Since emerging from stealth mode in late 2015, Tokyo-based IoT startup Soracom has propelled itself to an outstanding global expansion, with a US launch just a year later and a European launch as a Gold Partner during our recent 4YFN Barcelona 2017 event in February this year.
Now, Soracom plans to exhibit with us again at our 1st ever edition in the United States alongside the GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas (MWC). 4YFN at MWC Americas will take place in San Francisco from 12 – 14 September 2017.
It’s a truly remarkable startup success story so we met with Soracom to find out more about their rapid expansion and their goals for the future. Here is what they had to share with us…
“It’s hard to believe, but we launched publicly just a year and a half ago, in September 2015. Rapid growth in both the customer base and the partner ecosystem helped us to attract support. We raised approximately 37 million USD by May 2016, and currently support nearly 6,000 customers and over 250 partners worldwide.
So what sets you apart from other companies?
Soracom is guided by a set of fundamental principles that help to maintain our focus on delivering value to our customers and continuously improving as a team. For a company to document core values is not so unusual, but for a globally distributed team to live by them is something else again.
As a startup, we need to do everything we can to maximize our bandwidth. Our principles help us to measure our actions against our plans, minimize politics and keep our eyes on what matters most: delivering value to our customers and partners. Posting the principles publicly helps to keep us accountable, so if you’re curious you can always see for yourself at Soracom Leadership Principles.
Some of our key principles are:
- Listen to the customer‘s voice. Understand their real needs and address those needs in the services we offer. Customer requirements matter more than what a competitor might announce on any given day, and we will create lasting value if we keep our focus there.
- Believe in the power of the team and yourself to create something better than what we have today. If you see a way to improve, take ownership and act rather than assessing blame.
- See the big picture. Imagine opportunities beyond the context of existing limitations, think outside the box, solve bigger problems and innovate. Build from what you know today to understand the broader context, anticipate the future and prepare for it.
- Information is precious, and it becomes more valuable through exchange. Surface and share information throughout the team, be transparent and don’t become a silo.
- Be persistent and never give up. Continually and persistently strive to achieve the goal, reach out for help when required and make it happen.
Following from those principles, our original G2M was very carefully orchestrated. We began developing our products and services well in advance of the service launch in Japan and invested significant founder cycles sitting with potential customers during design. That initial feedback from the marketplace was instrumental in refining our vision to ensure a fast path to product/market fit.
We enlisted trusted customers for private betas before the launch, which allowed us to launch with a wide portfolio of experienced users who we could count on to support our services from day one. That also ensured that our first release addressed real customer needs so we could hit the ground running.
“The Internet of Things is very much a team sport”
Building on that initial customer traction, we created a partnership programme called Soracom Partner Space. IoT is very much a team sport. Getting it right requires expertise in devices, cloud services, and connectivity. The opportunity to coordinate and cooperate helps our customers and our partners move quickly to get projects off the whiteboard and into release. We currently have over 250 partners around the world and we are continuing to grow the partner space.
So what made you decide to exhibit with us again for 4YFN Americas 2017?
We had a great experience at 4YFN in Barcelona, and we see it as a unique opportunity to connect with developers, startups and global partners. Exhibiting as a Gold Partner gave us the opportunity to deepen relationships with key EMEA customers and partners, including Robustel (IoT Hardware), Omniflow (smart energy), Enerbrain (smart building), Istmos (cold chain/wine) and Tramigo (vehicle/asset tracking). We also got the opportunity to announce a relationship with Magnitude Space exploring satellite-based solutions for global wireless connectivity!
Soracom is focused on making cloud-native IoT connectivity and security accessible to everyone working in the space, regardless of their project scale. The 4YFN audience is working at the cutting edge of technology and sharing the floor at Moscone with MWC, lets us connect with developers doing innovative work in both startup and enterprise environments. It’s the perfect environment to connect with the real people who are building out the Internet of Things.
What is Soracom planning to do during 4YFN at MWC Americas?
What we were built to do: connect! Naturally we’ll be exhibiting Soracom solutions and services coming out of our partner ecosystem. We’ll also be hosting a workshop where developers can get hands-on with connected hardware and we’ll speak on the main stage to help anyone interested in IoT understand the challenges, opportunities and practical steps toward success in the space.
So in a nutshell, how would you describe your business? What do you offer?
IoT connectivity is still in its early stages. Most solutions today are based on adapting technologies designed for different purposes and making them work for IoT. As an industry we’ve been very inventive. It’s kind of amazing what we have achieved with the tools at hand. But to really take advantage of the cloud, IoT connectivity still needs to evolve.
A problem we set out to solve for IoT is: how can we use the power of the cloud to remove the barriers that let you start small, test, learn and then grow at the speed you need when the time is right?
Soracom offers secure, scalable, cloud-native connectivity designed specifically for IoT. Our pay-as-you-go model lets any developer, startup, SME or large corporation get projects started at a minimal cost that scales easily as they move from the lab to the field. Our sole objective is to make it easy to bring any IoT use case from concept to full deployment.
To find out more, check out our website and come say hello at the 4YFN event in San Francisco in September! We’re looking forward to connecting!”