January 9, 2022•982 words
From a Planning Exercise for New Chip Accelerator (Early January 2022):
The "CRM for Very Small Businesses" market is in the billions and very sub-divided (i.e. firms under 20 employees). After Salesforce there are thousands of industry-specific solutions and nearly all presume access to desktop computing. Because these products are geared toward businesses where administrative and sales duties are parsed out between multiple people, communication channels like phones and messaging are distinct from the CRMs and Web Publishing systems that enable promotion and ordering at a distance. These tools have been moulded to the work routines of firms with 10-20 employees while mobile-first teams with less than 10 or less than 5 employees are not being served. Because these leaders wear every hat in a single day while on the job site or in the field.. their digital tool must also do everything. And since phone and texting are their primary activities, any viable business management solution must be built around these tools.
In the US there are approximately 6 million tradesmen, 80% of which are in firms with less than 10 people. Supervisor-to-Worker ratios for these groups are 1:4, therefore we see a market of roughly 1.2 million motivated team leaders in the US. Tradesmen in small firms make up about 1.2% of global population, so 1/5th would represent almost 188 million globally.
The closest market segment with the most similar needs are small independent farmers, primarily those operating in the Global South. The US has 3.2 million farmers. Farmers represent 2.25% of work population, 0.73% overall. Globally though, there are about 570 million farms and nearly 2.25 billion people who derive their livelihoods from farming. Assuming farmers make up 20% of global population with 1/5 acting as owners or supervisors, there is roughly 520 million potential buyers of a CRM-type system that helps manage relationships and information in a unified setting.
For Very Small Businesses, the needs for a CRM are simple enough that employee management activities can be united into one strong offering. This is based on the reality in the smallest firms that employees and contractors are somewhat indistinguishable from suppliers and clients who offer goods, services, labour and commitments that are commonly defined by debts and payouts.
Our differentiator is to take these insights, build up on the informal ways that people in the first 1/4 of the economy operate, and provide a "Value Exchange Engine" that is seamlessly accessed via conversations. This will provide the Internet with a missing piece of common commercial infrastructure - a source of truth for value provided via labour or delivered items. This service will be solution-agnostic and therefore be pinged by any service attempting to settle debt. By anchoring the creation and access to these records within conversations we are able to provide value in the way that many globally expect it to occur - within real relationships where accountability among friends, family, colleagues and regional residents exists.