Part A: Executive Summary
Brain.io is a software application for managing productivity with cognitive neuroscience. The application is accessible on the cloud. The benefits of the service include improved productivity, which contributes to higher levels of performance. The distribution is through product placement partners and customer acquisition channels.
Statistical evidence from the industry shows the productivity challenge, which translates to lost hours and revenue losses. Research shows the effectiveness of neuroscience techniques for higher levels of productivity.
Professionals and businesses are increasingly using productivity tools for better performance. The neuroscience-based approach to enhancing productivity is highly relevant as a growing number of professionals are seeking neuroscience solutions on social networking channels and digital media. Communities on Quora and YouTube dedicated to neuroscience have millions of users, for instance.
The entry strategy is a free monthly trial, where customers avail the services for free and decide whether they want to continue. They also receive incentives for referring to other customers or bringing friends to use the service. For customer engagement, there are plans for demos and shows at major corporate events throughout the year.
Lumosity is one of the competitors. Their primary strategy is to improve cognition through games or gamification. The differentiation process is to use a combination of do-it-yourself kits and workshops, which are more effective than gamification techniques.
Customers can try the software for free as beta users and provide feedback for further development or the features they would like to experience. Following the trial period, the service is available for $9.99 per month. Compared to Lumosity, the service is better and costs 30 per cent less, which makes it affordable compared to the loss of revenues from productivity challenges.
The founding team includes experts in business, computer science, marketing, and neuroscience. Each founding member is responsible for a business function, which is a core function of the company.
The business is incorporated as Brain Inc. The business functions are categorized into four major processes, which are SaaS Application, Marketing, Finance, and Operations. These functions will be supported by a team of professionals who will carry out activities for growing the business.
The marketing plan includes one-month free onboarding, incentives for referrals, and engaging potential customers in the digital media space. The program also includes viral hacks to reach a large community of users in a short time.
For launching Brain Inc, $500K is required for developing the SaaS application and beginning operations. The financial projects show that the business could be profitable within three years of operations. Investments and founder contributions will be used to fund the venture.
The productivity market is highly responsive to neuroscience techniques and applications based on established neuroscience practices. The growth plan is to empower the community on social media and provide opportunities for discovery and learning. Viral growth hacking is one of the main techniques for reaching the audience on social media. Consultants and experts are responsible for onboarding business customers for a 20 per cent share of sales.
The founders have invested over $65K for developing the business. $465K is required as investments for developing the SaaS product and growing the business. Within three years, incomes of $1.7 million could be achieved with over 74 per cent margins.
Part B: Proof of Concept
Brain Inc is a SaaS application, which is accessible on the cloud. The software application is accessible for $9.99 per month for individual subscriptions. The software could be purchased for annual and group subscriptions for a discount. The software is designed to help businesses achieve productivity by applying neuroscience principles for do-it-yourself and hands-on activities to boost workforce productivity. Consultants and experts in neuroscience are responsible for onboarding customers, for a 20 per cent share of sales. The marketing plan is designed to provide easy access to the cloud and reach over 10 million customers on digital media. The growth plan is designed to achieve over 1.7 million profits in 3 years, with margins of over 74 per cent.
Part C: Business Concept
Business Concept Statement
Brain Inc is a software-as-a-service application for business productivity. As Luoma, Rönkkö, and Tyrväinen (2012) advised, the SaaS model is highly relevant for this business. Kim et al. (2019) provide evidence for the case for individual productivity. Professionals and employees can use the software for improving work performance. Benefits are achieved by superior cognitive performance, which includes decision-making and sensory capabilities. Brain Inc software is accessible on the cloud as a platform, and consultants are responsible for onboarding customers.
Purpose of the Business
Within businesses, productivity is a huge challenge (Statista, 2017). Thirty-five per cent of employers are losing 1 hour or more due to productivity challenges. For instance, for 1 million workers, this translates to $10 million in wages paid without productive work. The software application helps professionals and employees perform better with enhanced cognitive abilities, contributing to effective decision-making.
Brain Inc software application is based on scientific principles that contribute to the field of neuroscience. As suggested by Habjan and Pucihar (2017), the business model is customer-centric. The software application features modules for do-it-yourself kits, and workshops by professionals. The instruction is designed to achieve superior cognitive skills by transforming the neural networks in the brain.
The business model is a monthly subscription service, which starts at $9.99 per month for an individual subscription. Professionals and firms can subscribe to individual or group plans and enjoy the full range of services.
Customers of Brain Inc include professionals and businesses. Within these client groups, there is an established demand for productivity solutions for better performance at work.
