t’s that time of year, and with such a momentous year as 2021 has been for Coverflex, we couldn’t let it end without taking a beat to celebrate, share and think about the future. 

In the year since we launched our product, we went from 0 to 1,222 companies, serving more than 27K employees in Portugal, grew to 47 Coverflexers living in 6 countries & count 3 M&As.

It’s not our first startup rodeo, so we thought we’d share some of the key drivers of our growth this year, a few things we learned and what we want to double down on in 2022.  

  1. Test and learn as early as you can.

It goes hand in hand with our proactive approach of seeking out feedback with the people who have the most to win with us creating a great product that works well (our customers and users), but it doesn’t go without saying: we can do the research and preparation like nobody’s business, but at the end of the day, nothing beats getting something out and testing it with real customers. 

  1. Treat your customers like they are your partners.

From zoom calls (24K hours) to chat (+120K minutes), support requests (+17K tickets) -we’re not going to count the phone calls on our personal lines!-, we've been talking with customers a lot from the very beginning. We listened to feedback, answered questions, addressed issues (as proactively as possible), and got to know them.

  1. Understand the problem you’re solving.

We don’t need to imagine we’re in our customers’ shoes: we’ve actually been in them more than once. It’s a great advantage when we understand and feel the pain of the problem that we’re trying to solve and when we work to build the product for ourselves as well.

  1. Be light and quick on your feet to Iterate fast on internal processes.

If something seems like a great idea but isn’t working out after a few weeks, it’s time to rethink it. Identify inefficiencies and address them with solutions. Go back to point 1 and experiment with a new approach. It’s better to seem precipitated than it is to let things drag out. 

  1. There (really) is no such thing as over-communication.

As we doubled in size, it’s been hard to keep everyone in the loop. And if people don’t buy-in fully, it’s just a matter of time before things unravel. Buying in requires the entire organisation knowing in full transparency the same things that senior leaders know, so everyone in the teams remains aligned, engaged and focused on the right priorities. Great initiatives that we’ve developed during 2021 aligned with this have been: documenting processes & learnings on Notion, holding regular all-hands & retros meetings, implementing goals & OKRs — we use Miro and ClclickU-up — and sharing them company-wide, sharing openly live company dashboards (Data Studio - it’s free!) with KPIs as well as the company budget and board decks. In 2022, we aim to keep communicating openly and even more regularly.

  1. Committing to a remote-first company ethos is a challenge, but it’s worth it.

When you’re recruiting without the constraints of geographical location, the possibilities are (almost) limitless. We launched Coverflex during the pandemic and have stayed remote-first ever since, which means we built our systems from scratch so we could hire talent anywhere (we have 47 Coverflexers currently living in 6 different countries and we’ll add more in 2022). But finding incredible talent with such a large pool isn’t the only upside: creating a diverse and inclusive culture with people from different backgrounds, who have their eyes set on the world and are not only thinking about their backyards, is great for a lot of different reasons. People bring their true selves to work, they want to be their best selves, they share ambition and vision and this makes things extra exciting for everyone involved. 

  1. Extreme employee obsession is the way to go. 

Yes, we have a group of very talented individuals who work well together. But what really matters is that we have a team, a family, an alliance. Motivated people who believe in a mission and are passionate about their jobs are absolutely crucial to any operation, but more so when a company is at the stage we are in. Fostering a sense of true belonging and camaraderie, caring about each other and having fun together while working (and playing games) is priceless. We’re always going above and beyond—but we’re definitely enjoying the ride. 

Our people share the love <3

  1. Working hard, working smart and everything else. 

We’re mindful of our time and our team’s time and try to foster a good balance between the demands of the work and a good integration with everyone’s family life, time off and individual needs. We created policies to back that up: from extra holidays to extended parental leave, which people have enjoyed and which everyone in our team has respected and taken seriously. But we’re a startup. That means every day we put in matters and makes a difference. And that sometimes we need to break the sacred balance of work and rest to get to where we want to go. All the days we have put in have amounted to something: we’ve added more than 612K lines of code (deleted +100K), developed more than 18 new product features, had +23K hours on Zoom. We believe in our ambition and in the advantage of relentless execution.

  1. Back up your decisions but don’t let absolute certainty hold you back. 

When you start a business, you’re aiming to solve a problem with a different approach. You should learn as much as possible with your competition (incumbents and other startups) but you should try your own things based on the team's belief and feedback from your clients (which, most of the time, means reading between the lines). 

You're never going to have 100% of the information you need to make a decision. Waiting to be completely sure will make you too late. 20% is not enough - it probably means you're betting on luck. So, 80% seems like a good aim: it lets you remain fast but have solid arguments for what you're going to do.

Yes, we tested a lot this year (you have no idea: from dividing our Product, to creating our own networks, to releasing features we really believed were game-changers) and we "failed" many times. But each failure just got us closer to success - that's how we look at it. The process of making decisions and learning from their outcome is an essential key to success. 

We want to thank everyone for an amazing journey so far. We absolutely, 100%, could not have done it without you. And we’re just getting started… 

2022: BRING. IT. ON. 

We’re taking Coverflex beyond borders. 

We’re making good on our promises at home, improving our product every day so we can create a setup of transparency, simplicity and co-ownership of compensation, where both people and companies feel equally informed and empowered.

We’re becoming the go-to platform for people and companies to personalise and manage compensation end-to-end.

Join us!

The Founders

Luís Rocha, Miguel Amaro, Nuno Pinto, Rui Carvalho