They always say that if, as a founder, you’re not embarrassed by your product when you first announce it, then you launched too late.
We certainly knew that feeling when we pitched for Pilots with a powerpoint and prototype two years ago, but by December 2021 we felt pretty good about our app. We had just signed our first proper production contract; we thought we had nailed the most important workflows, felt good about our app stability and were generally ready for prime time.
Well, looking back at some screenshots from a year ago and the long list of features that were still missing, you could be forgiven for questioning our lack of judgment at the time.
To their credit, any teething issues didn’t dampen our users’ enthusiasm for our app and it was hugely satisfying to, in 2022, finally see them get real value out of what we had built.
Over the course of the year, we managed to increase our user base to several hundred bankers across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia and with their feedback and requests we gradually beat our app into shape.
Adoption went about as well as we could have hoped for, borne out by one of the most important metrics we track: the annualised run-rate of bond new issue pricings processed through our app.
We started the year at precisely 0 (excluding Pilots), got to around 220,000 by May and are now running at over 400,000 pricings/year (as of November). That’s a lot of Syndicate and DCM hours saved and issuer clients covered - and also shows the necessary volumes to get into more interesting data analytics (our focus for 2023).
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the fantastic team that makes Bots what it is.
According to every company on the planet, their team only consists of A-players and rockstars. We, of course, have those too, but more importantly we also had fun working together as a team and it feels like we’ve found a good balance between delivering at pace and not letting work dominate our lives.
As a remote team, you have to make the in-person days count even more. Luckily, this came naturally and we had some genuinely enjoyable get-togethers, saving the planet from virtual zombies, throwing real-life bowling balls and working our way through the London restaurant scene.
Learning our lesson from last year, despite how good we might feel about our app today, there’s still tons to do. We have some really exciting data partnerships in the pipeline, more and better analytics, new types of outputs, better UI/UX and much more.
There are of course also challenges ahead, from macro headwinds, to squeezed tech budgets and the famously long sales and onboarding cycles in banking technology. But we’re going into the new year full of optimism because of one fundamental belief: if we put our heads down and continue delivering value for our users, the business success will inevitably follow.
From all of us here at Bots we wish our clients, partners, suppliers, fellow fintechs and the whole DCM community a restful break and we look forward to working together in 2023!