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A year ago, as Widewail celebrated its first birthday, I reflected on the power of entrepreneurship to bring family and friends closer together. Today, on the verge of Widewail’s second birthday, I’m thinking about resilience.
A year ago, as Widewail celebrated its first birthday, I reflected on the power of entrepreneurship to bring family and friends closer together. Today, on the verge of Widewail’s second birthday, I’m thinking about resilience. Companies of every size and shape have been tested in extraordinary ways in 2020 - and we’re only halfway through the year. We have all learned about ourselves and our ability to be creative and make sound, timely decisions as a result of current events. You can’t teach this stuff. No Harvard MBA is prepped for navigating the storm we’ve found ourselves in.
Widewail is like a dingy caught in swells alongside ocean liners. We are barely noticeable amongst giants who dominate both industry and national news. “Twitter says everyone can work from home, forever!” “Google to rethink its physical footprint!” “Work from home is the new norm!” As a small and nimble startup, we were weeks ahead of these goliaths, as were most of the founders I know. The future of business depends on this type of evolution. Work/life balance is not a cliche. Flexibility is required in order to attract and retain the right talent. In a work-world dominated by tools like Slack, Zoom, and their counterparts, this really isn’t a surprise. Give your team back the 1-3 hour daily commute time so they can enjoy it with their friends and family instead. Makes sense.
Personally, this time at home has come with a silver lining. Only a month after Vermont had its first confirmed case of coronavirus, Angi and I welcomed our daughter Berkeley. Amazingly, this was a somewhat familiar situation, as our 2.5-year-old son Lincoln joined the world while I was between jobs in 2017. Apparently we like to keep things exciting in the Murray household.
So, how are we doing? Widewail set an all-time sales record in June, coupled with our highest number of activated new customers in the same timeframe (process, process, process). In April and May, we didn’t lose customers, but we did everything we could to support them, including offering large credits to offset costs as their sales/revenue was down. As it stands, we will still have a shot at hitting our forecasted 2020 revenue. That’s amazing to me, and super motivating.
Our staff has doubled and our revenue has grown 4x in a year. This is very healthy growth for any company. Our product development efforts are accelerating and we’re feeling early demand for some of our upcoming releases from both customers and prospects. The future looks bright.
Here’s the stark reality of startups and something I talk about with our team roughly once per quarter. If you don’t work at a startup, you think startup life is super cool. It must be SO FUN. While we do have fun, startups are a lot of hard work. There’s no place to hide. Everyone must contribute, every single day. When you work for a medium-to-large company you can sort of mail it in from time to time. This isn’t possible when there are only 15 people in the (virtual) office. So - startups ARE super fun, but mostly because you can look back over your shoulder at what you’ve accomplished with extraordinary pride.
Something our VP of Engineering, Adam Burnett, has said occasionally is ringing in my ears. “This is type 2 fun.” Type 1 fun is just good, old-fashioned fun. Type 2 is a mix of pleasure and suffering, but super fun in retrospect. So true, so much of the time.
What’s the impact of type 2 fun? A really close, committed team. We work hard. Together. Every day. Nothing brings people closer together than a shared challenge. Widewail is stronger than it’s ever been due to these experiences. Our interpersonal bonds have grown immensely. We work for each other toward a common goal. It’s beautiful.
I honestly cannot fully communicate the feelings I have about where Widewail is today. We’re profitable. We’re growing. We’re accelerating. And we’ve done it on a modest seed round that is nearly 2 years old at this point.
Looking ahead, year 3 has a clear goal: 2-3x revenue. We’re committed to the goal and know how we will get there. There is no substitute for execution. And if this year is any indication, we know we have the adaptability and resolve to handle unique challenges.
Wail on, Wailers
Matt Murray, Founder/CEO
I’m a father, husband and hockey coach as well as founder and CEO of Widewail. I spent a decade with Dealer.com, Dealertrack and Cox Automotive as the VP of Enterprise Strategic Growth and Retail Solutions prior to spending a year at Podium as the GM of Automotive and SVP of Strategic Accounts. I’m also a highly committed, yet extraordinarily average, guitar player.
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