Dash Energy builds software to help energy buyers and sellers make data-driven decisions. The startup was launched in 2021 through Schneider Electric’s partnership with Mach49. We sat down with Schneider Electric’s VP Marketing, Sustainability Business, Nisa Bradley, to talk about her takeaways from the venture incubation process.
Mach49: Can you choose a word to describe your experience with the Mach49 incubation process?
Nisa: The first word that comes to mind for me is “fast.” We had a pretty aggressive plan based on the Mach49 process. We met very frequently and made rapid progress.
How did you convert leadership at Schneider Electric into believers in your venture?
In a corporate setting, we often want to have all the information before going to the next step. But we don’t necessarily need all of it. The process of learning enough, getting to the answer we needed, and moving on to the next step was very disciplined.
What was a milestone for you while building Dash Energy?
One of the most significant milestones is putting out your first prototype and continually refining it until you get it right. The “aha” moment for me was the realization that we now have the ability to test our hypotheses and continue to make them better, and that this process gets results. Our new prototypes are getting high scores across the board, even with our toughest audiences, so we’re going to continue to keep this energy as part of the DNA of the venture.
How has the discipline in the venture building process helped you?
We all really appreciated the discipline and giving us enough time to process but not enough time to get stuck. We’re looking to get enough information to be confident, and moving on if we’ve reached an answer.
What was one of the biggest differentiators of Mach49’s venture building process?
The biggest difference is the whole “teaching a person to fish” analogy. We went through these processes, it wasn’t Mach49 doing them for us. Today we are still testing, we’re still prototyping and moving quickly, because Mach49 really taught us as opposed to doing it for us.
In a large company, we feel like we generally know the market well enough that we can move forward and have expectations about what the business model should look like. With Mach49, it’s different, you put all those expectations around the business model aside until you’ve spent enough time with the potential customers. You don’t even get to think about the business model until you have a really grounded understanding of the customer that you don’t tend to create the space for in a larger company.
How were employees able to grow and apply what they learned while building Dash Energy?
The Mach49 process creates a common set of information that really grounds the team. The people who have lived through that process are deeply fluent in the market they are trying to address. The team specialized a bit more since we were beyond the incubation and the proof of concept process, we built a product and took it to market. Team members set up the architecture of the company, focusing on marketing, and so on. People are raising hands and being proactive – and they are not necessarily the people you would’ve expected to do so. We are united by the common goal to address the customer’s pain points.
Watch the full interview here.
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