Calysto PR Vibes Q&A with Steve Brumer, Partner at 151 Advisors and James Brehm, Founder & Chief Technology Evangelist at JB&A
Ok, so, a lot of predictions lately say that the IoT bubble is going to burst. Personally, I think it’s just going to be less hyped. But that’s not why we’re here. The other thing that gets a lot of predictions is that there is going to be a LOT of consolidation. Well, here’s the first one on my side of the table (PR and business development).
Two of the great companies in IoT are part of that consolidation…in order to better serve the entire IoT industry. 151 Advisors and James Brehm & Associates are merging. Read more below to get the quick facts on WHY and HOW it will serve our world.
- Laura B.
Who are your target audiences?
James: Our clients come from all facets of the IoT ecosystem, from hardware and software, to service and solution providers. We also have a number of “end-users” we assist, including enterprises looking to transform their business and cities looking to create a more livable environment.
What benefit do they get out of this merger?
Steve: We’ve got team members who have planned, developed, engineered, launched, marketed and sold solutions. It’s a team that’s unmatched.
Overall Value proposition?
James: The merger leverages the complementary resources and capabilities of both companies to create a dedicated IoT and mobility consulting firm with a focus on enabling companies to enter and expand their business in the rapidly growing IoT, M2M and Smart Cities market.
Why do this?
Steve: Synergy for what our customers and partners need. Clients are asking for implementation strategies to be supported by market information, data and statistics. James and his team bring that to 151 and our partners. At the same time, James’ team is being asked more and more to deliver on the deliver on that Strategy. Together we can offer a comprehensive plan to enter the market and help companies big and small expand quickly.
James: It just made sense. A year and a half ago, I met with a large company who wanted end-to-end help, but our team lacked the scale to do it on our own. That’s when I knew it was time to grow. We started to grow organically as a team, but sometimes you look toward partners or even ways for inorganic growth. The professionals at 151 and I have known each other for several years. Our views of the market are similar…not exact...but more often than not, similar. And when we debate issues, we form better opinions. So doing this was a logical decision. Determining how and when took some time.
Steve: Relationships and monetizing our clients’ IoT strategies. The IoT market is still trying to feel its way to where the money is. As everyone creates their own IoT story, many don’t have the business plans to back it up. There are numerous companies who need help with developing real business plans and executable strategies. And all of these need to be backed up with market information and specific data. Together we can reach the rapidly expanding ecosystem and help companies be successful in IoT.
James: It was a pretty easy decision. We’ve been wanting to do it for a while. But client work and travel schedules have held things up. It’s like the old saying, “the cobbler’s kid has no shoes”. We just weren’t able to get together to discuss business models, transition timing, and other backend items until now.
What does a complete solution look like to a customer?
James: It depends on the customer. We always try to meet the customer where they are. Many times we act as an extension of their team. But the relationship we have is really dictated by the type of work we’re doing for them. We’ve found that relationships evolve and grow. The more trust the client places in us, the more we can help the client. But we have to build the trust. Sometimes it starts with just numbers, then they ask for partnership advice, then it might have something to do with customer acquisition…pretty soon, it’s a little bit of everything. When we provide market intelligence we’ve always approached clients the way a Sherpa approaches theirs. Without the customer, the Sherpa doesn’t eat. But without the Sherpa, the customer will die.
Is competitive analysis a part of the package you’ll be collectively offering?
James: Competitive Analysis is just one of the pillars of any good market intelligence program. It’s something that we’ve seen many companies try to do in a vacuum and end up stuck doing nothing, with what I call “The Paralysis of Analysis”. We strive to bring clarity to our customers and have built our services around: doing in-depth stakeholder interviews, quantitative assessments, surveys, demand/addressable market modeling, demographic/vertical market assessments, trend analysis, competitive intelligence, and qualitative assessments.
Why so much emphasis on Smart Cities? What about other verticals?
James: I wouldn’t say we focus on smart cities any more or less than the other parts of IoT, we just call it out because people in the space have named it separately from IoT. And mayors, city managers, planners and even vendors don’t think they’re doing IoT…but they are. We don’t see the Smart City as a vertical or horizontal. Smart Cities really act as a microcosm of the entire IoT universe as any smart city solution includes transportation, electricity, water, air quality, lighting, advertising, commerce, kiosks, etc.
What will the organizational structure look like?
James: 151 has been around for 9 years and in that time has put together a solid infrastructure. You can layer on to that some of the things we’ve been doing and you get a complete system. There are several partners in the combined company – Steve Brumer, Bill Rom, Matthew Moorokian, John Hubler, and myself (James Brehm). The beauty of this is that we all get to do the things we want to do – and what we’re good at, and we can lean on other exceptional team members for the things we need help with. Bill Rom is Managing Partner, he’ll be driving the bus so to speak.
What’s the name of the company?
James: I think we’ll go with 151 Advisors. I always hated naming my company after myself. Someone once told me that it sounded like a small law firm…ugh, just what the world needs, another law firm. I always thought, somewhere down the road, I’ll have the time to pick a really cool name and rebrand. But I never got the time, and never came up with a cool dot-com App-tistic name ending in .io . 151 Advisors carries a strong brand and has been holding fantastic events like “App-solutely” for years. And alphabetically, they always show up at the top of lists. So 151 Advisors, it is.