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  • Writer's pictureYannick Oswald

How are you taking advantage of the lockdown?

Following my optimistic post last week, I am continuing on the same tone and sending more positive vibes.

One of the most impressive things I have witnessed over the last weeks is how our entrepreneurs are overcoming the current situation. While the challenges vary significantly across the portfolio, I have seen many of our founders turn them into opportunities. These founders are f***ing heroes that I feel incredibly grateful to be working with.

They bring their teams closer together than ever before, create more productive and caring cultures, and discover fantastic opportunities to move forward with their mission.

They pinpoint the elephant in the room and have a plan. While they acknowledged the challenges ahead (some sooner than others, but, most importantly, all were upfront with their employees), they focused on providing a credible plan for winning. Speed and honesty were vital to get the teams' buy-in for their plans.

Most topline actions fall into three buckets.

(1) Accelerate growth (if possible)

Marketing is an obvious opportunity, in many instances. With a 40% marketing QoQ cost decline (in some markets, online and TV ads went down by 20% to up to 70% respectively), performance marketing channels have become less expensive across the board. Every one of our CMOs is adapting its acquisition budgets and channels. You might have come across Youtube and TV ads of some of our companies, such as Wix or Sybel. Get ready for more 😉.

There are many opportunities, and every smart team is looking for them. Here an example of an insurance company that gives all of its car and van policyholders a flat-rate refund of £25 for each vehicle insured, in recognition of the fact that most people are staying at home and driving less during the lockdown.

The initiatives of our company K Health are another great example. Among others, they joined forces with Louisiana State University (LSU) to give everyone in Louisiana the possibility to meet doctors for free.

(2) Strengthen existing customer relationships

Finally, this is also an opportunity to show your customers that you care about them. Whether you are in a position to spend on growth or not, everyone needs to nurture the relationships they have with their existing customers, especially now. Here are some of the initiatives taken by brands to help their customers get through the lockdown:

  • Nike encourages people to ‘’Play inside, Play for the World’’ (offering its Nike Training app premium features offered for free) and committed over $15 million to COVID-19 response efforts

  • Pret a Manger gives 50% off all food and drinks to NHS workers in the UK

  • Heinz committed to donating 12 million free breakfasts over the next eight weeks to children who need them the most

  • Headspace is offering access to its app (which usually runs $12.99 a month) for free to healthcare professionals

  • And so one...

(3) Set the foundation for future growth

Yesterday, I read about Milan's ambitious scheme to reduce car use after lockdown, as it plans to transform 35km of its roads and cut air pollution/congestion: 'We have to reimagine Milan. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset cities'. As the deputy major of Milan, one of the cities that has been hit the hardest by COVID-19, put it: 'Of course, we want to reopen the economy, but we think we should do it on a different basis from before.'

So, what's your lockdown growth hack?

Opportunities are everywhere,



Content that I have found interesting:

- Our company Adverity closed a $30M round with Sapphire Ventures. Excited for what’s ahead!

- Great essay by my friends at Tribe Capital on why Carta will be a massive company and how the ownership of one of the most essential pieces of atomic value for every company, the cap table, opens up many opportunities

- Insightful post by the Voiceflow founder Braden Ream on why 'every app will be a voice app'. He addresses multiple important topics around voice as a new interface and where to find a killer voice app use case... #VoiceFirst

- My Kauffman buddy Peter wrote a great post on how LPs are looking at the world right now

- My friend Henrique published a great post about some growth hacks that have been used successfully over the last decades, from the Bank of America to Hotmail and Dropbox

- Happy talk vs. hard talk by David Sacks: If there was ever a time for Churchillian leadership, it’s now



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