t thought about and YellowSpot will provide them the tools they need to realize their ideas.
Q: Can you give us a real-world/practical example of how your product/service works?
A: Our first venture is in marketing tech. It is a disruptor that is taking something that’s been done for many, many years, including focus groups, surveys and interviews. It uses modern sensing technology to understand how people really think and feel when they are exposed to a brand or a product or a service. This allows us to really put a finger on what drives and predicts the business outcomes. Historically, this was largely fluffy stuff. Our venture sens pulls together loyalty, love and trust into tangible hardcore metrics that are predictive of business outcomes like sales, retention, cross sell and pricing power and the like. And that’s truly disruptive with economics that are fractions of what research costs today and at delivery turnaround times that again are at a fraction of what traditional approaches will get.
In any product we decide to go and innovate if we simultaneously solve for four things. One is to do it much better. So in market research it is understanding what consumers really feel and think in a much more tangible, specific way. But it’s also about efficiency. So doing that in a way that is digitized end-to-end and much more efficient, at a much lower cost.
And third, do that in a way that has an experience embedded in the product, that just blows the consumers and the clients away. And fourthly that the ethics inside this very powerful AI and sensing package, that we have the ethics in place that is just next level. So consumers can trust and feel comfortable participating with the products that really get to the core of what they feel and think.
Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a startup in South Africa?
A: I would not focus on the challenges, for us, being in South Africa is a real advantage for us because our ventures are offshore entities. We sandbox and develop in South Africa and that gives us such a huge advantage.
I think sometimes, for South African start-ups, there is a fair amount of red tape. It’s hard to hire people in South Africa. Labor laws are quite sticky and inflexible. And it’s not easy sometimes, when you deal with foreign exchange regulations, so having your business in South Africa that wants to build an international investor base, it’s not always easy. We put solutions in place to work around that, and for us, operating in South Africa, yet being a global business, is hugely advantageous for us.
Q: Who or what has been your most helpful ally?
A: The lack of historical innovation in many of these verticals has been a very helpful ally. So we gain enormously from the fact that the existing alternatives are actually rather poor. And so they give us a very attractive target to innovate against. We can come up with much better solutions, 10X solutions in education, healthcare, marketing and senior living. That helps us a lot in many of those industries where incumbents that are only partially digitized and are not naturally very fleet footed. So that helps us a lot.
Q: What’s on your business growth wish list?
A: Looking to really trigger amazing growth for us, we need to create the virtuous cycle and a couple of things need to fall in place. We need to get a number of entries off the ground to show that they have real traction and we need to use that to access growth capital from investors. We need to use that growth capital to really amaze the consumers of these products. So we get feedback from them and that drives further demand that we need the components to drive the flywheel, which is what all founders are trying to do. And we have the foundations for that. But we’re quite early days and I think the most critical thing for us right now is Investor support. And then, real traction on our own ability to execute and take these ventures to the market.
Q: What is your take on doing business in South Africa?
I think South Africa has a real potential to be a home for international businesses. If you configure it correctly you can draw on the best of South Africa, which is a sophisticated and materially sized market with a blend of emerging market and established consumer segments, with stable regulation in sectors like financial services. And so it’s a beautiful, beautiful sandbox. It has a very deep talent pool and a very established founder and vendor community and that is a real asset.
If you would like to contact YellowSpot, please reach out [email protected]