What have we learned along the way? Jon, Melanie, Michael and Lionel share their most valuable lessons from the past 4 years.
When you set out on a new venture, you may have an idea of what you want to build, but it’s pretty hard to know in advance what the market wants. In the case of large enterprise software such as Urbantz, the age-old concept of “ship early and fail fast” does not work as even an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a serious undertaking – it requires serious financing, and raising funding on slides is very challenging as the market was already pretty mature. I’m happy we pushed through with our ambition to modernise last-mile logistics and that by staying agile and listening to market feedback we were able to deliver a top-notch product that is now rapidly taking market share. So, even though you should have a strong vision of what product you want to build, stay close to the market and correct course accordingly.
At the beginning we were really enthusiastic to sign a customer. But sometimes, we realized that a customer doesn’t fit well with our product or philosophy. It’s complicated to adapt a company drastically to meet all of the needs of clients. There was a time when we talked with companies that simply weren’t a good match. We were putting a circle in a square and in the long run that’s not good for the company. The lesson here is to target customers whose needs, URBANTZ can fit perfectly right from the beginning.
Michael, VP Business Development
There’s an African proverb that goes like this: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Building a business from the ground up is extremely hard and close to impossible without the right team. In a start-up, each person counts and can have an impact on the product, so it’s important to have people that believe in what we do. Developing a new product is demanding and is a journey full of intense emotions. Having good, passionate and trusted people around you along the way is key. People that can help and deal with you in the bad moments, but also ones that you can help and support. Looking back, I believe the people were the most critical element of our success.
It’s important to remain flexible and take the time to analyze the first successes in order to find the right recipe in terms of offer and customer profile. The high speed of growth doesn’t matter if the growth won’t last. It’s all about maximizing the right revenue and making sure your tactics can work in the long-term. Something that has proven really effective for us was hiring talents with non-traditional backgrounds.
Lionel, VP Sales and Marketing.