2020 has been tough – but also amazing!
2020 has been a difficult year in so many different ways, but – at least in business terms – it has been a VERY exciting year for everyone Envolve Tech.
We have grown from a promising startup with a handful of clients into an established member of the performance marketing industry, with new partnerships being announced every week.
We are looking forward to an even bigger 2021, but there are a lot of highlights from 2020 we don’t want to forget. Here are some of the very best:
Attending Affiliate Summit West: Three of us, including CEO Emma Smith and Head of Business Development Dan Harding, headed to Las Vegas in February for what we thought would be the first of many performance marketing conferences in 2020.
We were overwhelmed by the interest on the expo floor in our Virtual Shopping Assistant, and were really pleased to get to meet so many key players from the performance marketing industry in person. Little did we know it would be our last opportunity to meet in person for over a year!
The overall takeaway from our time in Vegas was really positive: there was a lot of interest in what we could offer!
New network partners: We started 2020 with a handful of network partners, but throughout the year have added new clients from every major network in the industry. We are now live with advertisers from Awin, Tradedoubler, Impact, Webgains, CJ Affiliate (both in the US & UK), and more.
Perhaps the best network endorsement to date came in the past month, when Tradedoubler added a Virtual Shopping Assistant to the website of their new network brand for small businesses – Grow.
Growing team: At the start of 2020 you could fit the entire Envolve Tech team into a taxi – well, a minibus. But we are well past that stage now and can boast some very important new hires especially from summer onwards. These include our new Head of Partnerships Dan Amarquaye, our new Product Manager Holly Rumble, and our new Customer Success Manager Jennie Westbrook.
Improved technology: Our team of skilled tech developers, led by our Head of Product Management Angela Meadows, has been busy improving our Virtual Shopping Assistant throughout the year.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade of all came in the ability of our A.I.-powered tech to recognise the context of certain words depending on sector. For example, it can be hard to get a machine to understand how the word “little” doesn’t always mean small, as in a “medium-sized little black dress.”
Angela and the team rolled out a language analysis upgrade sector by sector, starting with the fashion industry, to get our Virtual Shopping Assistants answering more questions with the right answers as often as possible.
The results speak for themselves, and we are looking forward to bigger and better improvements to come in 2021!
Industry Recognition: We were thrilled to be nominated in three categories in the 2020 edition of the Performance Marketing Awards, and even more excited to be Highly Commended for Best Customer Conversion Platform.
Just to get nominated in our first full year in the industry seemed huge, but to get second place in a category full of established players was more than we could have expected.
More recognition came a few weeks later when our CEO, Emma Smith, was named “one to watch” in the PerformanceIN Top 50 for 2020.
Remote working: Since the start, Envolve Tech has always been a company which embraced flexible, remote working. Even before the first lockdown, we only gathered in a single physical location once or twice a week. When the new reality of work arrived suddenly in March, we were able to adjust pretty seamlessly, and we are incredibly thankful to have had such a family-friendly structure in place from the start.
Of course, being a fast-growing company with a distributed workforce means there was a time when a lot of us had never met face to face. We finally got that chance, during a easing of restrictions in the Summer, at a country park in Wiltshire. We climbed trees, swung down zip wires, threw axes, and shot arrows (at targets, not at each other). It was a huge amount of fun, and much better than a Zoom meeting for getting to know each other.
Hopefully we will get the chance to meet together more regularly soon, but until then – remote working is just fine.
Investment surge: Envolve Tech opened a new investment round in 2020 and the interest from investors was MUCH stronger than anticipated.
With an initial target of £325K, a whopping £720K was raised in total, setting us up for a chance to concentrate on growth and technology improvements for many months to come.
Black Friday euphoria: What can we say – Black Friday and Cyber Monday went as well as could possibly be expected.
This wasn’t exactly a surprise – we were expecting great things – but it was really fun to see the data as it came in.
Our Virtual Shopping Assistant allows online retailers to instantly scale up to any increase in inbound enquiries, and when one retailer experienced a 202% jump in product questions, the VSA handled the increase without a hitch. Our clients had such good results, one compared us to other performance marketing giants like Honey and Retail Me Not!
Okay, clients 2021 is going to be even better!
Of course, no year end retrospective would be much fun if we weren’t expecting much bigger things to come.
Yes, we are expecting to add more and more Virtual Shopping Assistants to websites at an accelerating pace.
Yes, we are expecting the Envolve Tech team to keep growing.
And yes, we are expecting to continue racking up better sales conversion results for our clients every month, just as happened in 2020, BUT…
We do have a big announcement coming in early 2021, so we already know the year will be starting off with a bang! Just subscribe to our newsletter or come back to check our site in the next month or two to find out what it is!