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Bridge the gap.
take a leap.

become a category leader

"The amateur does not know what to do. 

The master knows what not to do."

why it matters

Growth Strategy for a new market category is different from Matured Enterprise growth or taking existing market share from incumbent. Most innovative products create new market economics. A Category leader takes ~50% of revenues and ~70% of profits for the entire market category.

Plus, talents and partners choose to work with leaders. 

Where are you?

Get back on track to stage-based growth, focusing on the most important anchor point to guide you to the next. Are you doing you want to do instead of what you need?



Product Market Fit Stage

You enter this stage when your Prototype product has been tested with an Innovator buyer, either validated the concept or tested the core technology in a lab environment. 

For a deep tech-led startup, you are at Technology Readiness Level 4-6* stage and ready to move into Level 7-9*. (*see TRL details below) You need pilot customers to build and test the MVP unit that makes the core technology usable.

For a market insight-led startup, you have been validated with agreements to test the benefits, and you need pilot customers so that you can build the MVP product at this stage. Pilot customers tend to be passionate advocates of the problem or conscious consumers.

Buyers at this stage are Early Adoptors who can see the potential and are looking for new and innovative solutions and products. They are also willing to pay for and tolerate the current state of your product.

Accelerators and incubators help facilitate connections for pilot customers and partners to find Early Adoptors. 

TRL Levels pdf used by Defence Science & Tech Group

TRL Levels pdf used by Australia Renewable Energy Agency



Go-To-Market Fit Stage

You have finished a few pilot projects or had a few paying customers who tested the product from different segments and for different use cases. 

For a deep tech-led startup, it is about moving through TRL 7-9* and seeing how the product performed in a live operating environment and responding or delivering the expected value as envisioned at a system level.


In B2B, you might have stumbled upon a few different types of early adopters in different customer segments that see the potential and test the MVP. Not all customers will continue with the project, or the initiative might fizzle out.


In B2C, a few consumers from different pyschographic segments might have been using it for different reasons.

During this process, you gathered feedback from the customers. This revealed product weaknesses, required bug fixes and identified new customer needs and values. 

Collecting data, insights, feedback, and needs is the most important activity and output from this process for a key decision of pivot. Most Startups don't move to the next stage.


This starts the key transition phase based on those insights gathered from PMFit Stage to go narrow and deeper for Early Majority types of buyers. 

The exit criteria for this stage is to be the defacto standard product for a very small segment and the whole product model is clarified with partners onboarded inorder to deliver the compelling reason to buy for the Early Majority customers. 



Expansion Fit Stage

This stage is deceiving because sales and revenues are increasing or funding has been received to fund growth. Typical move of scaling too early before the sales, commercial, and business model is iterated for a positive profit and growth metric before doubling down on growth.

Hiring and spending for sales and marketing support tend to be assumed as key drivers for growth. And, additional segments, either geographies, use cases, or market segments were added haphazardly, usually from the salesperson. Customer requirements start to drive and pull team effort everywhere for the quickest, easiest sales for chasing revenue numbers.


Typical Risks are:

  • Product roadmap and development were customer-driven, partner-driven, or investor-driven without oversight and alignment.

  • No clear strategy other than a vague guiding mission or chasing for revenue numbers.

  • Market sizing is not big enough to support growth expectations


These are the classic traps that keep Scaleup spinning in circles.


The key focus should be to:

  • get clarity on the best sales model

  • identify the best marketing channels

  • establish a pricing model

  • develop the right business model to scale with a positive unit economics and growth metrics.



Category Fit Stage

At this stage of growth, expansion possibilities and potential will seem endless, yet competition is also heating up. The market demand for the product category is growing and becoming more mainstream.


What you thought was a white space now might start to look and feel more crowded with emerging players, substitute products and solutions and a main competitor stepping up and growing fast.

  • Product development and portfolios of product decisions are overwhelming the team with more possible and potential direction to grow into.

  • Niche competitive players are moving into your customer segments.

  • Larger players are moving into your segments as an adjacent to their core main business.

It becomes noisier and harder to differentiate and defend your initial TAM.


The key risk is a possible market consolidation where a competitor emerges as a Category Leader, and/or is seen as one, leading to partners and customers moving over or switching over at a fast rate. Growth will stall and discounting will be needed to convert customers.


The only defense is to be the Category Leader first and to widen the gap between you and competition.

how we work

Programs, Projects, and Services for aspiring Category Leader.


Our Market/Scale Ready Programs move Startups from

Stage 01 > 02 > 03

as fast as possible through identified critical pathways.

These are 1-1 programs with structured curricula to work through and focused output. 


Moving Scaleup from

Stage 03 > 04 > Leader  

needs a tailored design project to plug the gap to be a Category Leader.


Anything between a Program and Project can be supported with

on-demand services. Reach out for a discovery conversation.

Expertise and support your cohort can count on. 

ALL Investors


What else can you do?

work with
the natural  cycle

Work with the existing conditions and natural market lifecycle to focus on the 20% that move the needle to the next stage.  

Surfer riding wave
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