For anyone working in product development, especially start-ups involving digital services, the concepts of rapid experimentation and iteration based on data, working against big changes in specs and requirements, chasing the holy grail of product-market fit are all not out of the ordinary. But one year ago, we publicly rolled out the Givsly Platform to onboard and connect business professionals, while supporting nonprofits in need amidst a global pandemic. I would be lying, if I said that the Givsly development team was fully prepared to tackle what turned out to be a very exceptional year to introduce a new product to market.

I returned to New York mid-march from our product meeting in Helsinki, Finland, where most of our developers are based. Amidst rising concerns over the pandemic everywhere, we tried to keep our development team’s focus on the public launch date of April 6, 2020. Approaching a launch is always unnerving, but we suddenly found something as tangible as testing and fixing software bugs oddly comforting. Especially on a product that would ultimately benefit the community organizations that were being disrupted by the latest news and impact of the pandemic. Having worked previously across two continents, we were fortunate to have the experience and tools to continue our work towards the launch date. 

With the increasing pandemic paralysis of corporate America, the founding team in NYC however had to quickly figure out what this meant for Givsly’s business and the platform short and long term. As the initial confusion and panic subsided and many employees started settling into their new work-from-home situation, three solutions emerged that the Givsly platform could solve in this crucial time:

  1. We connected business professionals efficiently – At a time when you couldn’t attend physical meetings or networking events, take clients out or reach out to partners in other traditional ways, professionals were needing to connect for business in a safe, efficient and meaningful way. Givsly wanted to play a role to make worthwhile business connections easily and efficiently for all parties, even when the pandemic was playing out.
  2. We provided a new way to support causes and communities – With many professionals wanting to feel that they could provide some tangible and positive impact to their communities and causes in desperate need, Givsly provided an avenue to support nonprofits important to them from the safety of their homes and to feel like they had the ability to do something positive amidst the challenging time. 
  1. We offered a timely way for companies to stand behind issues – With no annual galas or corporate volunteering, nonprofits were hit just as bad as small businesses and struggled with fundraising directly and indirectly from the pandemic. In the past 12 months of different types of volatility Givsly members and their companies have been able to turn to Givsly to very quickly stand up for different causes, especially around the pandemic, racial justice and equality. 

While Givsly has provided these means to interact and do business in a positive manner during the conditions of this past year, we have also seen a fundamental shift and longer lasting change in people’s behavior with regards to seeking out and connecting with new business prospects and existing partners. This is why we at Givsly believe strongly that the elements of our platform which were forged in this past year will only become more useful and why we will continue to experiment, iterate and create additional opportunities for meaningful business connections for our members.

From improving ways to better and faster discover qualified new professionals to book time with, to making it easier to schedule and communicate with others on Givsly, new enhancements have allowed us to exceed the impact we made for nonprofits in 2020 in just the first three months of 2021.  Today, on the first year anniversary of the platform’s public roll-out, we are announcing a few more interesting ways to easily understand the significant impact that Givsly members can help drive for communities, just by taking business meetings. 

We are very grateful to our members, our team and all of you who have given us your time, feedback and support. With the experiences and learnings from this rather unconventional first year of the Givsly platform, we draw inspiration and execute for the future. We hope you stay tuned to our efforts as new features and experiences on Givsly roll out this spring and do not hesitate to let our team know how we all can continue to connect for business and do good in the process.