2021 has been a pivotal year at Bots. It’s when we transformed from a hopeful trio with a prototype into a proper company with a team, product and customers.
Coming directly from the DCM and Syndicate business, Oli and I were always convinced of the benefits of our solution and we had no doubt that banks could gain enormous value from it.
The two questions we couldn’t definitively answer upfront were:
1) Can we build the platform so that it lives up to our product vision?
2) Can we get past banks’ onboarding and procurement hurdles so that Syndicate and DCM bankers get to experience it (the assumption being that from then on the enthusiasm of our users would take care of the rest)
The first question we already answered for ourselves in 2020, when we ended the year with our first working prototype. There was of course still plenty of wiring sticking out and missing features to be built (something that kept us busy throughout 2021), but we already knew we had cracked the fundamentals.
2021 then was all about the second question. We spent Q1 signing up our first pilot banks to test our app in a live setting. To our great relief this proved to be straightforward and we found that our proposition resonated with both management and users.
As a product that primarily competes with in-house tech teams, our “unfair advantage” includes our domain expertise and ability to translate customer feedback into a coherent product. And sure enough, the pilots resulted in plenty of feedback for us to act on. Encouragingly, almost every comment and idea fit squarely within our product vision, making the famously tough job of prioritising a product roadmap at least a little bit easier.
The step from pilot to full rollout during the 2nd half of the year was a minor one from a product and user perspective, but a major step up in terms of admin and documentation. We had expected nothing less and were about as well prepared as a young startup could be. Nonetheless, it was a huge relief to finally complete this journey from start to finish and go into full production in December.
It’s immensely satisfying to see how DCM and Syndicate bankers are embracing our platform and how, with their feedback, our offering gets better and more refined on a weekly basis. Taking a look back at where we were this time last year and the progress we have made and another look at our roadmap and the team we now have in place, it’s hard not to be excited about the future.
We’re incredibly proud of what the team has achieved in just the first 18 months of the life of our company and grateful for all the commitment and support from our early customers, advisers, partners, data providers and of course the team at Bots.
Happy holidays and to a successful 2022!
Stephan & Oli