2020: That’s a wrap! Looking ahead to 2021
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The world is a very different place as we come to the end of 2020 than it was at the start. The pandemic has had a significant effect on global economies and has been devastating for certain sectors.
For us, 2020 was only our second full year of trading since we launched in September 2018, so, even in the best of times, this year would have been a tough year for a start-up still finding its feet in the dizzyingly competitive world of R&D tax claims provision.
In reality, this year has been an incredibly busy one for us – during the second half of the year we ramped up our new customer acquisition, largely through increased marketing activity including the launch of our webinar series. The webinars themselves proved to be a huge success and we surprised ourselves with audiences regularly exceeding 100. Of course, this success could well have been a direct effect of the pandemic – it’s certainly true that accountants have recognised the need for additional capital for their clients in this period and that, in itself, is likely to have driven them to proactively look for new solutions and could be what’s driven them to our door!
During the year we have continued to build the team and welcomed first Sandy and then Cristina to the dev team, and Markos to marketing. In his first few months with us as an intern, Markos was based from his family home in Cyprus and at the same time our Technical Director, Rick, moved out to the Netherlands so we took on a distinct international flavour during the summer as, along with the rest of the world, we embraced remote working across the team.
In the third quarter, we released ‘WhisperClaims 2.0’, our new user interface – this was a key moment for us as it was the biggest change to the system since we first launched – we held our breath on “go live” day, and all went well – feedback was fantastic and we look forward to some significant new features next year.
All of that growth has seen us hit several milestones as we near the end of the year: in early December we are pleased to have recruited our 100th subscriber firm and in just the last few days we broke through the £100m barrier!
That’s £100m of eligible R&D spend having been identified by our customers using the WhisperClaims app – quite a milestone!
And of course we topped off 2020 with a surprise (to us at least!) win at the Accounting Excellence Awards in the “Non-Accounting Cloud or Banking App” category. We’ve managed to win an award for every year we’ve been in business so far – our email footers are looking really busy!
As we round out the year, we find ourselves saying goodbye to one of our co-Founders – Richard is leaving us to start another new venture focusing on delivering online training and consultancy. He’ll be a WhisperClaims user and we’ll continue to work closely together in future – we wish him well with his exciting new plans.
What will 2021 bring?
As I write this, we are about to make two new appointments and welcome new team members to sales and development – both of which will help us create more capacity to deal with our continued growth.
At the same time, we are in the middle of building a new website and have been working on a number of new product features that will all come to fruition in 2021.
We’ll be continuing to build out the WhisperClaims community and one of our goals is to double the number of accountants using our software in the 21/22 financial year.
We look forward to an exciting New Year and, like many, hope that we can put the pandemic behind us and continue to enjoy building the WhisperClaims business so that more and more SMEs can be supported by their accountants during what will, hopefully, be a post-covid recovery year.
Happy New Year!