‘Getting the wrong drug to the patient more efficiently is not the answer to that problem…We don’t want to buy a discount seat on the Titanic’(‘Amazon drug service fears rattle US healthcare’ FT 15.11.17) We asked 5 leading VC’s a wider question ; Are tech businesses increasingly at risk of trading speed of delivery for service?’

“Venture investing is about building large and sustainable businesses. Our capital allows companies to grow quickly and invest more in product. A good team understand that the quality of their product is the priority, if they get this wrong they will not retain customers and they risk the whole company with a major product outage or security breach. The balance is achieved by focusing development on what really matters for early customers.”

Jon Coker
Managing Partner | MMC Ventures

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‘Technology has the potential to do quite the opposite and equitably improve quality, access and efficiency by automating more of the value chain and decreasing human error. It could create greater connectivity between physicians and patients with online pharmacies in between.’

Carolina Brochado
Partner | Atomico

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Speed of delivery is always a tradeoff with service in any fast growth business. Companies do feel an ever increasing pressure to grow faster whilst delivering more and that’s the balance a founder must strike in any VC backed business. And yes, the pressure is higher than ever owing to the increasingly global nature of startups – if you’re not moving fast then not only can local competitors beat you but so can unknowns from nearly anywhere in the world. Founders must make the tradeoff of looking over their shoulder while running a marathon at a sprinting pace.

Rob Kniaz
Partner | Hoxton Ventures

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There’s no question speed is important for startups. I personally love Paul Graham’s definition:”A startup is a company designed to grow fast”. This is perhaps best epitomised by Facebook’s early motto “Move fast and break things”. But breaking things doesn’t work forever – as you move beyond early adopter customers, the willingness to accept an imperfect product or service diminishes rapidly, this is the reason Facebook publicly changed it’s motto in 2014 to “Move fast with stable infrastructure”. Not quite as catchy but essential to continued growth and success. I don’t believe this dynamic is any different today versus 10 years ago but what has changed is the the breadth of industries that tech startups are disrupting, including heavily regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services.

Rory Stirling
Partner | BGF Ventures

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“Achieving greater speed of delivery is not inherently a bad thing, but doing so to the detriment of customer experience can quickly alienate users. In certain cases, speed is the key battlefront. For example, almost every entrant in the hot food delivery industry is competing on speed of delivery, as customers want their food hot, and when they’re hungry; not cold, and when they’ve already started snacking. In other cases, improving customer experience is most important. Blockchain succeed as their wallets are secure and easy to use, not because users can set up in double-quick time. Sometimes you come across goldilocks companies that have found the almost perfect marriage of speed and customer service: habito’s quick, user friendly, customer centric mortgage; or TransferWise’s fast, cheap, and mobile-first payment product. If companies keep their customer’s needs at the heart of the solution that they are building, they won’t fall foul of running too fast”

Toby Coppel
Partner | Mosaic Ventures


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