Spin-Offs or Secondary Market
The secondary market includes opportunities for neuroscientists to sell services on the platform for customers who need other related services or consultancy solutions.
Qualifications of Key Managers
Mary Abrahams has a graduate degree in computer science from the University of Illinois. Tony Rizzoli has a bachelor’s degree in business from Texas A&M University, a specialization in marketing, and two years of industry experience. Rafael Sharapova is a neuroscientist with a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University. Rachel McGrath has a master’s in finance from University College London. The team will be responsible for SaaS Application, Marketing, Finance, and Neuroscience functions, respectively.
Management Team Needs
One of the main requirements for Brain Inc is to scale fast, without burning a lot of cash. This could be achieved by engaging in growth hacking. Though the team has experts in the functional domains, the team does not yet have a growth hacking expert. This gap needs to be addressed by recruiting a chief growth officer.
Part D: Management Team
The executive team has the following members, highly qualified industry professionals for the business function they are responsible for.
Mary Abrahams, Chief Technology Officer
Tony Rizzoli, Chief Scientist
Rafael Sharapova, Chief Marketing Officer
Rachel McGrath, Chief Financial Officer
Part E: Market Analysis
According to Statista (2019), business productivity software-generated over $98 billion in revenues in 2018.
By 2021, business productivity software could grow to over $106 billion by 2121. The statistics show that the industry is on a strong uptrend, which could continue in the future as the demand for productivity will rise.
The findings show that the growth potential is robust for Brain Inc. Throughout the world, there is a need for higher levels of productivity as professionals and employees suffer from the inability to focus, which takes a toll on productivity levels.
The target geographic locations for Brain Inc include the developed economies of North America and Europe. These include business customers, who employ staff for executing business activities that require cognitive skills.
Trends, Patterns of Change, and Entry Barriers
In recent years, neuroscience has generated new insights that contribute to higher levels of productivity. When combined with data science, these insights could help develop next-gen technologies, which contribute to higher levels of productivity. This is an emerging area of practice, and there are limited barriers to entry. The main obstacle is the cost associated with customer acquisition, which could be $5 to $10 per customer.
The productivity software market could grow to over $106 billion by 2021. A 1 per cent market share could bring in $1 billion in revenues. SaaS products are characterized by high-profit margins, which could be above 70 per cent. This could translate to over $700 million in revenues for a 1 per cent market share.
Sales Patterns and Gross Margins
The SaaS productivity markets are robust, and there is a high demand for productivity software. Margins for SaaS applications range from 70 to 95 per cent. Using conservative estimates, 70 per cent of margins have been considered.
The target market includes businesses in North America and Europe. The SaaS application is designed as a solution for B2B customers.
Primary Target Markets
The primary target markets include businesses in the United States. The range of companies includes small to large companies, who employ people who use cognitive skills to achieve business functions.
The secondary markets include business consumers who need consulting services. Consultants could provide these services on the Brain Inc platform. The secondary markets are based on the networking effects of media.
Exhibit 2 shows the growth and decline of business applications for various states. While some states are experiencing a decline in business applications, many states are experiencing growth in over 8 per cent (Census.gov, 2020). States like Kentucky, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and New Mexico, among others, are experiencing a growth in business applications. The declining conditions include the most significant states, and the findings show the need for productivity increases.
Results of Primary Research
The results of primary research provide evidence for the following trends:
- A strong tendency for productivity software, which could grow to $106 billion by 2021Declining business applications in the largest states, which is increasing the need for productivity tools
- 35 per cent of businesses lose over 1 hour in productivity losses
- Novel insights on productivity from neuroscience applications
A typical customer is a business that employs employees who use cognitive skills for accomplishing business functions (Beaudoin, 2013). Cognitive techniques include sensory techniques such as reading and writing, for achieving business processes, including decision-making. Businesses have small to large companies across the industry sectors and employ more than two employees. These organizations suffer from productivity challenges and pay employees for accomplishing activities that are not productive.
Customer Needs Analysis
One in three organizations is suffering from challenges, contributing to less than optimal outcomes for business performance. Employees suffer from various cognitive challenges, which contribute to the loss of focus and deterioration in performance. Each hour lost in productivity is approximately $10 in wages, but the actual losses are more significant as the value of goods and services amounts to more than $10 per hour.
The Brain Inc software platform is available for a free one-month trial. Following the trial period, the SaaS application is for $9.99 per user. For more prominent organizations, group discounts are available, and the rates are negotiable for the number of users. Consultants on the Brain Inc platform can offer consultancy services, and they pay 20 per cent of the fees to Brain Inc.
