Planning and Executing a Pivot Properly

When YUPIQ, the first team Alacrity recruited to the Entrepreneurship@UVic program made the decision that they needed to pivot, much was uncertain. The entrepreneurs, the employees, the investors, and the organization all had difficult decisions to make with regard to the future of the company. This is their story, told over a series of posts from each of their perspectives.

The word “pivot” has a particular meaning in the startup/tech world. When companies pivot, they are recognizing that what they are doing isn’t working to achieve their goals. Everyone associated to the company tends to be fearful when hearing this word because of the high risk associated with it.

Pivots don’t always have to cause turmoil, however. If researched, planned, and executed well, pivots lead to a focusing and a new way to find growth that may otherwise be missed. This was the case for YUPIQ, which successfully pivoted to become Referral SaaSquatch.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of posts regarding YUPIQ’s pivot. We will take a look at what occurred from the entrepreneur’s perspective, examining how the decision to pivot came about, the effect it had on the founders and employees, and where it ended up leading them. We will also delve into the same events from a different angle, illustrating how Alacrity was involved in the decision-making process and what the investor’s perspective was on the change.

We believe this series will be novel, presenting a rare look at the different perspectives on everything relating to such a catalyzing event in corporate development. By understanding how this pivot occurred, we hope any businessperson approaching similar challenges will be able to take away helpful insights. We also hope that investors who have a portfolio company entering into a process of deep self-assessment will derive value from this candid series.

The first post in the series will be featured Monday providing the background that led up to the critical decision being made to pivot. The events leading up to the pivot were perhaps most aptly summarized by Torben Werner, YUPIQ co-founder/CTO at Referral SaaSquatch:

“We knew we missed the market. We knew we had some problems in the business and we weren’t making progress. I think everyone knew that.”

To create this series, we interviewed stakeholders individually and asked them to recount their memories relating to the events that took place. What emerged was a cohesive picture of the circumstances and reasons that led differing stakeholders to arrive at a similar decision regarding the best course of action. Here are just a few highlight quotes from the series which provide some takeaway perspectives from stakeholders on what they learned.

“The patience to stick with a group of people and incubate not just a company, but a team is something that the Alacrity Foundation has done really well and I think that a lot of the successes come from that patience and a people-first approach and not a product-first approach. If it was a product-first approach, we would have been done in 3 months.” -Logan Volkers, YUPIQ co-founder/COO at Referral SaaSquatch

“I think they could feel the pressure from me that something wasn’t working. It didn’t take much for them to recognize that they needed to change. […] Taking the time to develop a strong sense of culture also means you don’t just stick with something because you bought a whole pile of really bad lemons and now you need to make lemonade. The right culture means the team is empowered to adjust and be flexible in their pursuit of success.” -Owen Matthews, The Alacrity Foundation co-founder

We hope that, as a result of reading the series, you’ll come to understand how the various stakeholders have reached their current successes and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.
Continues in:Investor Perspective on a pivot