Meet Scott Armanini, the newest member of our platform team
Many of our founders in the Samsung NEXT Ventures portfolio work closely with our investment and partnerships team to access the value NEXT and the broader Samsung organization can provide. But we want to make this experience more robust and seamless for our founders, which is why we recently launched the Samsung NEXT Platform initiative to provide more support to our portfolio companies.
With this initiative, we hope to provide resources and services that can help them scale faster. Our goal is not to provide every possible service, but to offer what we at Samsung NEXT can do best: help startups achieve global scale. Just as importantly, we are operating like our portfolio companies do: with intention, metrics, and a quick iterative process.
Our platform is built to leverage the power of the NEXT network, which includes connecting founders with one another, offering mentorship from experts and advisors, and making introductions to world-class industry leaders and potential customers.
We’ll also be taking advantage of our global footprint, which includes NEXT locations around the globe where founders can get access to local events, unique market insights, exposure, market-focused fundraising, recruiting help, and potentially leverage our offices as a temporary home base.
Our platform and portal program has already had 100+ success events launched or completed for you, our startups, and we welcome your requests…
To keep building on the promise of Platform and deliver on your requests for BD support, Scott Armanini has joined the platform team as a startup advisor. Scott has more than three decades of experience in product, sales, and business development with a number of major software and services companies you’ve heard of, and will be working with our portfolio companies to help meet their sales and business development goals.
We chatted with Scott to learn more about his experience in tech, how he plans to work with our startups, and how Samsung NEXT’s platform initiative seeks to differentiate itself.
Q: You’ve held a number of roles in the tech world over the last several decades. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience working with both big tech companies and startups.
I love bringing emerging technologies to market to solve problems and create new value — then scaling the solutions to (hopefully) create game-changing companies. In large enterprises and startups, I have been on the bleeding edge of several technologies we take for granted today – and many more that failed. I hope to share some of these experiences and help our portfolio companies avoid pitfalls and achieve greater success more rapidly than they otherwise would have.
Q: What attracted you to Samsung NEXT, and what excites you about the opportunity to work with our startups?
I first met Samsung’s innovation team in 2013 while at RocketSpace. I had been a Samsung customer for many years and loved its products – but really fell in love with the company because of its people who were laser-focused on creating value for and always doing the right thing for its customers.
I leaped at the opportunity to join Samsung NEXT – you’ve cracked the code about how to accelerate startup growth and impact at scale, surrounding portfolio companies with a team of experienced professionals. So many venture firms and tech companies talk about helping portfolio companies. At Samsung NEXT, we are actually doing it.
Q: You’ve joined Samsung NEXT as a startup advisor, with the goal of accelerating sales for our portfolio companies. From a practical standpoint, what does that mean and how will you be interacting with companies in the portfolio?
I hope to work alongside portfolio Sales and Business Development teams and provide tactical — and possibly strategic — insights. Ideally, a few hours each week to start with as we get to know each other – then, in the weeks and months to follow, moving to regular consultations complimented by specific actions on my part in support of their business.
First, I will try to place myself in their shoes – to understand what they are hoping to accomplish, as well as the why, how, when, where, and how much aspects of their company and business models.
Then to understand what business problems are being solved – and why these are important to customers. What value is being created, how is the value realized – and, are they being fairly compensated for the value created? What are the highest-and-best-use-cases for their technologies?
Then thinking about the alternatives – what other approaches, customers and buying personas, might be considered? Who in my network (30,000 LinkedIn connections) can we immediately meet with to be a customer or, possibly, a partner? Whom should we avoid – and why? What should a Proof of Concept look like (scope, duration, metrics, pricing, roles & responsibilities, deliverables, IP ownership and next steps – the Pilot)? What does the Pilot look like (same questions – plus Deployment at Scale)?
Q: Lots of investors — from the traditional VC world and corporate VC world — say they add value by connecting their portfolio companies with potential partners or customers. How is our platform approach different?
There’s a very shallow pool of talent who have worked in HR, Marketing, Sales and Business Development, and other important functional roles in both the enterprise and startup worlds. Samsung NEXT stands out for its commitment to provide portfolio companies with access to experienced professionals. I believe that Samsung NEXT stand alone as being properly structured and resourced to help portfolio companies accelerate growth and impact at scale.
Q: How will you know if you’ve been successful? What does success in this role look like to you?
I am a huge believer in “Metrics That Matter” (John Doerr). For our portfolio companies – and, therefore, for me – success is measured in terms of customer and revenue growth: Expansion of existing relationships within existing clients (land and expand), new customers, A/B testing on pricing to improve revenue and margins, new Proofs of Concept, Pilots and Deployments, etc.
Other metrics include Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores, so I hope the portfolio companies with whom I have the honor and privilege to work will say that I have been easy to work with, added quantifiable value – and that they would highly recommend me to fellow portfolio companies.