Steadiwear gloves are helpful, but much needs to be done to improve their design and ensure effectiveness. This is because ineffectiveness might easily discourage the patients from preferring the devices and turn to pharmacological treatments. Steadiwear should invest around $ 10 million in product research design to ensure that their devices can be effective to a considerable degree. This would help the company have a competitive advantage in the tremor therapy market, estimated to reach $ 215.5 million by 2027 (Market Watch). The following suggestions must be implemented to ensure that the business develops effectively: to minimize investment risks, Steadiwear should be watchful on the constantly changing factors that impact the market and the changes in market regulation in Canada which will affect the current and future market trends.
Steadiwear is a partnership co-founded by Mark Elias and Emile Maamary in 2015. Its headquarters are located in Toronto, Ontario. Mark Elias thought of starting the business after seeing how his aunt and grandmother struggled with essential tremors. Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that negatively affects the quality of life, causing disability and social handicap. Mark Elias and Emile Maamary focused on providing gloves that are lightweight and battery-free and which utilize ‘smart’ fluids, thus enabling people suffering from tremors to carry out their daily activities with ease (Seale). Steadiwear has created a glove that intelligently stabilizes the wrist joint (Pitchbook). As much as it helps reduce daily life frustrations, Steadiwear also focuses on reducing healthcare costs of the tremor and Parkinson’s disease patients.
Market signals are essential for a company to understand the market and compare the features of its products with that of its competitors, thus making informed decisions. Steadiwear utilizes market signals, including growth rate and size multiples, among others, to identify customers’ perceptions of their products. The marketing signals convey information regarding product quality and the moves the competitors are making, which are likely to affect the companies’ competitive behavior (Drucker). Therefore, a combination of the marketing signals and the investors are two factors that help the company to have maximum control of its business operations.
For a business to be successful, there should be a huge market that needs an effective solution that the business provides.
Projected Market. Market analysis shows that the wearable tremor therpy market has a worldwide market opportunity of approximately 230 million tremor patients. Of the 230 million patients, 67% of the patients have a functional disability and are unable to eat, write or drink. 60% of the patients experience tremors due to social isolation and depression, and 90 % of the patients are yet to be diagnosed. A huge market is yet to be penetrated by the companies focusing on this market (Frost and Suvillan). Therefore, the domestic sale of the company should focus more on capturing a considerable number of the 90% of the people who most of the time move to alternative therapies before diagnosis or getting a first or second-line diagnosis.
PROPOSED BUSINESS SOLUTION
A high potential business is always aimed at solving problems for their customers and thus improves the quality of their lives. Steadiwear is working to serve patients with essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease. Steadiwear has been focusing on structural engineering principles to ensure that it designs gloves that can be used by the patients as alternative therapies. This helps the company serve its company with the confidence that it is providing unparalleled solutions (Seale n.p). The immediate goal of the business is to continuously improve their gloves by ensuring that they are lightweight, compact, and able to selectively dampen tremors (Seale n.p). Focusing on such key features of the products would ensure that the consumers get what they require. However, Steadiwear needs to conduct more research on other companies that are creating the same products, an example being GyroGear, London. GyroGear has adopted the latest aerospace technology and satellite-grade mechanical gyroscopes, and this has enabled the company to create products that not only bring relief to the patients but also restore their normal hand function (Chiang). Therefore, Steadiwear’s product research and development should focus more on understating aerospace technology and use the technology in product creation; to ensure the company has a competitive advantage in Canada and also in the future when it shall focus on expanding its operations in different parts of the world.
Weaknesses and Recommendations. The wearable technology concept is increasing in popularity due to its specific health applications and the increase in the approvals of the devices which are deemed medically accurate to be used by patients. The industry has been dominated by some key players such as Merz Pharma GmbH, Haptx (USA), Nuada (Portugal), and Gyrogear (United Kingdom), which are in the pharmaceutics and medical industry. Although Steadiwear has some dominance in the Canadian market, the nature of these companies makes it have a weak global competitive advantage. If Steadiwear would focus on the global market, then it would increase its competitive advantage in Canada, and this would enable it to gain more customers and increased brand loyalty.
Having an increased customer base would allow investors to value the company more. Establishing such a strong following could be achieved by utilizing the app technology to ensure that the company is able to connect with more people, and this would help in understanding the customer needs. Customer feedback would help the company identify the product’s features to change. Secondly, the app would help Steadiwear share relevant questions and insights on how to use its products. Thirdly, Steadiwear would offer newsletters that have insights and establishments on the latest technologies used in the treatment of tremors. In conclusion, the app would be beneficial to the customers by enabling them to learn and also get the required services.
