When the pandemic hit in March, many scaling businesses took this as a sign to press pause on their growth journey and pick back up when the timings seemed better. This was not the case for Vesuvio Labs who decided they had too much at stake to call it a day in the face of adversity.
We spoke to Kristian Feldborg, founder & CEO of Vesuvio Labs, on why he put his business into fifth gear in the midst of a global pandemic.
Back in February, we had just decided it was the right time to undertake the transition from start-up to scale-up by adopting a more aggressive growth model with the aim of doubling in size by the end of the year. In order to achieve this, we planned to take on more investment, as until this point we have been predominately self-funded.
“Overnight this changed when suddenly we were all told we had to sit at home. One option was to reduce our activity level, but this didn’t suit our business. We have a large number of contractors that we couldn’t furlough. Our team is also very international with 35 members of staff in Nepal, for example, where no formal scheme was in place to help them. Very quickly we decided we were not going to shut shop or slow down, and instead we’d work harder, smarter, and shift our priorities”.
Despite the pandemic creating problems, Kristian quickly realised it also provided plenty of opportunities for a scaling business.
“As lockdown continued, we realised it had become easier to talk to people in the US, Canada and the Middle East. Through conducting business virtually, we have been able to speak to people from all around the globe and build a more diverse portfolio with a wider range of customers, and products”.
Not only did this provide Kristian with the ability to secure the livelihood of his employees but has also enabled Vesuvio Labs to get back into hiring mode. “Our business is very much in fifth gear. We are getting a huge amount of inbound enquires from old and new customers. So much so that I think we will look back at this time as the biggest moment for growth.”
As well as this, Kristian and the team have also managed to secure new investment in an unprecedented time allowing them to continue to up the ante.
“We are really grateful for the new investment as it’s allowed us to continue scaling our work. We are hugely appreciative as it’s an uncertain time and we couldn’t give our investor huge amounts of guarantees initially. But they clearly saw something in us – a company worth supporting – and that required a lot of trust on their behalf. It’s been a really nice way to start our relationship – one based on trust and mutual respect”.
For Kristian, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the lessons he has learnt since March – and this includes accepting help from the people around you.
“It’s quite common for a founder to take everything on yourself and try and do it alone. But now, I’m much better at working with my team and asking for help when I need it. It’s an exercise in humility really. I’ve really learnt that working with others, reaching out for advice and accepting their support, will always provide better results.”
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