Friends, family, parties too many mulled wines..! As much as I love the holidays, I am ready for 2016 to begin!
The start of a new year is as much a time of reflection as it is an opportunity to start fresh and keep your eyes on the road ahead. It couldn’t come at a better time.
2015 was an unforgettable year, both personally and professionally. Within 12 months KonnectAgain raised funding from ideal angel investors, set up our US office, built a dream team and generated revenue. But something still didn’t feel right…
My co-founder, Helen, and I started to rethink everything, asking ourselves questions like, “Is this where I imagined I would be twelve months later?” and “Is this something I want to devote the next 10 years of my life to?” and “Do I still get excited to come into work everyday?” For each of the above, the answer wasn’t as much “No” as “Not sure.” In any case, it wasn’t “Yes.”
I knew that something was missing. I knew that something had to change, as I felt we had much more to give and staying within the confines of our original market would have eventually led us to a place that undermined our fullest potential. So, two months ago over a round of mini golf in San Francisco (after many hours in front of a whiteboard), we decided to steer the company into a completely different direction, cut back on a lot of things, and go back to step one of starting a company. This was scary, in fact terrifying, you start to doubt everything, to feel truly vulnerable, and understand how fear actually works.But we decided instead to refocus our energy and treat every day as if it could be our last. This has had an overall positive impact on our whole company culture. We think and act differently now, not taking anything for granted, and pinch our pennies ever tighter. Companies in their lifetime pivot an average of 3-5 times which gave me confidence, as did reading Ben Horowitz book, Hard Things About Hard Things, which I would highly recommend when anyone is fearing!
Even so, the last two months have been tough, challenging me to question myself and my motives. I craved validation, which we thankfully received a couple of days after this decision of changing direction!
One of our investors had always encouraged us to apply for YCombinator (YC), one of the top accelerators in the world with alumni like Dropbox, Stripe, Eventbrite and Reddit to name a few. We had missed the deadline for the upcoming session, but decided to give it a shot nonetheless. One week after our decision to pivot, we ended up making it to the initial YC phone interview round; to which only 1 percent of the 10,000 applicants get a shot at. And they liked us.
Without time to fully plot every aspect of the pivot, our interview didn’t pass muster, and we weren’t accepted into this round of YC. We were thrilled with the opportunity, though, and it was a great learning experience and gave us validation. Since then, we’ve spent the holidays brainstorming, strategising, and drinking mulled wine, and feel fully prepared for what’s ahead. Since Christmas we have gained more opportunities than we predicted which gives me confidence that we made the right move!
I have many goals that I’m excited about but most importantly I have now learned that things don’t go to plan, plan for the worst case scenario and no one else has it all together either all you can do is just work your butt off and hope you have a bit of luck on your side too!