Strategy: The Catalyst Roadmap to Success

by Megan Burns, Director Catalyst


Recently a coaching colleague asked me, “what is Catalyst?” I explained, Catalyst focuses on market timing, product traction and team development to accelerate company growth while minimizing risk. Early stage deep tech founders and their teams tap into our global network and work side-by-side with business leaders to learn organizational best practices, grow marketing and sales channels, gain industry expertise, and develop the tools and skills to run transformational businesses. “Oh.” she said. “I get it. It’s a strategy.” Yes, exactly!


This HBR Strategy article by Michael D. Watkins describes a good strategy as one that provides a clear roadmap, consisting of a set of guiding principles or rules that defines actions people in business should take (and not take) and the things they should prioritize (and not prioritize) to achieve desired goals.



Catalyst Strategy

  • We Think and Act Globally- Azafran’s vast business network includes global business membership organizations (CEO, COO, CIO, CMO) and Strategic Alliances (Global 2000, Fortune 500)

Our network has a multiplier effect and includes a foundation of longtime YPO and EO members and leaders with connections to more than 40,000 companies. Leveraging our business community is key to the success of Catalyst.


Attending events and networking is key and an intentionally strategic priority to expand Azafrans’ vast global business network. In recent Catalyst articles we highlighted perseverance and grit that kicked off CES & NRF as well as Voice Summits showing human connection is vital in the era of digital transformation.

  • We Lend a Hand at Every Stage- From emerging managers with domain and operational expertise, to active investors around the world, together we serve as long-term partners with our portfolio companies. Catalyst significantly reduces risk and accelerates value accretion by empowering founders with the tools they need to succeed.

My colleague Daniel Nikic, Azafran’s Senior Associate and Data Team Lead, recently shared an Insights article, Data Confirms Azafran Market Timing. Data and research from Daniel and his team, allows Catalyst to be agile and prioritize focused outreach to engage with targeted strategics and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to best serve our portfolio companies. Our recent research highlights:

  • IoT Focus: When looking at IoT sub-industries, it is clear that in relation to funding and exits that Finance and Insurance, Big Data Analytics, and Transportation and Warehousing are a good fit for Azafran and have had significant positive returns.

  • Enterprise Focus: Enterprise is an industry that is essential to Azafran since our focus is on B2B early stage companies (post seed) and the industries outlined below with the largest exits in 2021 correlate with the top sub-industries for funding.

  • MedTech Focus: The MedTech industry is continuing to grow in interest in relation to the AI market. This is evident with the exits growth representing the largest of all the main industries in our focus.

  • We Understand Your Vision- Our team’s passion is to bring life-changing technology to humanity. We understand tech and business change constantly — our network of strategics, SME’s and thought leaders keep’s us at the forefront to navigate this change for accelerated growth.

Azafran is dedicated to changing the future with emerging technology. Our key advantage is our combination of experiences, varied backgrounds and passion for founders and deep tech companies. Our scientist and deep tech innovators speak the language of corporate strategy.


As shared in Mr. Watkins' HBR article and as illustrated below, mission is about what will be achieved; the value network is about with whom value will be created and captured; strategy is about how resources should be allocated to accomplish the mission in the context of the value network; and vision and incentives is about why people in the organization should feel motivated to perform at a high level. Together, the mission, network, strategy, and vision define the strategic direction for a business.

Azafran’s knowledge and expertise, like building strategic direction, is one of the many business tools provided to our portfolio companies. Business resources and proven methodologies have successfully scaled our companies and are instrumental in the implementation of our Catalyst strategy. Such an approach ensures results and desired investment outcomes.