“Merluno provided us with a clear roadmap that can be integrated within the consortium regarding our market development and growth” – David Guiraud

Go-To-Market Strategy

Agilis provides an innovative solution for tetraplegic patients that enables functional grasping without a third person, and thus drastically increases these patients’ autonomy. In its elevator pitch the proposal signals that complete tetraplegia leads to an inability to move, and thus use, both hands. To date there is no solution to restore the grasping function, which is nonetheless absolutely instrumental for common daily activities such as social, washing, eating, and self-cathetizing. In order to grow in the market, more market insight is needed to define a proper go-to-market strategy. The question remains: how will the market perceive and see Agilis’s grasping innovation?


The aim of Merluno was to clarify the business model, whilst bearing in mind the market needs, requirements, ease of entry and willingness-to-pay. It thereby mapped the current business drivers in a business model canvas while identifying the current strengths, bottlenecks, and assumptions of Agilis. This was based on the analysis of available data, interviews with stakeholders, and a 360-brainstorm with the Agilis management. The data so obtained will be investigated on the market in order to validate the assumptions of the value proposition, customer segments, competition, and go-to-market before formulating recommendations to develop the marketing strategy and business model.

Milestone 1 – Kick-Off Brainstorm

  • The big Why? and value proposition towards the market
  • Assumptions, bottlenecks, validation of the business model
  • In-depth business plan analysis
  • Defining project approach

Milestone 2 – Internal Research (Agilis)

  • To obtain a detailed insight in Agilis’ current business model, value proposition, assumptions, bottle necks, and validation, we performed a two-day co-creation with this client. Based on the first findings of the research, the focus of this co-creation gravitated towards the internal strengths and weaknesses of Agilis.

Milestone 3 – External Research (Target Market)

  • The focus of the in-depth market research centred round marketing strategy, validation of added value to market and competition, effect on business mode land value proposition, as well as profit and loss. We thereby focused on: market size, PESTEL analysis and market research (semi-structured telephonic interviews with persons of interest).

Milestone 4 – Business Plan

  • In accordance with Agilis, we decided to use the SIVA model1 – a paradigm similar to the 4 P’s but more used on the pharmaceutical sector. SIVA stands for Solution, information, Value and Access.
    We opted for this model to formulate answers to Agilis’ key questions. The entire analysis, key insights, and recommendations will be developed on the basis of these 4 cornerstones.

Key Findings

“Merluno was able to point out to Agilis what their target market is, what the market’s feedback is, and how the company should formalize their business model and go-to-market strategy.” – David Guiraud

Merluno conducted a market study in order to refine the go-to-market strategy of Agilis. This study zoomed in on the company’s market potential within the EU, the facility-of-entering the largest medical device markets in Europe, as well as the opportunities and threats on these markets. Merluno’ research formed the basis to answer several queries:

  1. Setting up a proper IP and CE marking strategy: Agilis wanted an answer to 2 questions, i.e. “To what degree are the areas covered by the contract sufficient to keep competitors from the market?” and “Is the contract mutually beneficial?”.

Within that context the value proposition of AGILIS became a salient topic. Due to an ever-changing market, companies should continuously re-evaluate their added value and be able to translate this to their market, viz. a clear purpose or mission statement to cope with these changes. As Merluno inferred from the market study, building a successful device does not automatically warrant market success. The commercializing party requires a strong identity to be able to deliver this solution to its market. This identity declares the raison d’être for the company, unifying the drivers and projections of the individual stakeholders, and should subsequently serve as a guideline for the company’s future decision making. For example: “Does the company want to include new potential business opportunities or applications of the same technologies, but on different markets?” Aside from an internal compass, it also serves marketing communication purposes as a story and ‘pitch’ towards the market. The exercise was conducted through Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle-model, and consists of three dimensions: Why?, How?, What?.

  1. A clear insight insight in the potential for broader applicability: Starting from the value proposition of AGILIS and the added value of the medical device, Merluno pointed out several additional applications, and signalled how to expand their market-size in a niche context.
  2. An investigation of the assumed price point: To this end, Merluno looked at the willingness- to-pay of the market through interviews with specialists and a literature study. By extension, the possibilities of reimbursement and insurance were similarly taken into account.

The solutions and current results indicate substantial promise while the business plan of Agilis is thoroughly grounded. The business plan of the spin-off that would commercialize the product is elaborate and includes interesting new applications for similar technology. Merluno refined the business plan via:

  • a price and market study to support the assumed price point
  • an assessment of the potential for broader applications
  • further support in setting up a proper IP and CE making strategy

“Merluno ended the research with a table of recommendations based on the solution of Agilis, the access to the market, and which areas represent leads for further investigation according to the go- to-market principles ‘Solution, Value, Access, and Information.’ For Agilis this comprises a refinement and some additions to the current project work plan emphasizing what steps need to be taken for a successful market entry and development.” – David Guiraud

Learn more about Agilis on the EIT Health website