A core belief of MTA which we impress on our start-ups is the importance of a first customer. A first customer forces the company to build a product, forces the company to consider service and maintenance issues, logistics, how to secure payment. In other words, it is a great pilot project for the full business. That of course is in addition to the validation that someone else will give you money for your product or service. We also relate this back to financing. The power of the first customer is such that it may be the best marker that communicates a company has left the valley of death. We recently went through a financing with a company that demonstrated this power. Investors were supportive of the potential for the company but cautious about additional investment. However, once we received a PO from our first customer, life became easier. We found a second customer willing to also sign a PO and with the strength of market validation, we were able to issue a financing round which was fully subscribed. Internally, the company began to test and improve their logistic and business operation processes.
The first customer is a great milestone for all tech start-ups. Often difficult to achieve but definitely worth celebrating.