Businesses across the world have been affected by Covid-19, with many left facing uncertain futures. But it wasn’t all bad news. Some firms exploited new market opportunities created by the crisis and survived because of the pandemic. Others held their nerve and achieved significant growth rates in spite of it.
Anticipating economic recovery
Revenue and headcount at most recruitment firms were impacted during the early days of the pandemic, and executive search firm TritonExec was no different. However, the company took the decision to retain its entire global salesforce and make strategic investments and hires, paving the way for a 50% increase in revenues in 2021.
“In the last nine months we have doubled our headcount and secured $30 million in contracted revenue,” says partner Natalie Zingo.
Founded in 2011 and headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Miami and India, TritonExec acquires senior leadership for fintech and professional services across the U.K., U.S. and APAC. During the pandemic the company anticipated the growth that was about to happen in the fintech market with the recovery of the global economy.
“We took a risk and made strategic investments in growing our physical footprint and making hires at partner level to expand our practice and footprint and capitalize on the market recovering,” says Zingo.
Having already demonstrated its ability to help private equity-backed hypergrowth tech companies scale at pace, its go-to-market strategy became the catalyst for its own growth surge, in spite of the pandemic.
The shift towards remote hiring has also worked to the firm’s advantage. “Candidate pools are broader due to remote hiring,” says Zingo. “But more interestingly, we’ve seen that the diversity of thought and backgrounds in leadership hires has opened up because of this shift to remote business. Global expansion is quicker and more accessible today than ever before.”
Services that became more relevant
With email still the primary channel for business and marketing communication, data accuracy is vital. Email databases degrade by an average of 22% every year, resulting in bounces, spam complaints and low email engagement, not to mention a significant waste of budget for companies.
For email validation firm ZeroBounce 2020 was its best year ever. Launched in 2015 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, the company removes risky and obsolete data from email databases to improve email marketing ROI.
This year ZeroBounce made the Inc. 5000 list with a three-year growth of almost 1,000%, and a 56% increase in new customer sign-ups compared with last year, due largely to their service becoming even more relevant during Covid-19.
Founder and CEO Liviu Tanase says: “Email data quality is always important, but in 2020, when virtually every company used email to send critical updates to their customers, it became paramount.”
In April 2020, ZeroBounce also added three new tools to its platform; an email server tester, the inbox placement tester and the blacklist monitoring tool. An additional factor in the company’s stellar growth performance was the scale of job losses caused by the pandemic, which accelerated data decay in the B2B space.
“This year, the Great Resignation trend followed,” says Tanase. “An email address that you collected last week could very well be invalid today because that employee was laid off or quit.”
Rapid business growth isn’t without its challenges, and the first few months of the pandemic saw huge volumes of customer emails being processed on the platform. Since March 2020 the company has validated around seven billion email addresses. “Thanks to the scalable nature of the platform, we were able to react quickly to the large increases in demand,” says Tanase.
Demand fueled by remote working
HR tech startup Veremark was launched in late 2019 and in spite of the global crisis, grew by over 800% in 2020. The applicant background checking and screening startup has offices in London, Singapore and Manila, and a regional presence in Australia, India and Hong Kong. Veremark recently raised £2 million in an oversubscribed seed funding round.
Employers use the platform to run background checks on candidates or existing employees, spanning academic and employment history, social media, criminal and credit checks, etc. The results are then packaged into a Blockchain-verified ‘career passport’, which employees can take with them to future roles, significantly reducing the administrative burden on HR teams.
CEO and cofounder Daniel Callaghan says: “The key factor behind our high growth was generating significant word-of-mouth referrals from our clients, which I believe was down to the strength of our product.”
The shift to home working and virtual hiring during the pandemic increased demand for running background checks. “Employers were often unable to meet prospective employees in person at all, or were hiring overseas for the first time, and needed to take extra steps to vet candidates,” says Callaghan.
The only challenges presented by the growth surge were ones that the business was ready for. Callaghan adds: “We had expanded our team and set up multiple operations centers in different countries, which gave us some flexibility when one market was hit heavily by coronavirus measures.”