Trace is a serial entrepreneur in NYC and now the Managing Director of NYVP making angel investments
Iteration is the new innovation…
You sometimes never know what you’re looking for until you see it… So I want to start by thanking Mark Rosner for sharing Turing with me. It was our first fully digital post SIP investment a few months ago — we got introduced on a Thursday and wired on Tuesday. Also our first YC investment too because they priced the round and didn’t have a crazy post cap SAFE.
We love the idea of analog to digital transformations and Turing is a prime example of this. How do you think your new Tide detergent gets formulated and updated or should I say “new and improved!”? It’s literally scientists in labs, experimenting with chemicals, running experiments and kind of hoping it works out. But those scientists are only trying to improve the current product a few % points but aren’t strategists or marketers who would know what the consumer wants to based on previous iterations.
Why fix what ain't broke right? According to a McKinsey study:
“McKinsey analysis of market data indicates that large incumbents represent only 6 to 10 percent of packaged food launches in the US in a typical year (Exhibit 1). Separate Nielsen analysis shows that between 2012 and 2015, the top 25 US food & beverage manufacturers accounted for 45 percent of category sales but only 3 percent of category growth.”
Startups are the true innovators here taking risks and creating new products even if most of them won’t succeed. And then we [the royal we] investors hope that they get acquired in the “buy vs build” scenario.
So what’s holding them back? Themselves of course:
“The initial challenge is to find, develop, and scale the right ideas. Those ideas must include both incremental innovations that keep established product lines ahead of the competition, and bolder innovations that open up new areas of the market or even enable entirely new business models. Next, they need to work fast, getting many more products out of the development lab and into the market before competitors can, or customer preferences move on.
Our research has identified four deeply-ingrained legacy R&D practices that can prevent companies from achieving these aims.”
Try teaching “agile” to a bunch of scientists in a research lab that spent countless years perfecting their skills so as not to be rushed. There will be push back, corner-cutting and potential issues in the future by changing the only process they know.
But now imagine with Turing, you can take all of their collective knowledge (even if they left the company) during those countless years, combine it with the ability to do formulations/simulations virtually, not having to wait for lab results AND consumer insight based on how certain chemicals / ingredients combinations sold historically… that’s powerful!
We like to joke that with Turing, WD40, would be WD4.
Turing has already saved some of the largest CPG companies in the world millions of dollars and we’re still calculating how much it will increase their sales overtime.
We’ve had the pleasure to work closely with the Co-Founder Manmit Shrimali since investing and it’s been a true delight. His thoughtfulness and attention to detail, having built most of the first version himself, is very inspiring. He has been working to solve this problem since his first job 17yrs ago and has managed to finally create a digital and scale solution.
Contact them today https://www.turingsaas.com/contact-us
Read their techcrunch coverage https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/05/turing-cpg-ai/
Read the business insider launch coverage https://www.businessinsider.com/ai-startup-turing-labs-rd-consumer-products-2020-7
A nice overview/story from their lead investor https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/turing-labs-gps-consumer-product-rd-ammar-hanafi/