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As the year comes to a close (not soon enough for most of us!) and the holidays kick into full gear, I’d like to maintain a FastSpring tradition and reflect on the past twelve months.
2020 was a year unlike any we’ve experienced before, that tested all of us in ways we couldn’t have imagined twelve months ago. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, we were very fortunate to have an extremely successful year at FastSpring, and I’m excited to share some of the major highlights below.
1. We helped facilitate record growth for our customers.
Not only did our customers thrive in 2020, but they also did so at a record level. On average, our customers’ revenue grew by nearly 20% relative to 2019. While much of this was fueled by the strength of their offerings and the rise in ecommerce as a whole, at FastSpring, we rolled out a program to proactively assess and help optimize all facets of our customers’ ecommerce experience and rolled this program out to many of our largest customers. We have always operated FastSpring with the mantra that “we succeed when our customers succeed,” and it was very gratifying to see so many examples of this in 2020.
2. We experienced the strength and resiliency of the digital ecommerce economy.
As the pandemic hit, we, like most businesses, prepared for the worst. I expected our customers’ businesses to be fairly resilient in a downturn, but we were facing economic headwinds that hadn’t been experienced for nearly a century. To my surprise, not only did our customers survive – the vast majority have thrived. Many of their software solutions sold by our customers facilitate remote work environments, and most customers have expanded their customer bases meaningfully during the pandemic.
3. We dramatically increased our investment in product development.
The pace of innovation in the ecommerce industry is accelerating, and we aspire to play a significant role in leading this charge. As such, we increased our investment in Product Development far in excess of any other business investment in 2020, as part of a two-year plan to approximately double our Product Development team’s size. With this new investment, we are already increasing our pace of innovation and have a very exciting roadmap of things to come over the next 12 months. We are enhancing nearly all aspects of our ecommerce and payments capabilities to make our customers even more successful.
4. We acquired SalesRight.
The acquisition of SalesRight, an innovative pricing and interactive live quote solution, will play an integral role in expanding our solution to address the needs of B2B software companies that rely on sales teams in addition to ecommerce sales. We have received incredibly positive feedback from SalesRight customers on the value of their standalone solution, and this solution will only become more powerful as it becomes integrated with the FastSpring platform. As the worlds of sales rep driven commerce and ecommerce converge, the acquisition of SalesRight will help us create a leading solution to enable this trend.
5. We demonstrated our resiliency as a team and successfully reinvented the way we work.
The isolation, stress, and unpredictability of 2020 were unprecedented. Yet, our team transitioned seamlessly to working remotely, never lost sight of helping our customers succeed, and remained incredibly committed to one another. We found many new ways to stay connected and have some fun, and it was inspiring to see how well morale has held up in light of the circumstances. This year really made me aware of what a special team we have. In addition, I witnessed many examples of incredible resourcefulness when the team was forced to approach challenges in new ways. Despite the year’s challenges, much of this resourcefulness and reinvention will positively impact our business for years to come.
6. FastSpring grew at a record pace.
As a result of our customers’ success and the hard work and great execution by our team, our 2020 growth rate has accelerated above the high growth rates we have experienced over the last five years. In 2020, we will experience one of the highest growth rates in the company’s 15-year history and by far the company’s highest absolute revenue growth ever. For the first time, we will process over ten million transactions in 2020.
7. We added three new executives to our team.
We continued to strengthen our team in a very meaningful way by adding Mark Lambert as CFO, Zia Zahiri as CTO, and Andy Jolls as CMO. These three individuals are highly talented and bring an extraordinary breadth and depth of experience to their roles. They all share a very entrepreneurial mindset while having experience scaling businesses to many times FastSpring’s current size. They are all passionate about our vision and will help us augment our capabilities in critical ways as we continue to evolve our solution. Mark, Zia, and Andy have already had a very positive impact on our business and our culture, and I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome them to the team.
8. We helped our local and global community in a time of great need.
We continued our commitment to supporting causes that are important to our employees and the community at large. While we weren’t able to volunteer in person as we have in the past, our record financial performance allowed us to increase our financial support of several important organizations considerably. We have long had a close relationship with the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County, and their donations were impacted tremendously by the pandemic. Despite this, they have found ways to continue delivering on their mission. We supported them by sponsoring 30 children’s ability to participate in remote schooling pods at the Boys and Girls club. These children come from disadvantaged families where both parents typically work as essential workers, thus leaving these kids with no oversight during the day if it weren’t for this program.
In light of the social injustice we all witnessed this year, we also contributed to several important organizations that have tirelessly worked to address such challenges on a national and global scale, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the European Network Against Racism.
We’re Looking Forward to the Year Ahead
As we turn the page on 2020, I’m excited for what lies ahead. The events of the last year have had a profound and positive impact on the ecommerce industry. New buying behaviors have unquestionably permanently expanded the ecommerce market. The tumult of the previous year has also caused virtually every ecommerce seller to reevaluate aspects of their business to determine how they optimize for the new reality. Most ecommerce sellers have improved their capabilities as a result. Our customers have also challenged us to help them in ways they haven’t before, which only makes us better and has enabled us to forge stronger ties with many of them.
As a backdrop to all the changes of 2020, the software industry’s positive trends fueling growth have continued. Subscriptions continue to gain momentum, while global ambition and expansion remain a top priority for many software companies. As tools continue to proliferate and reduce the cost and barriers to developing great software globally, the software industry will continue to experience rapid growth. This growth is primarily driven by agile, innovative, emerging companies that can now effectively compete with more established players. These are the companies FastSpring exists to serve.
On behalf of the entire FastSpring team, I would like to thank our incredible customers for helping us make 2020 such a successful year, despite incredibly challenging circumstances. We look forward to helping you continue your incredible momentum in 2021!
I wish everyone a happy, joyous, and safe holiday season.