Accelerating WISP with The Central Research Laboratory
Back in 2017, WISP joined the Central Research Laboratory’s Accelerator Programme , a six month hardware programme catered to helping product-focused startups launch their products and allow for sustainable business growth. Along with grants, we chose CRL’s programme knowing that it would offer us a free coworking space that could provide us with a hardware factory workshop, as well as a good networking experience with other startups.
We spoke with Mandy Nyarko, the accelerator programme manager at the time, and just one of the amazing people who helped us get to where we are today.
“Product development is an iterative process that makers and entrepreneurs go through to ensure their product meets consumers needs and wants and delivers on their value proposition.” - Mandy Nyarko
When we joined the programme, we hadn’t done enough production and though WISP was still in its early prototype days, Nyarko saw potential in our wearable tech, saying “it was futuristic, chic and disruptive.” CRL captured the essence of our product, the vision we had in mind and literally accelerated it.
At CRL, we learnt more about how to make the product, that the IOT of our product was too large with too many constraints, we learnt that our concept had to be boiled down into something much more simple.
Nyarko told WISP that “the jewellery route was interesting”, and there was potential for atmosphere related products. Combining our ideas with their “route to market that proved successful for past competitors”, SENS was finally able to blossom. By the end of the six months the focus finally became more about the marketing and production.
“9 out of 10 startups fail worldwide, however startups that join our Accelerator programme have a 80% survival rate” - CRL
We asked Nyarko what advice she would give to other startups looking to develop their products. “Speak to your potential customers about their problems and listen to what they tell you. Also study their behaviours as sometimes what they say and do are different. Only when you make them the centre of your design will you be successful.”