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2020: a year in review

Hello family, friends and colleagues,

Whilst struggling to find the right words to start this piece of communication, I will just say this: Wow. What a year — for all the wrong reasons, but also for all the right ones.

So where exactly did this year go? It’s been a catastrophic whirlwind. Without drawing too much attention to the obvious negatives, at TF, we’re choosing to focus on the positives. In adversity, there is opportunity. COVID-19 has been our worst enemy this year, but in that, also our greatest teacher at the same time — as hard as it might be to say and acknowledge. A very bitter pill to swallow — and a very costly tuition fee.

Within TouchFoundry, and among our clients, we’ve been forced to adapt and witness change. Nature’s very own business acceleration program, we’ve had to white-knuckled it, riding the waves of the Coronacoaster, preparing our breaths on the inclines, bracing for the drops and leaning into the curves.

We’ve been everywhere, and it has been busy. Pivot. Digitisation. Automation. Communication. Touch. These are some of the words that have formed the framework for our 2020.

So in classic TouchFoundry flavour, we’ve performed a retrospective to take stock of what we’ve accomplished this year and where we’ve landed. Gleaning valuable insights from all the lessons we’ve learned and in preparation for what lies ahead of us in 2021. Call me an optimist, but I believe we’ve all had the closest encounters with rock bottom there is to have — which means that there’s only up from here.

Without further ado…

A year of giving back

This year, we played our part by partnering up with EOH, Accenture, Backabuddy, The Western Cape Government and others to create LinkedTo — a platform aimed at solving the food crisis at scale. Allowing organisations to list needs and then be intelligently mapped and matched to potential partners or suppliers, we’ve onboarded over 31,000 organisations onto the platform across the country.

A year of pivoting

Literally. We created a platform aptly named Pivut, that enabled businesses to connect with remote audiences through livestream eventing. Pivut has been successfully scaled and rolled out to include implementing partners, such as Starrstruck.live. They have had the vision, mission and focus to provide a platform which connects audiences to their favourite artists, providing a respite to the tiring wear and tear we all sustained during lockdown.

A year of remote proofing

We took on a very brave and bold decision in opting to take our company fully remote. Many of our clients depend on us to keep the clock ticking, supporting their businesses — with that, we could not jeopardise the physical health of our staff. Having adapted to a new way of working, which wasn’t without it’s teething issues and pressures, we’re glad to say that our business is now able to operate optimally in a way that is location agnostic.

A year of believing in ourselves

We found some moments in between the mayhem to put a little time, effort and love into ourselves. We put ourselves on the dribbble map, started contributing on Medium, expanded our client list as well as started showcasing the best that we had to offer with our showcases and case studies.

A year of success with our clients, old and new

We developed new key strategic partnerships with both clients and suppliers alike. We’ve taken on work in new regions (we now service 6 regions and time zones globally) and 17 active clients choose us as their preferred technology and design partner. We’ve taken on new challenges and have designed, built, launched and marketed products for our clients across 6 new industries.

A year of growth and diversification

Believe it or not, we chose to scale our team during the crisis. Having taken on more talented humans, we believed we were not only investing in ourselves, but in our clients too. And thankfully we did. As a result of an unequivocal increased need of digitisation, at pace, we’ve been able to not only provide better, faster, quality service to our clients, but additional value added services as well, such as marketing automation, product analytics, content creation and more, increasing our overall offering and ultimately value in what it means to be a TouchFoundry client.

A year of product incubation

As a product development specialist consultancy, we’re really amazing at building, launching and scaling products for our clients. We decided it was high time to drink our own kool-aid, walk the talk and prove that we can do it ourselves too — successfully. We synthesised many more new skills, learnings and knowledge along the course, in a way that allows us to better serve our clients. We have 3 exciting product concepts in development, each with their own unique ambitions and strategic hurdles — and we look forward to presenting these to you in 2021.

A year of blessing and thanks

To all our clients who have stuck with us through thick and thin. To all our employees who have devoted their time to wave the TouchFoundry flag high and proud. To all our family and friends who have been there to support us, in everything we do. Thank you all. This year wouldn’t have been possible without this support. To all of you — we are your biggest fans, and we can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for all of us.

In closing: we like to remain ahead of the curve, and whilst we were looking forward in true TF #onandup spirit, we took some time to jot together research, thoughts, musings and opinions on what will make a good product idea in 2021. So read about how to evaluate your next big idea here. Remember, we are not defined by the effects of adversity or misfortunes of the past, but rather strengthened by them. We choose our own paths and with each new day, we are presented with a new opportunity. Life’s too short to not build something that matters. Let’s get out there and make things happen!

Fabio Longano
Founder and CEO