How to make something people want in 2022

In 2021, European founders raised a record-breaking €113 billion. And as more companies and investors enter the ecosystem, founders may feel lost in a sea of startups, especially as new technology and trends enter the market. Between marketing, building a beautiful UI, and raising double-digit seed rounds, priorities can easily get shuffled.

One thing is for certain: founders need to build something people want.

The idea may be admirably simple, but it is still a challenge to accomplish – one that every founder should embrace. Whether it’s a breakthrough innovation in healthcare, a solution for the supply chain, or an online event platform that’s actually fun to use, the technology can’t take off without enthusiastic users.

So how do you successfully make something people just have to have?

Note: This piece is the last article of the Momo Medical series

Make Something People Want

YCombinator’s famous slogan, “Make something people want,” has motivated thousands of founders worldwide to apply to their accelerator, which helps startups get through the early stages of their journey. And one of the foundations of that process is designing a product customers can’t live without.

Menno Gravemaker, founder of Momo Medical, took this mission to heart during the 12-week programme. While the company designs bed sensors for residents in nursing homes, their motivation is to help nightshift nurses answer the question: “Who needs me right now?” Whether it’s a piece of hardware, an app, or simply a light bulb, Menno wants to build the best solution possible.

Since its founding in 2017, Momo Medical has shipped their MVP to multiple customers throughout the Netherlands and the US. “From the beginning, we have been focused on the product,” Menno says. But even though they’ve had great success with their current product, they continue to iterate and improve in order to find their product-market fit.

Momo medical device at work

Talk to the Customer

“Understanding the night shift and their work process is the key to making something they want and need,” says Jorien de Jonge, Head of Marketing and Clinical Affairs at Momo Medical. By putting the user at the center of the product development process, founders are much more likely to build something people actually want, rather than something they’re simply excited to build.

But it’s not a one-time process. Menno and his team are continuously speaking with customers and updating their solution. For example, Momo Medical learned that good, reliable wireless internet is a struggle in many nursing homes. If their product relied on a strong wireless connection, most nurses wouldn’t find it helpful.

So Menno adopted this problem as his own. He and his team figured out how their app could provide live data from the bed sensors without requiring a stable wifi connection.

By taking a wider view of his customer’s daily experience, Menno was able to make a product that solves a pain point without creating more problems. As a result, this will help Momo Medical serve more nursing homes. Because at the end of the day, founders have to think about who they currently serve before thinking about 1000 customers down the line.

Aim for Improvement, But Don’t Wait for Perfection

Making something people want, something they can’t live without once they’ve tried it…that’s no easy task. No matter how much a business may prepare, there will always be unanticipated obstacles and challenges when launching a product or entering a new market.

But making an imperfect solution and then improving it is what the startup journey is all about.

And you don’t have to go to YC in order to make a must-have product. Start talking to your customer base to learn as much as possible about how they currently address the issue, how your product solves the problem, and how it could be better.

Improving the experience for your first 100 customers will pave an easy road for the next 1000 and beyond.

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