Winter is coming. Even the most optimistic of us realize and accept that we’re in a recession.
We at Topflight have certainly been the beneficiaries of the prolonged bull market. Easy money flooded our marketplace, and from the time I started my last healthcare startup to today, it got progressively easier to raise money with less. We’ve partnered with over 100 startups during the last 5 years, and they’ve raised in excess of $200 million during those partnerships.
As easy money and leverage unwind, we will see a dramatic transition in the startup landscape.
As a business, we certainly have some headwinds to ride out. But as a startup founder myself, I admit I couldn’t be more excited for our clients to get back to the basics, and for us to work our asses off together and claw out victories the hard way.
As Warren Buffett said,
“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked”.
The vanity metrics and salesmanship and track record of being “investable”, will now take a back seat again to utility and fundamental business strengths, and the companies that do survive the next few years will become the household names of the next few decades.
We’re not creating a new narrative here.
2008 was the last big crash, many of us were actually around to experience it firsthand. 401ks were halved, and it took 4 years for their previous value to come back. But during that time, unicorns like Airbnb and Slack, among others, rose from the ashes. Incumbents like Amazon and Mailchimp also turned brutal downturns into hugely successful pivots, one going from an online bookstore (remember that?) to the largest marketplace on earth, and the other going from corporate retainers to a freemium model that spurred 500% growth in a year.
In all of these cases, being one of the few survivors led to future, previously-unimaginable domination.
We at Topflight have in many ways been preparing ourselves to become THE recession-proof technical partner. What started out as a business helping clients shipping MVPs to raise funds, has morphed into our current brand as a swiss army knife helping clients carve out successful businesses, with or without splashy raises.
Allow me to boast a few examples of how we did just that:
WalkerTracker (Steps Competitions for Employee Health)
- Deployed: Rapid Prototyping, full-stack development, product strategy, DevOps engineering
- Boosted: app store rating from 2.7 to 4.5 (10’s of thousands of reviews)
- Acquired: by Wellberry Solutions in 2022
Rocketmath (Gamifying Math for Kids)
- Deployed: Rapid Prototyping, full-stack development, product strategy, revenue strategy, DevOps engineering
- Boosted: user count to 320,000 (200% growth since 2021)
Soberbuddy (Addiction Recovery AI Chatbot)
- Friends & Family round
- Deployed: Rapid Prototyping, full-stack development, product strategy, app marketing
- Boosted: retention by 300%, average engagement time by 40%, app store from 3 to 4.5 (30k SaaS users today)
- Reduced: cost of acquisition by 50%
Dedica Health (Cardiac Remote Patient Monitoring)
- Deployed: Rapid Prototyping, full-stack development, product & business development strategy, DevOps engineering, HIPAA compliance
- Landed: $300k / year SaaS customer, turned ROI positive in 2021
There is no vagueness or salesmanship in these examples. By applying our “not just great code” approach to building technology, our clients were able to see cold, hard positive ROI from the hire. The growth that might have taken VC-funded startups a 7-figure engineering and marketing payroll to achieve, we were able to achieve as the core team for the annual cost of 2 senior engineers.
As we enter uncertain times, we’re doubling down on what we’re most certain of in our bones:
- On partnering with fundamentally-strong business models that are not reliant on raising (nice to have, not required).
- On being the best swiss army knife on the market, combining best-in-class design, development, product strategy, DevOps engineering, and marketing to add the most value to our clients’ bottom lines.
If you feel like we might be the missing piece, there’s never been a better time to let us redefine what a technical partner can do for you. Reach out and tell us what you’re working on, and we’ll share everything we know. No smoke and mirrors, we’ll tell it like it is and let you know if we think we’re the right team to take you to the promised land.