(Photo courtesy of HCEDA)
While lots of 2020 economic analysis focuses on the big shifts at the industry level as businesses deal with the fallout from COVID-19, it’s also worth noting that the year is affecting company plans for getting in front of new clients — and forced new approaches.
Take QuoLab Technologies, a Columbia-based software company with a platform that brings together different data sources tools and workflows to allow for information sharing and collaboration.
Having launched toward the beginning of the year at the big cybersecurity conference RSA, the spinout of Germany-based QuoScient GmbH made new connections and contacts that were going to set the tone for the year. It had plenty more conference trips planned. But as it turned out, RSA was one of the last big networking events where folks in the industry got together in person before the pandemic led to canceled events.
When we initially caught up with CEO Daniel Young in May, a change in approach was well underway.
“To be honest with you it hasn’t shifted in the negative,” he said then. “We’ve been able to actually pivot and adapt to the market conditions, and we realized there are other opportunities you can make in the space with the right amount of legwork, time and investment.”
In particular, this meant new strategies for sales and marketing outreach that could help to drive business. As face-to-face meetings with clients slowed, they’ve been turning to virtual meetings like most everyone else. And LinkedIn, for one, has been big for the company. It’s more of a one-to-one approach compared with a conference where it’s possible to meet many people at once. But Young said the business-centric social networking platform’s tools allow the company to find key decision makers and folks who could be internal champions for introducing their product. And with less travel, there’s time for more of these individual meetings.
“It’s kind of doing door-to-door sales without the door-to-door,” he said last week. “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of success from that.”
Young said it has also opened up more of room to get to know folks on the human level. That’s led to several partnerships with others to help grow. Having started and led other companies, this gets to one of Young’s core beliefs about startups.
“Partnerships are the bread and butter for startups. That’s what we live or die by,” he said. “When it comes to getting into different markets, getting your message out and being effective at those activities, partnering is definitely the way to go.”
The company put a flag for this approach in the ground earlier this as it launched the QuoLab Partner Program.
These can help with international expansion. On Tuesday, the company said it is teaming with Singapore-based Axcelerate as it seeks opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region. This can help to kickstart conversations with Managed Security Service Providers, which provide outsourced security operations for companies, about potentially adding QuoLab as a vendor.
It can also help with strategy. Earlier this year, the company entered a new partnership with C5 Accelerate, the early-stage venture arm of C5 Capital which has a presence in D.C. This is designed to open doors in the federal government marketplace, as one of its key focus areas is working with U.S. government customers. Healthcare and financial are another couple areas of focus.
When it comes to the team, the company’s mid-Atlantic presence is in focus. Young said the company’s staff in Europe slimmed through attrition. Instead of rehiring for that group, the company focused on the U.S. and has brought on three software developers in the last three months, as well as two full-time sales team members to bring the total employee team to 15. Young expects to reach 20 people by 2021, and hopes the majority will be in the Maryland-DC-Virginia area.
Based out of the Howard County-run Maryland Innovation Center in Columbia, the company is maintaining office space. It’s a space where team members can come if they prefer, and Young said he’s made new connections with other businesses there, as well. That said, the company also has remote team members. So going forward, he sees the office more as a place to bring folks together when needed.
“I’m trying to balance the business decisions and needs versus people’s natural desires and inclinations to make sure I’m giving them the best opportunity to be successful,” Young said.-30-
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