Salto News

Saying #ByeBye2020 and welcoming 2021

Jan 5

2020 – how would you describe it? Some may say it was a crazy year. We say – yes, it was, yet a very productive one. Some may add there were too many challenges. We say – we love challenges. Actually – we eat them for breakfast. 🙂  Challenges can cause tough times, but they also have this unique feature – to open up doors to new opportunities, provoke unexpected decisions and make us think outside of the box like we never did before. 

     “Eh… 2020! Rollercoaster, while not knowing where it takes us. At the same time always working together towards the vision we have. 2020 proved even more that remote experts are very much needed and remote experts’ contribution is often essential and the quickest step toward a valuable solution to bring abrupt results and help startups to grow towards their goals in 2021.” – Elise Sass, COO & Co-founder at Salto

We are grateful for a lot of good things that happened this year here at Salto. But one thing we are the most thankful for is the opportunity to work with amazing and inspiring people side-by-side – our startups, mentors, and experts. Each of them has brought their uniqueness to our Salto community and at the same time played a valuable part in helping startups to scale.

We approached some of them to share their thoughts on how they experienced 2020, what were their most valuable learnings and what they would wish for in 2021 for themselves and for others too.

Here is what they said:

#fundraising #B2Bsales #marketingstrategy

Marvin Liao

Partner & Board Member at GAMEGROOVE Capital

2020 biggest challenges & learnings:

“I think the biggest challenge was just getting through the stress and mental strain of being locked inside for 8 months & bracketed by the craziness of pandemic, lockdowns, economic disruption, riots, forest fires & election nuttiness in the USA. Basically just adjusting to the new post-pandemic world. 

My learning from 2020 is "nobody is coming to save you", so don't rely on the government, & the importance of health, family and good neighbours.“

2021 plans & wishes:

“I hope to continue working on interesting projects, helping my portfolio companies, and meeting new interesting people. 

I wish for others good health, mental calm, and economic prosperity in 2021.”

Gabor Koncz

CEO & Founder of Automizy

2020 biggest challenges & learnings:

“Right now we have 10x more daily active users than a year ago. Our biggest challenge was to keep alive the infrastructure behind the Automizy app. 

When we face a crisis there are a lot of opportunities for learning. The biggest conclusion was that we (human beings) can adapt faster than we would expect. Before Covid no one in our company would believe that we can operate with the same efficiency working remotely like we did when working fully onsite.”

2021 plans & wishes:

“I would wish for our team to refactor the Automizy backend code so that it can survive the next 10x, 100x growth. :) 
And for others, I would wish to keep calm and use these turbulent times as an opportunity!”


Vladimnir Oane

Co-founder at Deepstash

2020 biggest challenges & learnings:

“We have been thinking about transitioning to remote work as a way to force clarity in communication and to expand our hiring pool. But we always found ourselves going back to office f2f communication. 2020 changed that and we made it work. I guess the learning could be summed up by "necessity is the mother of progress"“

2021 plans & wishes:

Deepstash will evolve significantly in 2021, and the first steps were already taken as we released profiles a couple of days ago. We will turn to our community to transform information curation, what we call stashing, into a team sport.”

Priit Vaikmaa

CEO & Owner of TextMagic

 2020 biggest challenges & learnings:

“Thankfully TextMagic is in an industry (business text messaging) that was not hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. 2020 was actually our best year ever, so we did not have to make changes in our team or in our business. We were just lucky I guess.”

2021 plans & wishes:

Our goal for 2021 is to launch our second product and to become a multi-product company. 

I hope pandemic affected businesses can resume normal life latest by summer 2021.

#productmanagement #growth #poductstrategy

Sergey Keller

Growth Product Manager at PandaDoc

2020 biggest challenges & learnings:

“I guess the biggest challenge for me personally was to adapt to new habits. First, the Covid hit changed our perception of life and the lifestyle itself. The second biggest challenge was the terror of Belarusian authorities, watching flash grenades in front of me, shots, listening to lying propaganda, feeling the genocide of democracy made us flee from the country.

Now to the business perspective. With the remote perspective rising and establishing as the core of the software industry and with the release of the freemium, we saw an increase in many different use cases that our product can serve but still underserves in a different aspect — that is the main challenge that we currently face at PandaDoc because we need to serve different personas from now on with different messaging of our core value proposition. 

Optimization was the key learning as we achieved 100% improvement of MRR getting from our freemium users, without underlying changes to the monetization model. Just optimizing the current model, which is ROI-wise, showed to be effective than changing the model. But that will change when we hit the optimization saturation.”

2021 plans & wishes:

“I wish for myself and for others to be more resilient when facing unexpected challenges and uncertainty. In other words, a quote from the famous movie "Jojo Rabbit": Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, just keep going, no feeling is final.”

#productmarketing #growth #marketing

Kair Käsper

Co-founder & CGO at Klaus

2020 biggest challenges & learnings:

“2020 taught me to pay less attention to mass media. It’s hard to keep going at 100% when your head is constantly being filled with negative headlines.”

2021 plans & wishes:

“I wish in 2021 to drive Klaus to new heights and help a few new companies to get off the ground through angel investments. 

In general, I wish we'd finally start to fully embrace the underlying principle of all religions - “treat others as you want to be treated yourself”. There isn’t a problem in the world that would survive if we as individuals, groups, companies, and governments would do that.”

#productmanagement #growth #monetization

Meelis Ojasild

Co-founder & Head of Growth at Planyard

2020 biggest challenges & learnings:

“The biggest challenge was starting my own startup - or rather committing to it full-time. Making sure the rocket keeps going (Pipedrive) and building a rocket (Planyard) are very different things but I love figuring things out on my own. So, it's been very satisfying so far.”

2021 plans & wishes:

“Two of my biggest goals are around physical and mental health. I wish the same for everyone else - to pay more attention to health, it's especially important now that we've been locked between the four walls so long and will continue to be so for at least the first half of the year.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an early-stage startup or an expert with a suitcase full of experiences – 2020 gave us all good food for thoughts, taught us to cherish our time more, and value those who are with us on this journey.

We at Salto began our 2020 with lots of plans and big hopes, and we are grateful how this year turned out for us. With ups and downs, with wins and challenges it has made us realize that when there is the “impossible is nothing” team in da house – any height can be taken easily and even with some fun. 

If you want to kickstart your 2021 strong – join our community of amazing global growth experts. To learn more go here.

With warmth,
Salto team

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