The MIT Enterprise Forum of Atlanta held its most recent virtual event, Weathering the Curve: How Technology Companies are Overcoming the Impact of COVID-19, on September 8th with an expert panel of proven business leaders and entrepreneurs from three Atlanta fintechs:
- Tom Pearce, CEO / Chairman of MAXEX
- Dave Excell, Founder of Featurespace
- Steve Soukup, CEO of DefenseStorm
The discussion, which was moderated by Nelson Chu, Managing Director of Kinetic Ventures, centered around the impact COVID-19 has had for individuals and businesses across the globe. Communities have had to re-design everyday activities from grocery shopping to local events, while businesses have felt the significant sting of decreased consumer spending, high unemployment rates and broad economic uncertainty.
As we begin to adjust to the ‘new normal,’ business and technology leaders are left with difficult questions such as: How can we continue serving customer needs? Where do we invest in new or enhanced product offerings? All while keeping their staff healthy, safe and engaged.
All of the panelists, who successfully navigated through the 2008 financial crisis, acknowledged that the global pandemic is unlike anything they have seen before. Like many companies, they have had to deal with financial and customer impacts, as well as managing the overall health and well-being of their employees.
While it hasn’t been easy, the panelists noted that by leveraging their employees, customers and platforms, they have been able to weather the financial impact and are set-up to end the year on a strong note. That said, they know not every business is as fortunate and offered the following advice for companies and entrepreneurs:
- Continue to invest time and money into your greatest resource – your employees. It’s hard to build and maintain a solid company culture when you’re virtual, but find creative ways to keep your teams engaged. Whether that be scheduling “virtual water cooler meetings” where there is no agenda, but rather time for colleagues to bounce ideas of one another or leadership taking the time to schedule 1-on-1 calls with employees to ensure they are happy and remaining productive.
- Focus on your core customers and the relationships you’ve built. Dave Excell stated that Featurespace secured its first client during the 2008 financial crisis and it was their customers that ultimately helped them through the crisis.
- Invest and remain confident in the technology and durability of the platforms you’ve built and the services you provide.
For more information on upcoming events, visit https://mitefatlanta.org/events