1871 is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the first round of partnerships between global consulting firm A.T. Kearney and 1871 member companies Unbranded Designs, Heirlume, Savvo, and Let’s Play Please. The member companies were able to receive valuable feedback and strategic recommendations from the AT Kearney team, and the AT Kearney consultants were exposed to young, innovative, and disruptive companies that operate in spaces with enormous potential for growth. A second round of partnerships will begin in mid-August and will enable additional companies to benefit from access to A.T. Kearney’s extensive resources.
Consultants from A.T. Kearney were excited about the opportunity to work directly with business owners, which exposed them to a different level of decision making than they typically experience at large companies. Eric Snyder, who worked with Heirlume, made the observation that working with a startup is like building a ship, whereas working at a big company is like steering a ship. Both types of projects are innovative in their own way, but startup environments allow real-time feedback on the effectiveness of strategic decisions. 1871 companies demonstrate that change can happen quickly when the right people are involved and collectively working to make things happen.
“A.T. Kearney has deep roots in the Chicago community, and we are thrilled to support 1871 as it shapes the future business landscape of the city,” said Andres Mendoza Pena, Principal at A.T. Kearney. “The program is truly stimulating for our consultants given the unique passion demonstrated by the entrepreneurs, the fast paced environment in which they operate and the direct, immediate impact of our recommendations.”
For 1871 member companies, working with A.T. Kearney was an opportunity to utilize resources that would not normally be accessible for businesses of their size and scale. Participants in the program remarked that they were impressed by the attention to detail their businesses received, especially considering that all of the work was performed on a pro bono basis. All of the 1871 member companies benefited from having additional manpower; in every project, A.T. Kearney’s input led to changes in the business model or a pivot towards a new strategic direction.
Unbranded Designs was the pilot project for the overall A.T. Kearney/1871 program and during their collaboration with A.T. Kearney, they transitioned from a B-to-C business model to a B-to-B model. After considering different strategic approaches, A.T. Kearney successfully helped them to develop a pricing structure that was used to close Unbranded Design’s first big deal.
With Heirlume, A.T. Kearney conducted a survey with two hundred people to test the in-going hypotheses about the core customer and the best corresponding business model. The goal was to come out of the project with a more focused customer demographic, which would enable the company to improve their advertising strategy. The final phase of the project involved a more in-depth interviewing process, using the results of these conversations to inform marketing decisions.
Savvo was in the process of assessing different market opportunities for expansion. It was a fairly high level strategic problem, although it initially seemed simple. The team looked at three potential solutions to determine which would be the best fit. The project is ongoing; the A.T. Kearney team was so helpful that they are now working with Savvo to analyze whether the business model they landed on is viable.
Founder of Let’s Play Please, Mariela Santori, described the partnership as an “amazing experience” and remarked on the effectiveness of A.T. Kearney’s methodology, which divided projects into smaller, more manageable fragments and helped the teams feel like they were accomplishing things.
1871’s growing relationship with A.T. Kearney is a great opportunity for member companies to access external resources and develop connections outside of the startup space. The partnership facilitates growth beyond the immediate results of the projects for both A.T. Kearney’s consultants and 1871’s member companies.