CRISPR tech startup Mammoth Biosciences is among the companies that revealed backing from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program on Friday. Mammoth received a contract to scale up its CRISPR-based SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test in order to help address the testing shortages across the U.S.
Mammoth’s CRISPR-based approach could potentially offer a significant solution to current testing bottlenecks, because it’s a very different kind of test when compared to existing methods based on PCR technology. The startup has also enlisted the help of pharma giant GSK to develop and produce a new COVID-19 testing solution, which will be a handheld, disposable test that can offer results in as little as 20 minutes, on site.
While that test is still in development, the RADx funding received through this funding will be used to scale manufacturing of the company’s DETECTR platform for distribution and use in commercial laboratory settings. This will still offer a “multi-fold increase in testing capacity,” the company says, even though it’s a lab-based solution instead of a point-of-care test like the one it’s seeking to create with GSK.
Already, UCSF has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA to use the DETECTR reagent set to test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, and the startup hopes to be able to extend similar testing capacity to other labs across the U.S.
How do you test the demand of your product, value prop or service in the market you hypothesize to be your ideal target market?
Any ideas? The only things I can think of to do this:
– setting up a lead magnet from a pilot company name (I won't use the actual company name to protect the brand), with a laser focused value prop, and see if anything comes out of it.
– Reaching out to people and probing their interest (essentially selling them on it)
My biggest concerns about this approach:
– The results won't tell me the whole story, because there are so many factors that are involved in someone not showing interest that are completely unrelated to my offering (unknown brand, they are investing in something else, no budget, etc)
– I won't be able to tell and clearly pinpoint if the reasons they don't show interest are directly related to my actual MVP (Lack of product/market fit)
How have you guys done this in the past? What's the fastest way to go through the BUILD-TEST-LEARN cycle?
If you're like me, you run into new ideas constantly (and most of them suck!).
But sometimes… An idea sticks in your head and compels you to try it.
So how do you test the idea in a couple of days, to see if it's worth pursuing?
- 1. Create a Landing Page
- 2. Drive Specific Traffic
- 3. Measure the Result
Let's go through these three steps now…
1. Create a Landing Page
There's many drag and drop site builders you can use. Off the top of my head, some of them are:
I like Carrd.co as it's the simplest. But whatever gets the job done is ok!
If you can swing the few bucks for a cheap domain, it will look more professional. If not, no problem.
And the name? Keep it super simple and specific to your niche.
But let's check out the Loom landing page here for a solid example to see how we can create it…
It's simple, straight to the point with a clean design. That's all we need.
First thing we see is a big simple 4-word headline describing the main feature of their product. Then, they have a subheadline for some context.
See if you can do that for your idea. Ask yourself… What's the MAIN feature of my idea that I can describe in 4 words or less?
Write that down. This will be the big headline people see on your page.
That's the first section done!
When you scroll down, they tell you how you can 'LEVEL UP' your life with this product. Here's what they say:
- Take back your time
- You talk faster than you type
- You could be doing real work rather than wasting time in meetings
Notice how the theme here is that this product will save you a lot of time? That's a great 'LEVEL UP' for many people.
So think of how your product helps people level up their life, and make three paragraphs about that.
Another section done.
Next section is much simpler; How your idea works.
Just a couple of paragraphs to explain how your idea works will do. Keep it as simple as possible.
And the final section… The email collection section.
In this section, be straight forward and tell the customer:
"We know your excited about this product, but it's not quite ready for release yet. Please sign up for the beta list below and we'll email you when it's ready!"
And have the email collecting element below.
BUT, remember to connect Google Analytics as well.
We'll need this for Step 3. It's easy to do, and most of the 'drag and drop' site builders will have instructions on how to do it.
That's it for the landing page, onto step 2.
2. Drive Specific Traffic
Now it's time to invite potential customers!
Here's some of the best places to get free specific traffic to your site:
- Reddit subreddits
- Facebook groups
- Twitter with specific hashtags
- Forums related to your idea
I'm sure I'm missing other places, but let's use these for now.
Go to each site and find the specific 'corner' where your potential customers are…
If it's Reddit and you have a dog product, go to the subreddit for dogs. If it's Facebook groups, go to the specific dog groups. And so on.
Post a simple 2-3 line explanation for your new idea, and a link to sign up for the beta/early release list.
Do that across all these platforms… And sit back for the traffic to come in.
3. Measure the Result
What results are we looking for? What results can be considered a success?
Wait 4 days to give people a chance to visit. Then hop into Google Analytics and check you have at least 1000 views for a fair analysis.
(If not, share keep sharing your link till you have)
We need at least a 6% conversion rate.
That means that out of 100 people, at least 6 gave their email to know when your product is released.
In case you don't know how to calculate conversions, it's just:
Conversion Rate = (Emails collected / Page Views) * 100
Now did your page convert at 6% at least?
If so, you've got a good idea on your hands!
And if your page converted at 10% or above… Congratulations you've potentially got a MASSIVE winner!
At that point, you know your idea is worth pursuing, so go for it and create the full thing.
If it's below 6%, no worries. It sucks but no biggie. Onto the next one and KEEP testing till you have a winner!
And I'll leave you with a Steve Jobs quote (cliche, I know)…
“I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance…."
P.S. here's the original post from my blog/newsletter.