A business needs to identify and utilize any available opportunities for it to thrive. This is done by constantly checking the specific industry trends, competitive landscape, and overall environment.
Macro Environment. Essential tremor neurological disorder is associated with the nervous system. Its main symptoms include rhythmic and involuntary shaking of some body parts, such as the hands. The trembling is observable when a person is doing simple tasks like drinking and eating. Essential tremor is not a dangerous disease, but it can progress and worsen in some situations. Most people confuse the essential tremors with Parkinson’s disease; however, the difference is that tremors occur when using hands, while Parkinson’s disease occurs when the hands are in resting positions. Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition affecting 1 in every 500 people in Canada. More than 100,000 Canadians have Parkinson’s, with approximately 6,600 new cases diagnosed yearly based on an annual report of 20 new cases in every 100,000 people. As expressed, Canada has a considerable number of people who would form a huge customer base.
The two main risk factors of someone having essential tremors are age and genetic mutation (Persistence market research). Essential tremors mostly occur in individuals 40 years and above, with a prevalence rate of 4% in older people and 50% of the cases being transferred to children (Persistence market research). Also, the essential tremors incident rates are approximately 616 people in 100,000 population (Persistence Market Research). As much as other treatments for the crucial tremor condition, tremor control devices are also used to provide the invasive treatment characteristic for the condition (Persistence market research).
The increasing interest in non-pharmacological approaches to dealing with neurological conditions, the increasing geriatric population, and the increase in the prevalence of tremors are factors that can grow the wearable tremor therapy market. The wearable tremor therapy devices offer a platform that utilizes a combination of disciplines such as robotics, engineering, physiotherapy, and clinical evaluation. The essential tremors have often been treated using propanol. Despite the propanol being effective, there has been a concern with the drug tolerance that the patients develop after using it. Also, most of the patients poorly respond to pharmacological medications, increasing the attractiveness of the wearable tremor therapy options.
Industry Environment. Many factors can contribute to the growth and strengthening of the wearable tremor market, including growing urbanization, increased non-pharmacological applications, and the growing number of multinational corporations (Market Watch). The essential tremor treatment market is likely to expand with a forecast period of 2012-2027 (Market Watch). Countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa have ventured into this treatment.
Competitive Environment. Much of the competition is in the wearable tremor device industry is global, with major players being Cala Health Inc., Trequant, Five Microns Inc., Indiegogo Inc., Klick Health, and GyroGear Ltd. Steadiwear faces competition from Merz Pharma GmbH and Co KgaA. Merz Pharma is a privately owned pharmaceutical company that operates in Frankfurt, Germany, with affiliates in the U.S, Canada (Burlington ON), Brazil, Mexico, Asia Pacific, and Brazil. Its headquarters are in North Carolina, the USA, and Singapore. Having Merz Pharma as competition decreases Steadiwear’s market share and also reduces its customer base. Such competition can also force Steadiwear to lower its prices to maintain competitiveness, decreasing the profitability of the products.
Weaknesses and Recommendations. The wearable tremor devices industry lacks sufficient evidence that proves that wearable tremor devices are effective. This restrains the possibility of market growth as most companies depend on such information to know where to adjust to growing their brands. Companies should do more research for information on validation studies that consider scientific research methodologies for clinical trials. Doing such research would ensure that there is adequate evidence from data. However, companies should understand that the poor understanding of technologies used in the industry among the less literate and those living in the lower economic regions can constrain the market’s growth. Therefore, it is required that Steadiwear invests more in educating the target market in such economies of their products.
Due to the competition that Steadiwear faces from global brands in Canada, it should focus on price analysis, reducing the cost of raw materials, consumption volumes, upstream and downstream value-chain analysis to forecast its market outlook. Steadiwear should also focus on the global competitive environment focusing on the leading companies such as Saga Therapeutics Inc. to gain more insights on their marketing strategies, current and historical background, and market contributions. After getting the required information, Steadiwear should have a good strategic plan covering the factors impeding market growth to know the strategies to employ to gain better opportunities in the market (Market Watch). In addition, Steadiwear should also engage market experts for a better understanding of the market.
ECONOMICS AND MONEY MAKING
Financial viability is important for the success of a business with respect to revenue streams, investment requirements, and costs.
