Startups are fragile organizations, generally with short runways, operating in volatile contexts. Such is the case with the largest startup in the U.S. Airbnb was close to IPO, and suddenly they had to cut 25% of their staff (and let go of 1,900 team members).
In our case: The risk was double. For being a startup but also for taking part in one of the fastest-changing industries: Publishing & Media.
There were three significant strikes against our industry:
- All the book fairs and industry events were canceled. These are crucial for the ecosystem; it is the space where companies get together to sign new deals, sell and buy rights, and explore new technologies like ours. In our case, Book Fairs drove 33% of our customers during 2019.
- Schools and Universities were closed. Right when the school year was starting, LatAm kids were sent home. Publishers in the K-12 space make 90% of their annual sales during this period of the year. 40% of our customers are K-12 and academic publishers.
- Printed Newspapers stopped production and delivery. This forced newspapers and media companies to switch to a fully digital mode quickly like never before.
Despite the crisis and these strikes, we understood this was an all-in moment. Coronavirus will pass, but its consequences will remain for an extended period, so this was the time to go all-in and try to be helpful.
In times like this, the best growth hack is being helpful to your customers, leads, and your industry in general.
So we started asking what we could do and here’s our answer:
- Offered Publica free of charge to any publishers affected by COVID-19
- We lifted limits on every customer who needed to upload more content.
- Payments were paused to everyone who needed to hold until recovery.
- The capacity of the servers was increased, free of charge, to keep up with the increased usage.
The outcome was way more than we expected, we’re thankful for every company that decided to trust us with their digital businesses during this situation. Particularly to those who help us think of new ways our technology can be used.
Our customers have answered, and we are very thankful:
- The total of users that interact with any of the libraries or storefronts created with Publica increased almost 10X. Going from 130,000 active users to more than 1,000,000 MAU.
- We had the highest growth period ever, with more than 35% MRR growth in just two months.
- We onboarded more than 50 new customers during this period!
- And during this pandemic, we launched the digital replica of the largest Newspaper in Chile, La Tercera. In less than one month, they passed 25 million subscribers!
I know this is just the beginning of a new phase for us and for digital media in general. You can count us to be here to support content creators through this transformation process, no matter where it may take us.