The value chain includes the learning-to-performance solution, contributing to effectiveness in organizational productivity as suggested by Piboonrungroj, Williams, and Simatupang (2017). Corporate users can integrate the administrative process to the Brain Inc platform’s tools and learn performance-enhancing solutions.
Part F: Operational (or Process) Analysis
Product/Service Technical Description
Brain Inc is a software-as-a-service application, where organizational members generate solutions for enhancing cognitive functions. Use case includes learning faster by eliminating boas and cognitive distortions.
Uses, Design, Prototype
The software application helps each customer design the learning environment beyond usability and user experience, as Urrutia et al. (2018) recommended. The environment includes do-it-yourself kits to enhance cognitive functions and hands-on sessions with instructors online for retaining and mastering cognitive skills. The user interface is based on best practices for user experience. The software application will be hosted on Amazon Web Services.
Continuous innovation is one of the principles of software development. The codebase is hosted on a git and upgraded on an ongoing basis. The application is hosted on the cloud, and customers can enjoy the upgraded environment on the cloud. Every major upgrade has a version number, 1.1, 2.1, and so on.
Product/Service Development Status and Related Costs
The product design has been accomplished. In the next phase, the application is to be coded. It will take 9 to 12 months to code the complete application and make it available to customers. The cost of developing the software is $150K.
Current Status of Development
The application design is complete. This includes mockups for users. The next phase of development comprises coding the application.
The tasks completed include the following:
Market Research, Jan 2019 to Mar 2019, $10K
Product Design, Apr 2019 to Jul 2019, $25K
Mockups, Aug 2019 to Nov 2019, $5K
Business Development, Aug 2019 to Dec 2019, 25K
Potential Difficulties and Hesitations
The main difficulties include customer acquisition. The founders have spent over $65K in developing the business. $150K is required for coding, and another $300K is necessary for business development and operations. Investments are needed for taking the project forward. In the absence of assets, the venture will face challenges in development and growth.
Brain Inc will operate as an incorporated business. The process of business registration requires a name search and incorporation after paying a fee. These legal requirements could be accomplished in less than a month.
Physical Distribution Plan
The distribution plan for engaging customers is presented in Table 1. The graph shows the method for product placement in the target group and the desired reach.
Table 1. Distribution Plan
|SaaS||Cloud||Consultant Onboarding||B2B Customers; 1 million|
|Marketing Partners||B2B Audience; 10 million|
|Education||Online||Marketing||Industry; 10 million|
|Business Partners||General Audience; 50 million|
Part G: Organizational Plan
Legal Business Entity
The organizational plan is to achieve business functions with minimal resources and common organizational challenges. The business is incorporated as Brain Inc. The cloud platform could use a domain name, such as Brain.io.
The organizational design is presented in Table 2. It shows the corporate strategy for business operations. One position is open, and the Chief Growth Officer could be recruited after the SaaS application is launched.
Table 2. Organizational Design
|Mary Abrahams||Tony Rizzoli||Rafael Sharapova||Rachel McGrath||Open|
|CTO||Chief Scientist||CMO||CFO||Chief Growth Officer|
|Technology & SaaS Operations||Neuroscience Programs||Marketing||Sales & Finance||Business Development|
Essential Management Duties and Responsibilities
The CTO is responsible for developing the SaaS codebase and ensuring that the software can deliver the solutions. The Chief Scientist is responsible for ensuring that the neuroscience is practical and capable of providing the results. The CMO is responsible for engaging the audience, while the CFO is responsible for the business’s sale and finance activities.
Part H: Marketing Plan
Purpose of the Marketing Plan
The goal of the marketing plan is to achieve growth and increase revenues. Within a year of operations, the project is to acquire 1 million paying B2B customers. The audience’s overall reach is 10 million customers who will enjoy various opportunities for engagement. The engagement approach is by using the digital media space and partnerships with consultants and placement partners, who are responsible for placing the product in the reach of consumers, and onboarding customers.
The target market includes businesses suffering from productivity challenges. Industry research shows that companies in 50 per cent of states are suffering from declining business applications. Some states are experiencing a surge in business applications. This phenomenon’s main reason is the loss of business due to productivity challenges as indicated by data on Statista (2017). Thirty-five per cent of companies suffer from productivity declines, thereby costing the businesses money. The solution is to enhance productivity by employing techniques from neuroscience that contribute to higher levels of performance.
