Saturday, September 30, 2023

Ground Control makes product development faster, cheaper and more sustainable for startups

Must read

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

After running a product development firm for nearly a decade, Karl Vaupel understood how difficult the process of designing a physical product can be.

And thus Ground Controls was born: a platform that allows new and established brands to design or redesign their products to make them more affordable and sustainable.

“Currently, designing a physical product as net zero is so complicated that it usually becomes unrealistic,” Vaupel said.

“For example, every recycled material or piece of packaging you replace affects three other critical factors, such as the assembly process, marketing or shipping costs. It’s impossible to predict everything in advance, so those brands that want to improve just have to go for it – leading to a lot of failed attempts and missed opportunities.”

Vaupel and his team tried to solve that problem by working with VC Antler at an early stage.

“Ground Control is a platform where anyone who manages a product or wants to develop a new product can get a full roadmap with real quotes in 30 seconds,” he said.

“From idea to product flies off the shelf; and every step in between. Whether it’s customizing compostable packaging, redesigning a part or returning an entire supply chain to Australia.”

Given the almost infinite amount of products, trying to create a process to help such a wide variety of brands is a huge undertaking. Despite the challenges, Vaupel believed this would be the best way to make the biggest impact.

“A big problem was communicating something so broad and complex that understanding the problem could be a half-hour conversation, let alone explaining the solution,” he said.

“Also creating a business model that is both practical to launch in a relatively short time, and extremely scalable to impact the world.

“An industrial design firm could potentially design a few hundred or a thousand products because the process relies heavily on very smart people and doesn’t scale well. But when there are millions of products, they need to be replaced with sustainable alternatives as soon as possible – it’s not enough So we want to create a solution that any brand can apply to any product to make it more sustainable.”

Work with antlers has been very valuable, especially with the capital raising process, Vaupel said.

“The coaching with Antler has been great, just to have someone who really understands the fundraising process,” he said.

“We’ve talked to a number of investors along the way and each time there’s a lot to discuss, so it’s great to have a coach who understands the business and can advise throughout the process.

“We also had a lot of in-depth sessions with industry experts that would otherwise be hard to come by, which was really helpful.

“With Antler, I’m very pleased to have help on the fundraising side, allowing us to focus more on the product and running the business. You can spend so much time on fundraising and that’s crucial, but streamlining it a bit is really a big advantage.”

Looking ahead, Vaupel Ground Control hopes to grow and eventually partner with major established brands.

“Our plan is to expand our initial user base (which focuses on relatively new products and emerging brands) to help established companies and multinational brands redesign their products to be cheaper and more sustainable,” he said.

“We believe that sustainability and price should not be a compromise. Instead, sustainability can actually lower costs.”

“Sustainability is better for the consumer and the brand, you just need the right strategy tool to simplify all the new options”.

  • Startup Daily is Antler’s official media partner in Australia.

More articles

Latest article