Season’s greetings from Vesta:
We’ve gone quite a while without a blog, but as things start to calm down after a frantic Q4, it feels like sensible time to consider and reflect on the last twelve months. It is sometimes hard to imagine that at this time last year, we had just kicked off our accelerator with Startupbootcamp, we only had one working Vesta and our platform and application existed far more in our imaginations than on our GitHub.
So what have we done in the last twelve months?
- We finished Startupbootcamp and presented Vesta to an audience of more than 400
- We started our first paid trials in the UK, Norway and Brazil
- We built a the first commercially viable version of the full solution AND this was with most of the team working evenings and weekends only!
- We presented at events in London, Birmingham, Hamburg and Bologna and were able to see the market for sustainable and functional packaging take shape
- We built dozens of Vestas and now have a hinged-lid, spray, pump and pour configurations designed, built and tested. This has involved more hours of configuration, testing and careful manufacture than any of us could have expected, and our prototype models are a real testament to the skill and dedication of our engineering team
- We have partnered with our friends at NEW consulting and made huge strides in Scandinavia as a result
- We have deployed our application, our client portal and our amazing new website (look at the website, I’m not kidding, it’s awesome)
It’s not all achievements either. Looking back fondly on a year well spent is very satisfying, but a rose-tinted view won’t serve that well for next year. We have made loads of mistakes, got things wrong, ordered the wrong components, forgot to update a .PHP call, not planned enough time to test things properly and on one notable occasion, completely ignored that Android apps don’t like connecting to Wi-Fi networks with no internet connection (this doesn’t sound that bad, but it was a nightmare!!).
Simple mistakes are easy though. You look at what you did, figure out what went wrong, and you try not to do it again. The biggest challenge of the year was more psychological – how do you stay positive in the face of challenges, how do you listen to the subconscious voice telling you that this whole exercise is doomed to fail, how do you work with no budget and try to balance life, work and an outlandish dream project for a distributed team of people with amazing skills and lots of other things on their minds beside Vesta? Three things have, just, kept me on course this year:
- Tremendous support from my business partners, my friends and family and my network. We have had so much great support and even the smallest vote of confidence is more valuable than I’d ever have expected before we started.
- Belief in what we’re doing. The world has become aware that we are doing damage to our environment in a way that isn’t going to be ok or work itself out. People are looking to take action and I think we’ll see disruption to every industry as we all start to think more about how what we do changes the world around us.
- As stressful as this is – and it really is – this is a different kind of stress. I, and the whole team at Vesta actually care if this works. We’ll be exultant if it does and devastated if we fail. However safe and secure what were doing before was, it didn’t matter like this.
And for next year?
- We hope to close our funding round and bring the team on full time (stay tuned on this one)
- We have a LOAD of new development work to do to make our service even better
- We are looking forward to turning small trials into proper commercial roll outs
- We’re looking forward to meeting new companies as clients and partners and to finding even more use cases for Vesta packaging all over the world
It has been a breathless, exhausting and exhilarating twelve months. I can scarcely imagine what I’ll be writing at this time next year.
Happy Christmas to all from Vesta!!