Raj Amin, entrepreneur and founder of Teem Ventures, discusses what it takes to build and budget for new ventures, the different ways to launch products, and how to design MVPs that generate early customer wins.
In 2017, Raj Amin founded Teem Ventures, an advisory firm that incubates new ventures and helps companies take an entrepreneurial approach to product development. Over the course of his career, Raj has worn many hats, including product lead, CEO, and founder, and his experience spans multiple industries, including online media, healthcare, and transportation.
“Some people call me a serial entrepreneur. I hate that term, because it implies you have to continue to build companies to create,” he says. “I call myself a serial creator. I like to take ideas and build them into real-world products.”
After spending the majority of his career co-creating great products, Raj knows all too well that there are numerous ways to turn an idea into a business, such as creating entirely new product lines, incubating corporate innovation ideas, or piloting new concepts and ventures, to name a few.
He shared some of the biggest lessons he has learned at companies such HealthiNation, Avis Budget Group, and Personal Zen.
Based on his belief that video consumption habits would rise with access to higher quality on-demand video in the health category, he created HealthiNation, the first multi-platform consumer video network for health and wellness. There, he used proof of concepts to gather evidence that his idea was feasible, and later MVPs for data that signaled the scalability of his idea.
“I differentiate between the proof of concept, which is how can I share this idea in a way that people will get it and will give me back valuable data to say whether I’ve created enough value for this to be a company or a scalable product? And then the next step is to build something that can scale to a reasonable level. That, to me, is how I define MVP,” he says.
Conversely, at Avis Budget Group, Raj was tasked with finding a way to enter the BtoB market with Avis’ existing portfolio. And his latest project is Personal Zen, a science-backed app for reducing stress and anxiety that Teem Ventures is incubating. While each offering and launch differs, Raj notes that, in every instance, a ton of research and testing is a requirement.
“Overall, there’s a couple of different ways that I’ve launched products over the years. I’ve learned to understand where the soft spots are in terms of getting a product to market that gets you, at least, an early win. That then allows you to fight the deeper battles you need to fight to make the product something that stands the test of time,” he says.
In this episode, you’ll learn a lot about ideation and iteration, exploring new markets, and product launch strategies.
Here are the highlights:
- Why it’s important to distinguish between proof of concepts and MVPs (5:14)
- Raj’s approach to entering a new market with an existing product portfolio (12:33)
- How acting on customer feedback data can uncover product value-adds (17:46)
- How to budget for new venture launches and iteration cycles (23:24)