Jyri Engeström works as Entrepreneur in Residence at True Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm focused on supporting early-stage founders. Engeström is best known as the Co-Founder and Chairman of Jaiku. Jaiku grew into the leading European mobile social network before being acquired by Google in 2007.
At his keynote at Slush 2015, Jyri Engeström talked about the elements that successful Internet of Things companies have in common. At True Ventures, Engeström has worked with various IoT firms. Their portfolio includes MakerBot, a 3D printing pioneer, Peloton, the exercise bike that connects its user to a live community of other exercisers, as well as Renovo Motors, a producer of electric supercars. They are the kind of companies that are at the moment radically changing traditional industries as well as our whole society.
“For example Fitbit unleashed an entire industry of innovation in the different kinds of objects that we are now wearing, that are on our clothes, on our skin, and even going inside our skin.”
According to Engeström, the IoT companies that have the most sustained success are often the ones that incorporate services that integrally fit the product. “The service often has a subscription revenue model.”
However, in his opinion, the most important characteristic shared by successful IoT companies is much more simple: They capture our imagination. Based on his experiences of listening to hundreds of pitches, Engeström encouraged founders to ask themselves whether their product is truly memorable.
“Yes, it’s important to think about the numbers and the metrics. But also, and perhaps most importantly, is it something you can buy into not with just your money, but with your heart?”