The Pandemic that broke the Startup’s back, and the pivot that brought it back to life.

The Versofy Pivot to Solar

10, 9, 8,….3,2,1 Happy New Year!

January 2020. A new year, a new decade! Fresh off the back of c400% year on year growth, we at team Versofy were ready to take on the world! After 4 hard years of slogging it out, day in, day out we had finally started to get significant traction. 

Fast forward to March, fresh off a record revenue month in February, we had doubled our sales team and were on track to hit yet another record back to back. We all know what happened next…

The Panic

As panic arose out of a global pandemic this generation had never experienced before. Our revenue trajectory flat lined. Literally. I’m not being over dramatic, literally zero, not 1 cent came through our books in the month of March after the first of what was to be many many more “Family Meetings” with our President declaring a national state of emergency and nationwide lockdown. 

As uncertainty gripped the globe and the world’s plans were put on ice, it was understandable that everyone tightened their belts and stopped spending money. Whole industries were cut off at the knees, helpless in their quest. 

I would be lying if I said we weren’t panicked. Emergency strategy sessions about what to do next. Who can get their hands on masks and hand sanitizer to make a quick buck and keep the lights on? How can we pivot our business to stay relevant, even just for the short term? 

In the months that followed we managed to keep our heads above water by doing odd jobs here and there for our clients. Creating websites and e-commerce strategies kept the lights on, but there was no end in sight for the Versofy core business offering. With our client base made up predominantly of SMMEs in the home renovation space, even if we could generate leads for them, it was illegal for them to operate. We needed to make a plan, and fast. 

It’s easy to think everything is rosy when you growing at 400%

Sales calls turned into strategy meetings. Inward thinking, time to reflect. And as with most things, as we started to take a long hard (honest) look in the mirror, at our business model, product and offering. We started to see the underlying cracks in the business. Previously masked by the traction and progress we were making. Hell, it’s easy to convince yourself everything is rosy when you’re growing at 400%. 

The Pivot

For years we had been advised to focus on one vertical. Building a horizontal marketplace is nigh impossible we would hear. The startup graveyard is filled with those who tried and failed before us. “But they never persevered, never stuck it out” we would say. “We would be different.” And maybe we would’ve been. We were certainly heading in the right direction… 

But the game had changed, the goal posts had moved, and in this Covid stricken world, we would need to adapt or die. And we knew it too!

Picking The Vertical

Once we had come to terms with the fact that we needed to change our business after almost 5 years of chasing a specific vision, a breath of fresh air entered our lungs. We were young again, a startup again. And the best thing is, we weren’t starting from scratch. We had a product, we had a user base, and we had 5 years of learnings and experience to take into our new business. 

Enter Solar Energy 

For 2 years leading up to the Covid pandemic, the solar category on had been our best performer by miles. A high-value item, with endless demand off the back of Government incompetence and a new spate of load shedding. Our new focus was staring us smack between the eyes. Throw in the impending electricity price increase, more load shedding, and a much needed move to renewables and we had a no brainer on our hands. 

We are now a solar energy company! And we couldn’t be happier. 

Since we decided to rip the bandaid off and pivot our business things have gone from strength to strength. We have a dedicated focus, an army of unbelievably professional installers, world class financiers, and investors that share our passion and are giving us the ability to change the way South Africans generate and consume energy. 

So although COVID-19 was the pandemic that broke the startups back, the pivot that followed has seen emerge stronger, wiser and ready to fly!

We look forward to what the future holds. And we are so happy we never let a good crisis go to waste. 

If you are interested in making the transition to Solar Power please fill get in touch with us and we will walk with you every step of the way! 

2021, we ready to go! 

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