March 28, 2019

#NeedAdvice - an established startup launched a product same as mine, in the same niche too 😔

Jean @jna

My cofounder & I've been working on a product (an accountability tool to help teams stay on the same page). Currently, we're testing & iterating.

I just found out that an established startup (extremely well-respected in the tech community) launched a product that is almost identical to what we're working on...and in the same niche/target market too. AND they're free at the moment.

Advice on IH & HN for situations like this is that you should (1) target a niche market; and (2) package it differently for this market. But we already seem to be targeting the same niche 😔

I shouldn't worry too much about the competition, but everyone will inevitably compare & ask us how we're different.

Any advice on what we can do to differentiate? Any thoughts?

Thanks so much!!

  1. 6

    Three random ideas to explore:

    1. Know your strengths and play to them. For instance: You are smaller. What does that mean? You can move faster. How do you use that? Implement features that the big guy's customers are asking for but they can't seem to deliver for whatever reason. That's just one example. Think of more.

    2. If a "large" player is entering the market, that means the market is big enough for them, which means that it's big enough to fit you too.

    3. Big players might have constraints that you don't. Example: a large company might mandate that their divisions maintain a walled garden, don't integrate with outside products that might compete with the parent company's, and only play inside the large company's ecosystem. Well, you can go and integrate with their competitors.

  2. 4

    Never great to see high-quality competition. Especially if you are just on the verge of launching.

    On the other hand...

    It does show you are most likely serving an interesting market with a lot of demand.

    What I'd recommend is to stay as close as possible to your target customer and make sure you make the product something they will fall in love with. For bigger companies it is often harder to iterate fast and change a lot after the product has been launched. You guys might figure something out that they'll never see.

    Best of luck!

  3. 2

    Advice : Laser focus.

    You have one strength, everything you do is to target that niche market and your organization will be designed around this.

    Most likely, the well establish company will launch a good product, maybe a great product, but the launch might not be big enough to just skyrocket and get a huge number of users.

    At the same time, you will keep innovating, and the well establish company will likely have zero revenue and not enough users for it to be really material.

    Within 18 to 24 months, it's possible that the project will be "defunded" and engineers will be re-deployed to another higher ROI vertical.

    This happens a lot for big companies, how many of them launch a service to just close it after 18 months.

    Keep your laser focus and keep innovating, you don't have the same cost structure, and they will need a much larger number of users to make it material for them.

  4. 2

    I'm sure you have a competitive advantage or an angle of entry they don't. You should explore that more and also explore your connections to see how you could have a faster time to market than them.
    Competition is good as it proves the market is there.

  5. 1

    You can say "Product Hunt Tab" 😄

    Well, they are targeting makers, that don't like to pay for things. Maybe you should talk with some startups and try build something they are willing to pay.

  6. 1

    If you beat them at the sales game and make your product better than theirs then you have nothing to worry about. Focus on your process to acquire new customers, and make those customers the happiest people in the world.