Revenue Streams. Revenues streams are important in determining companies’ revenues. From the revenue streams, companies are able to come up with strategies that are extremely helpful in sales growth and also in the deployment of resources. Steadiwear is currently at a bad place in terms of sales. According to the estimation of the value inflection points for 12 months, the company was estimated to have 2000 units of steadi-2 sold by 10 distributors to 50 clinics. However, currently, only 5 clinics and 2 distributors are secured with no units sold. In contrast, Merz Pharma Canada has an estimated sales of $66. 32 million in its Canadian locations, inclusive of sales from pharmacological treatment. Therefore, the low sales of Steadiwear, which are approximately $ 270K, fall below the sales growth range for a business with high potential (Adam JR n.p). Therefore, Steadiwear needs to be vigilant in marketing by employing a marketing mix which would help it in planning a successful product offering and also developing and executing effective marketing strategies.
Business Costs. Steadiwear gets most of its fundings from revenues and grants, which are approximated to be $ 1.6 million. Due to lower sales than projected sales, Steadiwear cannot be able to comfortably self-fund from its profits. Therefore, in the future, the company needs to get more investors as the cost of production and other costs such as those of marketing will have increased, and funding may not be enough.
Weaknesses and Recommendations. A significant weakness for Steadiwear is its low sales and low market penetration. This is problematic because of the major competition that the company faces, Merk Pharma. The following recommendations should therefore be considered to encourage recurring revenue in the company: Steadiwear should consider having Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management take a 50 % equity in the company so as to increase the chances of its growth as investors would each put in their resources.
Steadiwear is a promising business that addresses a serious problem affecting a huge market. Steadiwear cofounders is a string combination of competency and compassion. There are multiple suggestions that have been made to strengthen and develop the business further. Steadiwear should focus on understanding the shifting dynamics in the industry to know where to focus on to gain a competitive advantage. Focusing on an in-depth market segmentation would help the company to better understand its target market and tailor-make the products to suit the customer preferences. It is also important for the company to understand the competition landscape, industry trends, and strategies used by key players to understand what is required for the company to succeed even at a global level. Steadiwear is a company being led by cofounders who are focused on providing a solution for the tremor and Parkinson’s disease business. Applying the recommendations would ensure that the mission and vision of the company are achieved and that the business is able to grow beyond Canadian borders.
Appendix A. The following framework was developed and used to evaluate Steadiwear identify areas of needed improvement. All the business merits are from different website with information about Steadiwear. The framework was developed as outlined in Chapter 5 of New Venture Creation (Adams JR & Spinelli JR, 2016).
|High Potential Criteria (Adams JR & Spinelli JR, 2016)||Good||Not-so-good||Very Problematic|
|Projected Market||Tremor and Parkinson’s Disease patients
$ 4 million sales potential
|Market Potential of approximately 230 Million tremor patients:
67% have functional disability, 60% experience social isolation and depression and
|90% are yet to be diagnosed.|
|Quality of Solution||Solution Concept||Solve a serious health problem|
|Competitive Advantage and Differentiation||Steadiwear focuses on structural engineering principles||Weak competitive advantage: Need for improve in product design
-Need to venture in latest aerospace technology and satellite-graded mechanical gyroscopes
|Low: Gloves not able to restore normal hand function
|Timing||Macro Environment||Prevalence rate of 4%.||Incident rates of 616 people in 100,000 population
Increase prevalence of tremors
|Existence of pharmacological treatments|
|Industry Environment||Potential in growth of the market||-Growing number of geriatric patients
– Growing number of multinational corporations
|Competitive Environment||Slow growth of the market
|Money Making||Revenue streams||Estimated sales of 2000 units of steadi-2 gloves||-Merz Pharma estimated sales are $66. 32 million
-Steadiwear sales at approximately $ 270K
|Currently the business is not so profitable|
|Costs||Funds and grants estimated approximated to be $ 1.6 million|
Table 1: Outline of venture analysis and framework used.
Lean Model Canvas
The lean model canvas as seen in figure 1 was used to identify the business model and identify the areas of a string business that were not expounded.
-Increase in global numbers of patients suffering from tremors and Parkison’s disease
-Decrease information accessible by patients
Production of wearable tremor gloves
-Introduction of apps to connect with customers
– share information using newsletters
|Unique Value Provision of unparalleled solutions to the older people
-Parkinson’s disease patients
Design of the gloves.
Effectiveness of the gloves in reducing the hand tremors
Cost per glove: $694 per glove with free delivery
Glove sales: Estimated sales of 2000 units of steadi-2 gloves