This time last year, following recent investment into Iptor, I was quietly confident that I would soon be able to share exciting pieces of news like the one we’ve announced today (our Mesa acquisition). I had just arrived at Philadelphia airport to visit some of our US key accounts and to start laying the groundwork for further growth acceleration in the Pharma industry. And yes, the thing called COVID-19 was already in the news and eating into almost every dinner conversation. But as it was for everyone else, I didn’t have the slightest imagination of the scale of what would be coming next.
I will leave the entire New Normal WFH and lockdown aspects aside, since there have probably been more content pieces produced about it than on any other topic in the past year. But the impact of this topic has dramatically shifted people’s overall economic mindset and outlook. Growth acceleration plans have had to make way for worst-case scenario planning; instead of new project requests, customers started asking for payment plans; and instead of planning the onboarding of new businesses, we all had to focus on making sure own employees stayed safe, and got set-up in their home offices – whilst still being connected to customers and colleagues to keep the business going. Celebrating business growth was replaced by virtual coffee corner conversations and mindfulness programs to ensure wellbeing for everyone in the organization.
But thankfully, there came a point last year when a lot of us realized that maybe this is an opportunity, that now is the time to lay the groundwork for future growth. And this is exactly what we did.
Re-engaging the accelerator
In the middle of last year, we re-started conversations with some of our acquisition targets and moved back into concrete negotiations. Despite things taking longer than normal, the announcement we made today (“Iptor acquires The Mesa Group”) is the first result of that shift last summer.
Therefore, our acquisition plans are now at full speed ahead again. This momentum is driven by an appetite and ambition for further growth to strengthen and expand our footprint during, but especially for post-pandemic times. And at this point of course I should say “Welcome to The Mesa Group! Great to have you with us for the future.”
Courage to launch new products
With all major events and product launches put on hold or cancelled, it was when I noticed MS Teams auto-updating with lots of new features, almost like out of a surprise box, that we took another look at some of the product launches we had originally planned for the year.
And whilst not running full-blown campaigns, given the different challenges and priorities our customers face, we have soft launched Iptor 1 as new multitenancy solution along with various other add-on products, with smaller scale, but highly focused investments.
This has really paid off. As a result of this tactical shift we have seen growth momentum towards the second half of the year, that no one would have even dreamt of a couple of months earlier. Despite an almost shock stand-still in May on customer side, these targeted soft launches delivered a growth in subscription revenues of over 60% in 2020. I am really proud of how our team has driven this.
And even for new customer acquisition, despite having kept some of our marketing “powder” dry, we were able to generate four net new customers on our new (but only soft-launched) multi-tenancy cloud solution in the US in just three months.
Unlocking investments for the future
Similar to the tactical investments in marketing, at the same time we also made the decision to unlock the largest investment and change program in technology in years, if not decades, for Iptor.
As difficult as it is to make large investment decisions in uncertain times, it will be rewarding in June this year when will be launch a (what we call) “New World” generation of products and services. From New Normal to New World.
A few weeks ago, I shared news of one element of this investment program with the announcement of our strategic partnership with HARMAN to help drive our technology transformation through their New York based design division, Huemen, on the User Experience side.
This finally leads me to one of the most important things enabling all of the aforementioned topics. And that is: the focus on the right partnerships. Because it might be only me, but one of the really outstanding and positive aspects of the past year has been the crystal clear understanding of who you can rely on and want to grow a business with.
Managing Partner, CMO/CPO