Forbes recently published an article about Uber Conference, a fast-growing tech company that for the time being focuses on conference call software. The company is backed by the famous venture capitalist, Marc Andreesen who calls the company a two-stage rocket, “The first stage gets it up in the air, and the second stage gets it in orbit.”
So what makes this simple conference call software company a two-stage rocket? It’s not in business to produce conference call software—that just happens to be where the founders saw the lowest hanging fruit to getting the company into a position to attack the bigger vision that they have in mind. Uber Conference’s big play was launched this month—a service called Switch that replaces employees’ phones with an app that works across whichever devices they choose. Employees can take the call on their cell phone while they’re coming into work, then transfer it to their computer at their desk. On top of all of this, various Google Apps recognize the caller and pull relevant emails, meetings, notes, and other shared files for easy access while you’re on the phone.
Backed by Google Ventures, this little company of $12 million in annual revenue (stage 1 to get in the air) isn’t settling with the $4 billion conference call market, they’re aiming for the $75 billion market that comprises Internet voice and unified communications. But certainly, the conference call market is their stepping-stone. They are a viable company with growing revenue without the big play—but the larger picture has always been between their sights from the beginning.
What’s your business’s initial target market? What about stage two?
Do you have a larger market in mind that you will be tackling after you get a strong foothold? What’s so smart about Uber’s approach is the fact that they recognize that reaching orbit is definitely the second stage, and that they had to focus on getting the rocket up in the air before they worried about that phase. I work with too many companies that get some very early traction (minimal lift off) and think that they can already jump to phase 2. Phase 1 is a very critical step. With strong cash flows, your business is in a position to either invest in its own future, or raise more capital at a higher valuation, resulting in a bigger impact.