Pilot Lite Ventures
Pilot Lite Ventures helps our corporate clients identify, de-risk, validate and launch early-stage technologies, new ventures and stranded intellectual property across developed and emerging channels and markets. Our four main service areas are highlighted below.
Has your corporate R&D team developed IP that was abandoned because it didn’t meet current KPIs? Has a change in corporate strategy left R&D projects on the bench?
Pilot Lite is a pioneer and international leader in venture management with a successful track record of more than 10 years helping multi-national corporations accelerate the commercialization of their R&D and innovation, from de-risking and validating opportunities through operationalization to launch and scale.
The client challenge
The client asked Pilot Lite to assist in commercializing a new plant-based dip, a product that was considerably outside the corporate’s well-established business.
Pilot Lite completed a pre-launch validation and business readiness planning, including marketing, branding, logistics, distribution, independent outlet contracting and budget on a stand-alone, outsourced basis.
We exceeded client expectations, taking the new product from manufacturing to market sales within 3 months. Unit sales were more than 3 times anticipated. We achieved product take up at more than 40 outlets and another 1,000 outlets are planned.
VaultAge eCommerce Services
VaultAge is a proprietary global eCommerce platform that adds immediate bandwidth to corporate eCommerce teams seeking to rapidly deploy new brands and businesses online. VaultAge solutions are customized to our clients' needs and range from B2B and D2C to subscription services and include:
- Online platforms integrating manufacturing, supply, delivery, 3PL, sales, messaging analytics and fulfillment & returns
- Front-end interfaces
- Support functions and back-end services - for seamless order delivery
- Financial data control structures
- Testing, evaluation and re-deployment
- Recommendations: continue | scale | discontinue
The client challenge
Neat, a UK startup founded by athletes, developed a great-tasting, easy-to-use protein powder. The company wanted to differentiate their vegan protein powder from other supplements using its unique brand story and education.
Pilot Lite created an agile eCommerce platform to launch a protein subscription service. We used a data-driven, bespoke API to streamline logistics with a 3PL partner to deliver an end-to-end customer experience.
We designed Neat’s online store to put the customer in control: features include an address book for managing multiple subscriptions, an AI ‘Help’ bot, a Loyalty program widget, and the ability to schedule delivery times. Pilot Lite also helped leverage the company’s brand story into significant media coverage, building an online subscription business known for quality and excellence. Today, Neat has expanded beyond the UK to the US.
Expanding Market Reach through Micro-Distribution
Looking to sell new and existing products through new channels and markets not currently served by your distribution network?
There are hundreds of thousands of untapped, uncalled-on retail outlets around the globe that simply aren’t being reached by mainstream distribution including C-store hybrids, co-working spaces, single/small chain independent stores and yoga studios.
Pilot Lite puts boots on the ground to identify alternative outlets and implement a geographic-specific route-to-market and distribution strategy. With a proof of concept, our clients are able to integrate and scale this new distribution network into their business.
Selling through independent and alternative retail outlets allows clients to test new products, grow sales of existing products, rapidly deploy new products, achieve higher margins and gain marketing access to the end-customer.
The client challenge
A multinational food, snack and beverage corporation asked Pilot Lite to expand the sales and distribution of new health and wellness drinks—including gazpacho, kombucha and cold-pressed juices—beyond mainstream grocery stores and into more specialized retail and food service outlets in four city centers: Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm and London.
Pilot Lite mapped the uncalled-on universe of retail outlets outside the reach of mainstream distribution. In Berlin alone for example, we found 2,000 uncalled-on outlets. Next, we identified city-specific routes to market using localized hubs and a mosaic of micro semi-wholesalers. Our client is now using these delivery partners to distribute to these additional retail outlets.
The client asked us to go a step further in Berlin, Munich and Stockholm by managing the launch of Naked Juice into newly mapped alternative markets. In Stockholm alone, we distributed into 300 independent outlets and doubled our target sales volume over a 5-month test period. With a proven concept, the client is now planning to expand distribution across a wider Scandinavian market.
Scouting & Origination
Looking for a fresh approach for identifying new opportunities? Does your company successfully identify emerging technologies—but struggle to capitalize on the opportunities they offer?
What differentiates Pilot Lite from other scouting firms is how we approach a client's needs. We scout in many of the same places—but we’re often looking for something different based on our definition of the challenge.
Another key factor that sets us apart from other innovation scouts is our expertise in commercializing new ventures, supply chain management, sales and distribution and eCommerce. With more than 10 years of experience converting innovation into successful businesses, Pilot Lite is able to deliver clients actionable opportunities, not just a box of ideas. Our client deliverables typically include 5-10 tangible opportunities and explicit steps for validation and action.
The client challenge
Pilot Lite was tasked by a global healthcare provider with identifying disruptive short- and medium-term origination opportunities across six commercial categories (Oral Health, Respiratory Health, Skincare, Pain, Digestive Health and Digital Health). The goal was to challenge its categories’ origination lens with a specific geographic focus of Asia and Latin America, in addition to recognising trends.
Through a combined taskforce of 40 of our own in-country scouting experts along with external partners, we identified approximately 70 opportunities per category in addition to platform extensions. We ran each of these through our comprehensive proprietary matrixing process to select the top candidates. Next, we conducted a rigorous triangulation and validation to benchmark the top 15 opportunities and platforms per category. Finally, we clarified the trends that would enable the client to leapfrog their competition.
The client actioned 6 immediate opportunities across Oral Health, Pain, and Digital Health and the funding to create a new business unit. The client also looked to invest a further £100M in medium-term companies across the categories. The overall process was completed in 16 weeks with more than 300 opportunities pipelined in a tenth of that time.
The client asked Pilot Lite to support their origination activities across their remaining global categories. We have since been asked to scout and identify for other business units across the corporation.