Doubling Down on Customers in Uncertain Times
April 20, 2020

I often compare life at a start-up to pushing a boulder up a mountain. It is painful, intense, and takes endurance. The moment you stop to catch your breath, you aren’t just losing momentum, but that boulder is going to come rolling back over you.

In the past few weeks, every company has been impacted by COVID-19. I won’t try to measure the degree of impact it has had on any other business, I can only speak for ours. For us, that boulder got heavier and the mountain steeper.

Welcome to life at a start-up.

We are grateful for the number of friends and mentors willing to provide guidance during this time. However, with those voices come a range of different opinions. Everything from go full-on cockroach mode (survive!) to maintain status quo for the next couple months to see how things play out.

It has driven a lot of hard conversations, but we can’t ignore our current reality.

Ultimately, we are responsible for sifting through the noise to determine what’s best for our business. But in all the noise, it’s a beautiful thing when you recognize a certain pattern. For our team, there has been one consistent piece of advice: focus on delivering value to your customers.

Easy enough, right? It’s what every company should intuitively do. However, it can also expose the true value of your product. And that exposure can be a scary thought for an early stage company, like ours, still admittedly heavily reliant on learning from users.

Similar to Elate, our customers are growing companies, usually between 25-300 employees. Capital efficiency is imperative, and data drives how they maximize every dollar of spend. We partner with these companies to implement an operating framework based on OKRs with a focus on driving outcomes, not outputs.

So for our team, the past few weeks have been a true test of our convictions in the vision of Elate and the platform we have built for customers.

With most companies making the transition to fully remote, we have focused on ensuring we can deliver alignment, visibility, and collaboration across the organization. We’ve shifted an allotment of points in our next two sprints to deliver on the current needs of our customers, and reallocated outbound resources to help with additional training and support for new users. And we had to for good reason.

Companies need a way to ensure they are encouraging the same level of collaboration and transparency as before, and we believe Elate has been a solution for doing so. We have seen our customers leveraging the platform more than ever. Month over month user activity has increased 50%, and we are consistently breaking our record for daily activity. Further, we have seen our total number of users on the platform increase by 187%.

As we continue to navigate the uncertainty of what lies ahead, we will continue to deliver for our customers. So, no matter what, we keep pushing. We keep delivering. Our customers need us to. And as a start-up, what else can we ask for on this journey?