The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted societies and their economies across the globe. Today I join Henrik Jesman Sunde, Founder and CEO of Zelo, to discuss how this pandemic has affected their team divided halfway across the world with San Francisco and Norway.
Zelo is a tool that delivers the right message to clients and coworkers via the preferred communication channel of every end recipient. The software automatically sends to each individual at the time when they are most likely to engage with the content and provides valuable analytics to management on how to improve. An idea that, for Henrik and many other team members separated by space and time, is especially relevant.
Henrik, when you left the PeopleTech Partners growth program, where were you in your business at the time and what were your plans?
Having a lot of traction both on product development as well as customer base, we were quickly expanding both in Europe as well as the US with paying customers. Our plan was to build a team in the US and increase our traction in that market.
How has COVID-19 affected your move?
First of all we saw how communication and content analytics was crucial when people first started to work from home. The email channel quickly became clogged up and we registered huge moves over to social platforms. Personally we the founders needed to fly back to Europe in order to comply with national regulations at the time, providing management and conversations with our US team over video from Norway. As more and more teams started working remotely we’ve seen a huge interest in our services, and we want to help out in these special times.
Has the time difference affected you and your team with a 9 hour time difference?
Sure, being a global company with team members and customers on different continents can be a bit tricky. In our opinion it is mostly about planning logistics and how we personally look at time. The current health crisis has brought us closer in many areas and I think a strong, unified culture is key to be open and willing to share the different challenges we face in this situation.
How are you able to manage this?
First of all, our entire Europe team has shifted work hours to be more compatible with Pacific time. That means starting at noon and working late evenings. This gives us a good time overlap with our Bay Area branch where we can share knowledge, personal issues and goals for the future.
For others that may be in your situation, what advice would you give?
Being open and transparent is key in high stress situations. Nurturing a culture that encourages helping out both colleagues, clients and being proactive in offering assistance is something that both reduces frustrations but also gets you faster to your target.
What is Zelo doing to help teams across the nation? How can the platform help those who need it?
Right now we’re offering our services for free to teams in the US.
We regularly have video calls where we offer advice on how to improve both client and employee communication during these difficult times. We’re also implementing Zelo on a proof-of-concept basis for many companies to show content analytics and provide data-driven insights and decisions on how to iterate communications with them.
With Zelo you can provide personalized outreaches to every individual, in the channel and with the timing that is tailored to each recipient. Channels include email, Slack, SMS and Workplace with many more to follow.
The Zelo Dashboard provides a unique view of the responses to communications with your audience and identifies trends that you should be aware of. In addition, you can also compare your communication performance to teams on a global basis to understand where you can make improvements.
What are your plans for Zelo moving forward?
We will continue to expand our efforts across the US with our global team and expand our Bay Area branch to support the demand in the market. We’ll also do a Seed round to raise more capital to support further growth now in the near future. But right now it is all about helping out the community and we are ready to facilitate calls and understand the situation of every PeopleTechPartners member, share the data with best practices we’re looking at and see if we can help in any way possible.