There is a prevailing view that startups are better at creating breakthrough innovations, than some of the more established businesses out there. It is said to come with increased research costs and uncertainty. According to the Harvard Business Review, creating a category “involves both a breakthrough product and a breakthrough business model”, and carving your space in a new market means ruffling a few feathers.

In the foundational years of SaaS unicorn Culture Amp, Didier Elzinga –  CEO and founder – heard a lot of “no’s”. The HR category was perceived as a tough buyer and difficult environment – not the promising industry it’s seen as today. To scale, he had to innovate, iterate, educate and create.

“We didn’t start to create a category… We focused on changing an industry or changing a space. ” – Didier Elzinga, CEO & Founder of Culture Amp

In his recent session at SaaStock Remote 2021, Didier deep-dived into his phenomenal journey from market disruptor to category creator, and shared challenges and opportunities he experienced along the way. He delves into the need for both community and product-market-fit to successfully secure the title of a ‘category creator’.

“To be successful, you have to convince people to spend money they’ve allocated for something else, to create a category you have to actually change the name of the thing they’re spending the money on.” – Didier Elzinga, CEO & Founder of Culture Amp

Speaking on the need to specify a niche to build a category, Didier highlights that defining a category isn’t a straightforward process.

“If you define a category that’s too broad, it isn’t a category – it’s an industry.” – Didier Elzinga, CEO & Founder of Culture Amp

There’s a fine line between both, and it can take years to get to a name that works for, and resonates with, you and your customers.

Revisit Didier’s talk to understand how category creation can lead to higher valuation, and be a catalyst for faster growth. 🚀


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Enjoyed the discussion on category creation? Explore a strategy on driving revenue growth through product innovation, with Sara Rossio (CPO at G2) 👇

Product expert Sara Rossio shares strategies for driving continuous high-revenue growth through product innovation. Learn how to bring innovation to the market, own your category and build best-of-breed solutions to complex problems.


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