If there was one idea that was thoroughly drilled into our heads at Columbia Business School’s inaugural Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program, it was the idea of “product market fit.” This crucial, yet elusive, piece of the business model puzzle continued to stump the flurry of would-be companies who sat in concentrated clumps across the room. We’d all been shown a business model canvas that was supposed to solve this problem, but the truth is that no one can ever actually know if they have product market fit until they go out and test.
A year after completing IE@Columbia, we found ourselves over at NY NOW carrying out this test, to interesting result: museums, gift shops, specialty retail stores, game stores, online retailers and distributors and other exhibitors all stopped by our booth to check out Ani-gram-it and ferret.
This was a make or break moment for us. We knew that we had to get certain retailers and stores on board with our mission in order for us to make some sales. The only way that they would be able to get behind our mission was if we had the product market fit with them. The amazing part of our experience at NY NOW was that just about everybody that stopped by our booth loved our product. There was very little resistance to the mission of the company, the product on hand or the need for our board game in the market place. Most companies spend years trying to find a product that actually fits with what the consumer wants. That's how the startup world works. Release a product, go out there and see if the customer wants what you're making. If not, get a reaction as to what went wrong and what can be improved. Go back to production mode and make a product that has fit. Our team is exhilarated to have had such positive reactions to our first product at our first trade show.
Ani-gram-it is now available in stores in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, and California. We are speaking with various other connections we made at NY NOW and how to expand how many stores and states have our game. The next step after product market fit is scale. Given our mission of wanting to change education through gaming, we are excited to scale and see where else we can bring our vision to.