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How BIS Research is helping Fortune 500 companies stay on top of technology trends

Sampath Putrevu
29th Mar 2018
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Global market intelligence firm BIS Research focuses on emerging technology trends that are likely to disrupt market dynamics. The startup publishes over 150 market intelligence reports annually across verticals like healthcare, automotive, aerospace and defence, robotics and UAV, and more.

At a glance

Startup: BIS Research

Founders: Faisal Ahmad, Gaurav Gaggar, Tushar Aggarwal, Ravi Baid

Year it was founded: 2014

Where is it based: Delhi

The problem it solves: Simplifies lab-to-market technology data and research for businesses

Sector: Technology

Funding: Bootstrapped and undisclosed

If you have been following the news for the last few days, it is impossible to have missed Facebook’s data breach fiasco and the role Cambridge Analytica played in it. The problem began because the process here was not legitimate.

Legitimate is when a data analyst spends a significant amount of time doing his or her research on numbers, market, sales, and logistics to help organisations and businesses make better decisions.

Faisal Ahmad, Co-founder, BIS Research

A computer science graduate from BITS Pilani, Faisal joined a data analytics and market intelligence firm after college. During his tenure at the firm, while working for several clients, Faisal found it painful that he couldn’t find credible data for emerging technologies.

That gave birth to the idea of jumpstarting BIS Research, a firm focused on tracking lab-to-market and other emerging technologies in the early phase of commercialisation.

Faisal began by meeting two college seniors, Ravi Baid and Ravi Sangal, the ex-president of IDC India, and convinced them to mentor the firm. Ravi Baid then introduced Faisal to Gaurav Gaggar and Tushar Aggarwal, the other two co-founders at BIS Research.

Though BIS Research has its sales office in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA, it started as a one-room venture in Delhi’s National Capital Region (NCR) in 2014 to create a differentiated research offering that focuses on emerging technologies and unserved yet exciting segments of the market.

A new approach

The last decade revealed major disruptions in the business and technology world with companies like Nokia, Kodak and Blackberry showing how tech upheavals can decimate industry leaders. This drastic change in the business world needed a fresh approach to track the novelty and evolution in emerging technologies, which, by its own definition, had no historical data to accurately predict the future.

The idea of BIS Research came as an opportunity to develop a pattern, proxy, and a scientific methodology to evaluate the technologies that are being worked upon in the lab or are in the early phase of commercialisation, and have great potential to disrupt the emerging technological space.

Within four years, BIS Research has helped more than 300 leading global firms, including a few Fortune 500 companies. It has conducted over 5,000 detailed expert interviews in areas as diverse as autonomous driving components and sustainable materials for construction. And during all this time, the startup has remained bootstrapped.

The BIS differentiator

Talking about what is unique about the company, Faisal says,

"Our focus on emerging technology has been a unique differentiator in terms of the positioning in the advisory and research space. We intend to further leverage and strengthen our position in the market by proactively launching platforms and services aligned with the need for evaluation of lab-to-market technologies in terms of commercialisation."

BIS scans, analyses, and tracks over 150 new and upcoming technologies across diverse verticals which include healthcare, automotive, advanced materials, aerospace and defence, and electronics and semiconductors on a yearly basis.

Team BIS Research

The data analysts at BIS do personal interviews with tech companies and make lists of their findings, which are then published in the form of syndicated market research reports. These technology market intelligence reports incorporate detailed analysis and quantification of market sizing and forecast, market shares, market drivers and restraints, opportunities, threats, current and emerging trends, and competitive landscape.

Additionally, BIS Research offers access to customised reports tailored to explore market opportunities unique to the specific business of clients through valuable and actionable information and a multi-angle approach to data intelligence.

Identifying new opportunities

Faisal says this helps clients to identify new growth opportunities, revenue pockets, and devise appropriate go-to-market strategies. For clients with ongoing requirements for quality market data and forecasts, the company also provides Annual Market Research subscriptions; these are ideal for corporates, universities, colleges, and research institutions.

BIS Research has been profitably bootstrapped with some capital infusion from friends and family thus far. It has been a conscious decision of the founding team to be totally client funded.

The company runs on a subscription-based model. The clients get access to BIS’ data library for which they pay a subscription fee annually.

Convincing clients

The first roadblock came up when it was time to sign on clients. "One of our major challenges was to convince our initial clients that our approach and methodology was robust enough to scientifically investigate the future of nascent technologies," Faisal says.

He adds that it was hard work to make some old-school companies realise the importance of evaluating future business opportunities as against sticking to their current business.

Faisal says he fixes this problem by engaging with his clients and giving them his rationale and approach apart from incorporating their continuous feedback into the process.

With industry expertise on board through Ravi, the ex-president of IDC in India, Faisal says the right blend of youth (fresh perspectives) and experience helped infuse confidence in clients.

"We were able to demonstrate a clear ROI that the companies could achieve. Our success with e-cigarette market forecast, where we literally helped Big Tobacco in identifying a multi-billion market opportunity that was challenging the established cigarette and tobacco market helped us get due recognition in the industry."

Thomas Winter, Director for Global Marketing Strategy at BOSCH US, testifies to their work. "I found the BIS team very accommodating and interested in the work. The engagement was good," he has said.

"The ultimate gratification is when we see clients taking strategic decisions supported by our findings," Faisal says.

What’s next?

BIS Research’s current challenge, he says, is primarily an operational one, as their clients are spread out in multiple global technology hotspots while the team is mainly operating out of India, thereby reducing client touch points.

"Our ambition is to build an ecosystem constituting of product, services, and platforms that can leverage signals and information from all possible sources to deliver the most accurate intelligence on emerging technology within the next five years. The company will leverage its human capital and expertise to build scalable technology-driven capabilities in next two-three years," Faisal says.

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