020 - what a year!
There are so many reasons to look back and wonder at the year that went in a direction that no one expected. It certainly wasn’t the year we were expecting here at HowToo, but that didn’t stop us from having an incredible year of fun and growth.
Throwback twelve months, and our team was a fraction of the size it is now. For the past year and a half, a small team had been tossing around ideas, prototypes, and an MVP, refining ideas and code until they knew they’d hit on the sweet spot of design, functionality and accessibility. We scheduled a date for launch and the race was on.
In the first two months of 2020, COVID-19 was barely a blip on the radar as our team doubled in size, full of enthusiasm and party-planning excitement. In the same time period, we moved into The Studio, the first of our coworking offices, designed to propel us even further forward as a tech startup through collaboration with experts, investors and other startups.
At the end of February, we officially launched HowToo with a great big party, sharing our journey so far and featuring presentations from our good friends at Intopia, who have been invaluable in helping to improve HowToo’s accessibility, and Kaplan, one of our earliest customers. From there, clients began to roll in thick and fast, many of whom had followed our journey.
Within a month however, COVID-19 became a sudden and shocking reality. Sad to leave The Studio behind, we found ourselves working from home in the new normal. Despite the unexpected shift, we continued to move forward unabated as our digital company easily adapted to video calls and home offices. Our development team excelled, delivering exciting updates and new features to the tool while our sales and customer service teams worked hard to develop close relationships with our customers.
In April, we were thrilled to learn that we had been awarded the Australian government’s Accelerating Commercialisation grant. This generous grant opened up a world of expert advice and funding for HowToo to take us to the next stage of growth. One of the biggest benefits of the grant was the ability to increase the size of our team again, and in the middle of the year we were able to add a huge amount of expertise to our Sales, Marketing and Design teams. At the same time, we delivered a much needed update to our LMS system (HowTooHub), and began developing an integration with the HowToo tool to offer customers a seamless learning experience for their organisations.
The second half of the year continued to see us move from strength to strength. In November, we were awarded the Innovations Connections grant to assist the development of Artificial Intelligence in HowToo, giving us the chance to bring some of our most exciting ideas to life in 2021 and beyond. We were shortlisted and then won the Boosting Female Founders Initiative, opening the opportunity to scale HowToo domestically and globally and develop our vision of an AI-driven digital marketplace for sharing learning courses. We also moved to a new coworking office, WorkClub at Barangaroo, to continue to build connections and capabilities within view of Sydney Harbour, and were proud sponsors of A11yCamp 2020.
As the end of the year draws to a close, the possibilities for 2021 seem endless. Our ever-expanding team continues to burst with ideas for new features and capabilities for HowToo. We’re working towards ISO 20071 Certification to give our growing customer base even greater peace of mind when it comes to IT security, and we continue to work with Intopia to make HowToo more accessible than ever. All in all, 2020 has shown us that no matter the curve balls that might be thrown our way, our team is ready to adapt and excel.
Here’s to 2021!