Realism replaces optimism for start-ups


Over the past six months, supply chain start-ups have slightly tempered their (overly) optimistic view of their commercial prospects, according to the findings from the second SCM Start-up Health Check carried out by Supply Chain Media. A total of 42 European supply chain start-ups answered 13 questions on topics ranging from their company size and media visibility to international expansion plans.

Echoing the first Start-up Health Check, this second survey and the associated research reveals that 90% of the start-ups are convinced of the uniqueness of their solution. Despite this overwhelming optimism, the start-ups surveyed do not share the same positive view on all other fronts. The results clearly show that start-ups feel competitive pressure in the market. For example, just 30% of them are truly satisfied with the number of potential customers signing a business contract. “This is not really surprising considering the increasing competition from start-ups in Europe,” says Martijn Lofvers, Chief Trendwatcher at Supply Chain Media. “In our Maturity Matrix published earlier this year, you can see that some of the ten categories are getting quite crowded with competitors.”

Easier for bigger start-ups and scale-ups

Every start-up has to gain a foothold in the market to survive, and supply chain start-ups are no exception. To a large extent, a start-up’s chance of survival depends on its visibility in the media and the number of potential customers. Over 70% of the start-ups and scale-ups with more than ten employees are happy with their media visibility. Younger and smaller companies are finding things more difficult, with just 60% of them positive about their visibility. Their media profile is not the only thing that companies with ten-plus employees are more satisfied with; bigger start-ups and scale-ups are also more than happy with the number of sales leads (95%), prospects who are prepared to run a pilot (83%) and the number of customers willing to extend their current usage (76%).

Small start-ups battle on

Although fledgling companies are no match for the more established start-ups and scale-ups, 66% of them are nevertheless satisfied with their number of sales leads. Just over half of them indicate that potential customers are also prepared to do a pilot. One striking finding from the Start-up Health Check is that the respondents have lots of sales leads in the pipeline. “Potential customers are willing to work on a pilot with a start-up,” notes Marysa Vos, Trendwatcher at Supply Chain Media, “but then it takes longer than desired to sign them up as actual customers.” 67% would like to see deals signed faster, and 55% of the young companies are disappointed in the number of customers that are interested in extending their current usage.

Start-up Contest on 7 May 2020

Supply Chain Media developed the SCM Start-up Health Check in connection with the first European Supply Chain Start-up Contest in 2018 as a way of keeping its finger on the pulse of the start-ups and scale-ups participating in the contest. Registration for the third European Supply Chain Start-up Contest will open in October. Five finalists in the start-up category will once again be selected to pitch their innovative solution at the inNOWvate Supply Chain Event which will be held in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, on 7 May 2020. Additionally, five scale-ups will be in the running for a prize based on a public vote, and other start-ups will have the opportunity to present themselves.

Interested in start-ups? Come to inNOWvate this May, meet start-ups face to face and help decide who wins the supply chain start-up contest! Buy your ticket here.