Why Operators Studio invested in the “Gartner for Deeptech” — BIS Research?

Am excited to share a new investment by Operators Studio — welcome BIS Research to the global OS portfolio. BIS provides a full knowledge services stack on deep tech, which includes off-the-shelf reports, custom research engagements & on-demand, subject-matter expert consultations, to global enterprises. While traditional research firms such as Gartner & Forrester widely cover popular technologies such as SaaS, Enterprise Mobility, Consumer Internet etc., “frontier” technologies like precision medicine, advanced materials, space tech etc. are largely uncovered & therefore, wide open from a business research & market intelligence perspective.

Over last few years, Operators Studio has backed cutting-edge product/ platform companies such as Dharma (crypto lending protocol), MyAlly (AI recruiting solution), TravelX (AI-powered travel retail platform), Tydy (employee onboarding automation) and Trailze (multi-modal navigation for micro-mobility). We have also backed online-offline infrastructure plays such as Yulu (urban micro-mobility) and 91Springboard (co-working), as well as venture ecosystem plays like LetsVenture (angel investing & startup fundraising platform).

Investing approach across all these investments has been consistent — identifying & backing:

  1. Gritty founders that are…
  2. Building or leveraging technology to…
  3. Solve “real” operating problems for the world, and…
  4. Build sustainable businesses over the long-term.

Doesn’t matter if the space is considered “unsexy” by financial investors or media. We get more excited by operating problems & warrior founders, rather than buzzwords, hype, trends or moonshots.

So, what got me excited about BIS Research? I have been spending time with Faisal Ahmad, Co-founder & CEO, over last year or so. Over multiple brainstorming discussions, it was clear to me that BIS was demonstrating all elements of the OS investing approach:

  1. Open market segment— within knowledge services, deep tech is a relatively open segment and uncovered as yet by the likes of Gartner & Forrester. Knowledge capabilities required to serve this space are high, so significant entry barriers are there and also, customer retention tends to be solid given this isn’t a commoditized service. Having earlier invested in another startup (which shut down) that was solving a similar problem but using pop-up expert teams (which, in hindsight, wasn’t the right solution for the customer problem), my confidence on the thesis of “enterprises need actionable knowledge on deep technologies, in order to make smarter business decisions” is high. BIS has built what customers want, and there are enough proof points for that.
  2. Attractive economics — having started my career at Evalueserve, and later on as a venture investor, observed companies such as Mu Sigma, Fractal & Inductis, I have been a believer in high-end knowledge services as an attractive business opportunity that doesn’t require huge amounts of external capital to scale and isn’t a “winner-takes-all” market. I know most investors tend to gravitate towards “product” plays but that’s where Operators Studio is different. We care more about solving real operating problems, whether through products and/ or services, and building sustainable businesses around them.
  3. Gritty team— as a young, first time founder, Faisal & team have bootstrapped the company to >500 large enterprise customers, including >200 Fortune 2000 companies, spread across US, EU & Japan. BIS has built a lean, capital-efficient & profitable knowledge services engine, led by a team that is committed to building it for the long term.

At Operators Studio, we believe in the Howard Marks quote “look where others aren’t looking”.

And this approach has led us to BIS Research! The company is strongly poised to become the “Gartner for Deeptech”, offering a full knowledge stack that leverages a combination of technology & human expertise. Operators Studio is excited to support BIS in this journey.

Author: Soumitra Sharma

Operator-Angel I Product Leader I US-India corridor I Believer in Power Laws I Love building & learning

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