Unique Market Niche
The unique selling proposition for Brain Inc is the application of principles for neuroscience for enhancing the cognitive performance of employees or staff with do-it-yourself activities and hands-on sessions.
The name of the SaaS application is Brain Inc.
Plan to Reach the First Customer
The plan for reaching the first customer is by engaging consultants, neuroscience experts, to demo the software’s capabilities to B2B customers, and onboarding customers with a free trial offer.
Part I: Technology and Intellectual Property Plan
Role of Technology as a Competitive Business Advantage
Technology and intellectual property are two sources of competitive advantage for the business. These include the SaaS application and a knowledgebase of neuroscience insights, which are the basis for the technology-enabled solution.
This venture’s worldview is the use of software on the cloud to deliver neuroscience-based solutions to business customers. This approach contributes to operational effectiveness and allows the business the opportunity to serve customers on the cloud.
Role and Management of Intellectual Property
The executive management is responsible for leading the functions shown in Table 2. The revenue model is membership, which is available for individual or group subscriptions. Customers can subscribe per month or year, and avail discounts for group and annual memberships. The software is the copyright on Brain Inc. The SaaS also includes proprietary techniques, which are Brain Inc. Consultants and sales partners’ property, who onboard customers receive a 20 per cent share of sales. These are exclusive rights for customers.
Part J: Financial Plan
Summary of Key Points and Capital Requirements
Incomes from the first three years of operations include $172,644, $458,128K, and $1.72 million respectively. A margin of 74 per cent is achieved, which is better than the targeted 70 per cent, which is typical for SaaS products.
Needs Assessment Breakout
The founders have contributed $65K for developing the business plan for Brain Inc. The firm needs $465K for startup and operations. This includes working capital of $50K for the first few months of operations.
The funding plan includes raising $465K from investors for an equity stake in the firm.
Part K: Growth Plan
The plan for growth includes consultants and sales partners’ involvement, who are industry experts and help onboard customers. The strategy for growth is to provide a high incentive to consultants and sales partners for onboarding customers. Consultants and sales partners are experts in neuroscience and have expertise in demonstrating the value of high-performing applications. Consultants and sales partners will have access to tools and technologies for showing the full potential of the software. Customers also enjoy a free trial for one month to try the software for no obligation. The digital channel is fully optimized for customers to access the software, learn about the application, and experience it by trying how it performs.
The primary resources for Brain Inc include financial and human resources. Investors could contribute to more resources for the firm.
- Beaudoin, L. (2013). Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265848295_Cognitive_Productivity_Using_Knowledge_to_Become_Profoundly_Effective
- Census.gov. (2020). Business Formation Statistics by State. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/bfs-by-state.html
- Habjan, K. & Pucihar, A. (2017). The Importance of Business Model Factors for Cloud Computing Adoption: Role of Previous Experiences. Organizacija. 50. 10.1515/orga-2017-0013.
- Kim, Y., Choe, E., Lee, B., & Seo, J. (2019). Understanding Personal Productivity: How Knowledge Workers Define, Evaluate, and Reflect on Their Productivity. 10.1145/3290605.3300845. Retrieved from https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3290605.3300845.
- Luoma, E., Rönkkö, M., & Tyrväinen, P. (2012). Current Software-as-a-Service Business Models: Evidence from Finland. Software Business: Third International Conference, ICSOB 2012, Cambridge, MA, USA, June 18-20, 2012. Proceedings. 114. 181-194. 10.1007/978-3-642-30746-1_15.
- Piboonrungroj, P., Williams, S. & Simatupang, T. (2017). The emergence of value chain thinking. International Journal of Value Chain Management. 8. 40. 10.1504/IJVCM.2017.10003558.
- Statista. (2017). Loss of productivity among employees in North America due to stress in 2014. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/315853/employee-loss-of-productivity-due-to-stress-in-north-america/
- Statista. (2019). Business productivity software market revenue in the World from 2016 to 2021 (in billion U.S. Dollars)*. https://www.statista.com/forecasts/963643/business-productivity-software-revenue-in-the-world
- Urrutia, J., Brangier, E., Senderowicz, V., & Cessat, L. (2018). Beyond “Usability and User Experience”, Towards an Integrative Heuristic Inspection: From Accessibility to Persuasiveness in the UX Evaluation. International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics. 460-470. 10.1007/978-3-319-60492-3_44.
Part L: Appendices
Financial & Marketing Plan Attached
Exhibit 1. Productivity Loss (Statista, 2017)
Exhibit 2. Business Formation Statistics (Census.gov, 2020)
Exhibit 3. Brain Inc Marketing Map