It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us here at Red Radius. Not to worry, our hiatus was merely as a result of some internal restructuring with the product concept and focusing our product on a core subset of customers.
In order to fine tune the product, we decided to participate in the Chicago Lean Start-up Challenge competition. The competition comprised of 146 new startup companies in Chicago, all following the principals of the Lean Startup Methodology by Eric Ries. (Starting with a blank business canvas and validating all assumptions embedded into the business model). We started out as a geolocation application that helped people connect with others around them (a localized wall/live feed). Red Radius, emerged out of the Lean competition as a web platform that enhances the interaction between conference attendees (particularly Medical Conference attendees). I’ve had some people ask about this change and have put together this blog post to summarize our transition during the challenge.
Enhancing everyday interactions was the core concept that started off Red Radius. Whether at the local coffee shop, a sporting arena or university campus, we wanted to provide a localized live feed through foursquare. The aim: Check into any place or event and be able to interact with everyone else checked into that same location through a live feed. Following the principles of the Lean Methodology, we had to validate every part of our business model/canvas by getting out of the building and talking to customers and users. Through our initial investigations, one question kept coming up over and over again; “What problem does this solve”? Finding someone else to connect with at a university campus or sporting arena was not particularly a big problem for people at these places. At the end of it all, the idea came off as a cool technology looking for a problem. Pivot!
We decided to focus more on places/events where people go in order to connect with others. This led us to networking events and singles socials/mixers. People attend these events to either find someone to network with professionally or personally. With that in mind, we set out to investigate three main things.
- The main reason people attend networking events
- The top three problems faced by event attendees
- The solutions currently in place for these problems
Here’s what we found from our investigations into this scene.
- A majority of event attendees or users need to be on the Red Radius platform for a person to see the value added. (There’s a critical mass needed for a “working live feed”. At least a third of attendees must be on the platform.) For this to happen, you must tie in the application to the registration process; however foursquare in our case wasn’t the right platform for a professional setting.
- The main goal of networking event attendees is not only to find leads and good contacts but also to expand networks. In this regard, everyone at a networking event is a potentially key contact.
- Finding the right contact/person at networking events and singles mixers is a big problem. Yet using, simple tools such as asking the right open ended questions would determine a person’s value added in the first few minutes. This was not a “morphine problem”, more so a “vitamin problem”.
Nevertheless, we concluded that people go to networking events and singles mixers/socials for the face to face interaction. Mixers and networking events normally do not get any larger than a crowd of 300. In order to gain the critical mass needed for a successful live feed, at least a 100 people need to be constantly interacting on the platform. Frankly we couldn’t see a third of people at these events staring down at their phones rather than walking up to the next person to start a conversation. Pivot!
In order to gain the critical mass needed for a successful live interaction on a networking application and enhance connections, we needed to get a small piece of a bigger pie and in this regard, we started to think about tradeshows and conferences. After all, people attended conferences and tradeshows with goals in mind; Connecting with another business or individual and expanding their network. We started toying around with the idea that Red Radius could be used at tradeshows and conferences due to three main problems that we saw based on our customer/user interviews.
- Inability of exhibitors to attract customers who are not in the immediate vicinity of booths.
- Ineffectiveness of qualifying passer bys.
- Access and visibility to the right people. (the right customers, business clients etc.)
How do we tell an exhibitor that their ideal client/customer has made it to the premises, enable them to interact with that customer and pull in other potential customers to their booths? Trade shows and conferences are a huge investment for companies and therefore, tools that will help maximize positive outcomes will be readily utilized. Through our investigations, we realized that the number one problem for exhibitors and attendees was the lack of effective interaction. It was tough to find the right people at conferences and trade shows. Conference organizers try to tackle this problem by creating targeted breakout sessions at different points of an event based on certain topics. For this reason, we decided to conduct more investigations with conference and trade show planners.
It was during our investigations with conference planners that we stumbled across the problem that existed in the Medical conference world. Similar to the tradeshows and other conferences, it is difficult for medical conference attendees to easily meet and connect with the right people. However the problem in this area was a bit trickier than other areas. Due to increased regulation put in place by the government regarding practitioners/thought leader interaction with pharma reps, a gap had been created in the space. This as lean startup folks would put it was a “morphine problem” looking for a solution. A tool that would provide access and visibility to these two groups and even out the playing field for all attendees would prove to be invaluable.
Red Radius is that tool. We are still true to the concept of enhancing interaction between people at a certain location. The location is now, medical conferences and we are merely connecting two groups of people that are in need of a solution due to external factors and other constraints. Red Radius is a web application that enhances the interaction between medical conference attendees. Our tool helps attendees to quickly find the right people and set up one on one meeting with them.
Below is a product demo video for Red Radius. Please let us know what you think. As always, constructive criticism is welcome. Hopefully, we’ve somewhat made clear the path that was taken during the Lean Start-up Challenge.