Director, Commercialization at Sidewalk Labs
Who are we?
Sidewalk Labs is an Alphabet company with a mission to radically improve urban life. We aim to create inclusive, large-scale communities by bringing together an innovative planning approach, products and services designed to address urban challenges, and capital for real estate and advanced infrastructure.
Since our founding in 2015, we've grown into an organization of over 100 employees based primarily in New York and Toronto. Our cross-disciplinary team consists of experts from real estate, urban planning, government, finance, technology, and engineering, among other backgrounds.
To date, we've incubated and invested in multiple companies focused on solving city problems, and we've launched the Sidewalk Toronto project, which aims to create a community along Toronto's waterfront that achieves new standards of sustainability, affordability, and economic opportunity for all.
As we move forward, Sidewalk Labs has begun to execute on a broad strategy to pioneer innovative placemaking by providing an integrated suite of services, systems, products, and capital to property owners, developers, and municipalities that seek to combine forward-thinking urban design and cutting-edge technology to make cities and projects radically more inclusive and sustainable, in ways that also enable Sidewalk to achieve commercial success.
With the potential to catalyze and scale new models for inclusive growth, our work is both highly exciting and complex. We are working to achieve something unprecedented.
What is the role?
Sidewalk Urban Systems (SUS) is the division within Sidewalk Labs that generates keen insights into urban problems; identifies potential solutions; evaluates those solutions for feasibility and commercial potential; and, in some cases, builds them and takes them to market. The team includes deep expertise on urban management, technology, and policy; systems engineers; and commercialization. Our current focus areas include health, sustainability, mobility, civic engagement, and buildings.
You will lead the Urban Systems commercialization function, eventually leading a small team. Your team will partner with the subject matter experts to evaluate ideas for their commercial potential; identify the most promising business models to pursue for each idea; and building the business cases for those ideas that show the most promise.
This work is fundamentally cross-cutting and collaborative. In some cases, the commercialization team will lead an effort; in others, you will work as an integrated team with SUS subject matter experts and the the urban systems engineering team. Many projects will involve support and participation from other divisions within Sidewalk Labs including the company’s corporate development team and your counterparts in other business units. Ultimately, you will be responsible for making the case for the most promising opportunities to SWL’s senior leadership team, and in some cases to outside investors.
Day-to-day, you and your team will:
- Take already-defined ideas and either lead or assist the evaluation of their commercial potential. This will include identifying customer segments, market sizes, overall business models and go-to-market strategies, as well as developing pro formas and financial models for them.
- Work to understand customer segments and their needs for our more advanced business concepts, and lead the securing of initial customers when appropriate.
- Develop and write business plans for our businesses, for both internal and external review and funding.
- Conceptualize commercial partnerships to bring our ideas to market; identify potential partners; and lead partnership negotiations (jointly with Corporate Development and Legal).
- Build relationships with the market for research, customer development, and partnership/ investment opportunities.
- Work with internal colleagues to develop intra-company partnership agreements for how urban systems businesses will be structured to serve real estate projects that Sidewalk Labs may be involved in.
- Work with others within the team and the company to develop independent insights into business opportunities around urban technology, and use those insights to help shape our innovation agenda.
- Prepare thoughtful internal and external communications on all of the above, including presentations for senior management
- Select and manage external consultants when needed to pursue the commercialization program for specific ideas.
Initially, you will be a “player-coach,” meaning that you will “own” commercial responsibility for one or more products, even as you oversee the work of one or more junior resources. You will need to be scrappy with a small team and leverage outside resources when necessary and prudent.
What You Will Achieve
After 3 months you will
- Build a comprehensive set of internal relationships. You will know and understand the role of all of the key internal stakeholders, and they will know you, your role, and the value you can bring.
- Develop your own assessment of each of our current commercialization concepts, including both your own take on its likely commercial success, and an understanding of what is and is not yet understood that would be necessary for an informed decision.
- Lead the development of one business plan for one of our furthest-advanced ideas, and ensure that that business plan can serve as a template or standard for future ones.
- Have a strong point of view for how you will spend your time, and an aspirational but realistic view of resources you will need to achieve your objectives. Soon, you will hire a highly capable junior resource to share your workload.
- Be well along on recruiting one member of your team.
- Rewrite the 6- and 12-month objectives outlined below.
After 6 months you will
- Have organized yourself and your team member(s) to support our systems businesses.
- Have comprehensive strategies in place for our most advanced systems business ideas, and have led the commercial evaluation of several other earlier stage ideas.
- Have tested the frameworks agreed upon for Toronto with other potential customers and have a strong perspective as to how those agreements would play in a wider market.
After 12 months you will (whether on your own or through your team)
- Have led the approval -- equivalent to an internal funding round -- for at least one systems business that will launch as a new business line.
What We Expect
This role has a unique set of deliverables that require a sharp commercial sense and expertise across multiple vectors.
- Expertise and pattern recognition on urban systems businesses. You understand systems businesses, which often mix infrastructure and operations in a regulated (or crowded) environment, and can identify multiple ways such businesses can be structured and launched to be successful. You have the ability to recognize patterns about the underlying innovation that allows you quickly to identify (and justify with evidence) the most promising approaches for different types of systems.
- Strategic vision. You can see the big picture, and understand how our products fit within that big picture. You have enough pattern recognition from your experience to understand how our ideas are like or unlike other successful businesses, and how we should modify our approach on the basis of those learnings.
- Data-driven: You have good instincts, but have a bias toward doing the work necessary to challenge those instincts, to prove or disprove them. You believe in the quality of analysis over the quantity of analysis, and you have enough experience to know when the numbers are lying.
- Track record of execution and impact. Although you see the necessary value of strategy, you hunger to get into the market and execute on the deals that will bring that strategy to life. You have implemented partnerships that had meaningful commercial impact. You know how hard it is, how many compromises and priorities must be made, how many stakeholders are involved, and the way that the realities can intrude on great plans. We don’t believe in shortcuts for this work.
- Exceptional collaborator. The multidisciplinary nature of our work requires extraordinary collaboration. You have managed complex projects with many internal and external stakeholders and have proven yourself as a senior leader. You’re able to think through, communicate, and develop next steps for your team and the organization.
- Keen interest in cities and urban technology. Our work is hard and our environment complicated, but that is no obstacle to you because you are motivated by a passion for cities. You eagerly follow news about the urban environment, are inquisitive about urban technology, and have several ideas that would make cities better.
- Ability to operate at two speeds. Whether or not you have experience working with government, you understand the need to balance commercial urgency with the patience necessary to achieve complex objectives in a public environment.
We anticipate that candidates that can meet the expectations above have at least eight years of experience in business development or related roles.
Equal Opportunity Statement
The community of the future is a place for everyone, and Sidewalk Labs is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All employment is based on merit and business need.