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Linknovate – Connect with Emerging Technologies and the Key-Players Behind Them

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LKN (Linknovate – Connect with Emerging Technologies and the Key-Players Behind Them)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-05-31

Linknovate’s “Innovation Search Engine” is Linknovate’s main product and the source and core of our services. Our complete staff is dedicated to improve and develop this product to achieve its full potential.
Our vision is to dramatically change the way innovation happens today, where companies rely on their network and manual ‘handcrafted’ processes they have to repeat to gather intelligence, particularly in new markets and industries. We want to finally achieve a more systematic approach to innovation and its foundational step, which is understanding emerging markets -and technology-driven markets- thanks to B2B data intelligence on demand.

Mission Statement
Linknovate aims to became the B2B (business to business) search engine for technologists around the world working in New Product Development, Internationalizing of their companies, leading the R&D and Innovation efforts in their organisations. For this we have specialized in scientific and technology data analytics. We have aggregated more data sources than any solution available worldwide, and we are selling this as a tool under a model, which is affordable even to Small Medium Enterprises, as opposed to our competitors (e.g. Elsevier, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg). This is where we start, but who needs a B2B search engine?
We, at Linknovate believe, that every single strategist, business developer and innovators around the world needs B2B intelligence, to answer for market growth, key-players, newcomers, contacts inside those, market estimated size, emerging verticals inside it, funding trends, and other basic metrics.
In the end the brightest minds and skilled knowledge workers of our generation are re-doing the same reports and gathering the same data in multiple places repeatedly. It is Google, Open Data and Paid Market (probably not if we are talking about an SME) to spreadsheets.

We focus on bringing our clients pure data-driven visualizations from hundreds of relevant data sources to their emerging market (i.e. scientific publications, research trends, patenting activity, funding activity, news’ analysis, and others), and allow them to connect with the most relevant key-players and subject matter experts. Our approach provides lead Advanced Technology Offices, R&D teams, NPD managers and Strategists with the data they need before it is too late: also known as, when the Gartner report is out, and their -and all their competitors- have access to the same piece of (pundit-driven) information.
It is this type of business intelligence we are after first. We want to master ‘technology scouting’ in order to move from ‘technologists’ to ‘strategists’ and to ‘business people’. We are starting with an Innovation Search Engine (SME Instrument phase 1): we aim to become the B2B Search Engine.
To answer this questions we are dividing our efforts can be divided in the following categories present in our deliverable: Sales, Piloting New Product Features, Marketing and Partnerships.

Sales
From 2016 to 2017, we have grown from a list of 8 clients (we are still working with most of them) to more than 12 new clients without any major efforts (dedicated staff) in a salesforce: ACIS/Sergas, Estrella Galicia, IBA Group, SIGMA Gestión Universitaria, SyCitv, Buhler AG, Inovalabs, TOLSA, CETMAR, Jofemar, Innolact-Quescrem, Belura SRL, ICL Consulting GmbH, and SUEZ among others for confidential reasons.
We have acquired corporate clients through direct sales (through our own network, cold contacting people, or events) and more recently organic traffic to our site.
• Direct sales: in the beginnings of Linknovate, back in 2012, we used our network to reach clients. We got in touch with several companies like Repsol (today one of our main clients), BMW, or Applied Materials. We learned about their needs and pains, we showed to them our initial prototypes, and we got a lot of feedback about our product market fit. We also went to universities like Stanford or Berkeley and knocked at professors’ doors to hear their thoughts and needs.

Once our first product was launched, we started cold contacting potential clients, either through LinkedIn or emails (with successes like JABIL, current client). We also attended events, in Silicon Valley, where we got in touch with companies like Faurecia (current client).

Nowadays, we maintain these practices, while mainly focussing on assisting and taking an active part in industry-related events, when possible, in order to grow our list of contacts and customer base. We believe our participation in conferences and workshops, as well as the word of mouth from our clients will pay off in the short to medium term.

• Organic traffic: we believe in organic traffic as the key growth channel. It is scalable, affordable, and viral. There is not a reference in our industry yet. We have our humble first product live at linknovate.com. In February 2014, we got 2 million pages crawled by google. We grew from 0 daily organic users to over 1,000 in 2 weeks. But then Google found some issues in our code and we had to remove most of our crawled pages. Back in October 2014 we put the product back, but this time with just over one hundred thousand crawled pages. We saw a big increase in our organic traffic, reaching almost 5,000 daily users many times.
Nevertheless, we are proud of the fact that we have had users from 185 countries in the world (out of 194 that Google Analytics measures). It makes us proud because we know we are helping scientists and engineers worldwide connect with each other and access technical and scientific information. Europe is around 38% of our traffic. United States is the biggest country, and Madrid the biggest city. All our pages are in English so far, which also limits the expansion.
We have also reduced our bounce rate from ~70% in 2015 to ~60% nowadays, which means that we have improved our targeting focus, and the audience we reach is now more in tune with our prospects.
On top of all, we want to start accumulating a lot of user-generated content (UGC) that will be unique to our site.

Piloting New Product Features

As mentioned in the section The Market and The Business Model we hereby described the companies and feedback obtained about our new services/features.
Over the SME Instrument phase 1 period we have increased our offer of services around this ‘personalized’ service (consulting usually has a negative sentiment in companies, and we do not do anything our client needs or the project needs, but what we do best: tech scouting and competitive intelligence). The main addition is our MINI-REPORTS. We found several types of our customers (described in the following sections) are in need of concise market research, specially in the emerging markets and topics w
Today we are already working with:
1. Top tier research groups (principal investigators at Stanford, Max Planck, MIT, Fraunhofer, Oxford, CNRS, ENEA, and around 80% of top 100 research centers and universities have at least once replied to us!)
2. Grant awardees and conference presenters: hundreds of top SMEs and startups in the US and the EU
3. Market leader corporations (as clients, e.g. BMW AG, Repsol, JABIL Inc.).
Nonetheless there is a huge untapped potential in ‘hidden’ small research groups, SMEs and companies in general who are not in the news, or have published or received public funding and in emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, Colombia or Chile. Today we are only able to get to those we discover by doing great content aggregation, but the day will come when this kind of relevant players discover us.
One of the main objectives during Phase 2 to achieve TRL 8-9 is to focus on this new group in order to incorporate them to our system. By adding the big ones first, we will create a traction force to attract those entities and experts who go ‘under the radar’ and hence create a sustainable competitive advantage.
We expect to make an impact for SMEs and researchers by aggregating out of the ordinary sources of data, resulting in insights that otherwise would remain under the radar for them. We want to:
- Make data and metadata readily accessible, by aggregating and indexing both structured text (publications, conference proceedings, grants, patents, and others) and other data sources such as web monitoring under one unique profile (also known as ‘record linkage’). In the future it would have a big impact to also be able to put under that unique profile unstructured sources of data (for what text mining capabilities are needed). A dynamic CV would be available for every single business with the capability to filter by a myriad parameters and do fine-grained search and discovery. Our feasibility assessment of this is also present in our report.
- Make sense of the data, by indexing and creating on-the-fly data visualizations.
- Provide data-driven insights. Provide a data-driven opinion for any topic, instead of just relying in experts, whose opinions may be biased and will always be conditioned by subjectivity.
- Democratizing trend/innovation/market information access. Over the last 2-4 years, big corporations have started to make even stronger bets into advanced technologies offices, innovation hubs, or accelerators, since tech-to-market readiness is shorter and they need to stay on top of emerging technologies. Therefore, our tool will be especially useful and accessible for SMEs as they cannot afford such tech scouting teams and lack of lobbying capabilities.
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