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167 City Road, Old Street, London, UK

The Switch, 1-7 The Grove, Slough, UK

101 Federal Street, Boston, MA, 02110, USA

Dock Road Junction, Cape Town, 8001, SA

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  • Writer's pictureRoss Williams

Thriving in a downturn - What we learnt and how you can prosper

Updated: Oct 24, 2022


With the stock market plummeting, technology valuations crumbling and mass layoffs predicted particularly amongst VC-backed companies, I'm reminded how we started our business and how it grew significantly years later when the last major recession ravaged the world's economy.


We never took external investment


We're a privately-owned, bootstrapped business - we never took external investment and our shareholding structure means we are free to make decisions that are in the long-term interest of the majority of our shareholders. This is extremely liberating and relatively unique in the technology sector.


We started our business back in 2003 - 19 years ago - in the ashes of the dot-com implosion. We started slowly, building our business using shareholder credit card debt. After 5 years, we were growing steadily and profitable, with a small team supporting our young business. Because we never took external funding, there was never the pressure for the "growth at all costs" behaviour that I have seen by so many technology startups over the years.

Venntro during the 2008 recession


By the time the next recession rolled around in 2008 we were in good shape and ready for the surge of growth that we experienced between 2008 and 2014.


During this time a number of factors combined to help our business grow rapidly:

  • Reduced competition for advertising as other companies cut marketing during the recession

  • Cheap credit available for partners to invest in growing their sites on WhiteLabelDating.com

  • Increased consumer focus on life's fundamentals (relationships) and low cost way of achieving it

  • Low cost form of entertainment (chatting to new people online vs expensive nights out in bars and clubs)


We also benefited from low competition for offices when we negotiated the terms for our largest office in 2009 which we moved into in 2010 - this space allowed us to grow our headcount considerably before launching other offices in San Francisco, Boston and London until we experienced issues in 2014 which stopped our growth and forced us to reassess our plans.


Modern day Venntro - Where are we now?


Since establishing our values in 2021 along with our long-term vision and clear mission for 2030 we have attracted and retained some great people who were hired on value and cultural alignment.


We've seen a positive transformation of our core business WhiteLabelDating.com since the start of the year as a result of significant investment we made last year. We're now well placed to grow and hire over the next 2 years without the need for funding or significant top-line growth.


Whilst the impending economic collapse will differ from what we've experienced before, there is no doubt that there will be significant opportunities for profitable, agile companies to grow their business, thrive, hire the best talent and prosper as a result of an uncertain, changing commercial environment.


We look forward to doing exactly that.


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