2020 was the year the world came to an halt, huge numbers of people were confined to their homes and overall circulation took a big hit, what does that mean to a company that provides navigation and discovery services?
To give a little insight on NDrive’s culture, maybe we should go back to 2007, that’s the year we spun out from a digital map company with one goal, to make navigation a commodity available to anyone.
For years that meant creating our own dedicated hardware in the form of Personal Navigation Devices to use while driving; When smartphones came around, we were among the first licensing navigation software in the form of apps while also providing solutions for the emerging car infotainment market.
In the subsequent years we continued developing interesting partnerships with more regional search providers by providing navigation solutions on a search based business model or simply as a way of enhancing brands’ perception that wanted to add a highly sophisticated product to their portfolio.
As time went by, it became clear we were among the last ones of our kind, with the tech boom, small independent navigation software providers became more and more of a rarity, they would either get bought out by bigger companies or crush under their own inflated weight, driven by an eagerness to grow pushed by outside investors.
But even at that time NDrive was not a startup, we had been around for too long to fit the profile and kept moving forward in multiple fronts, both developing products for other brands but also investing on our own, launching a free global navigation app whose monetization is ad driven, a somewhat old ambition of ours as we saw the app business lean towards the freemium model.
So now what? How did 2020 affect us? Well, without disclosing too much details we can say that when the Pandemic hit, we were closing interesting deals with at least one company that has since gone under, other projects were stopped in their tracks as meetings were cancelled with no predictions to when they would be rescheduled, and needless to say time spent on our apps were affected by the lockdown.
Thankfully our deep ingrained culture of innovation and propensity to tackle different projects kept us safe throughout the worst, and while other companies had to, unfortunately, lay-off some of their staff, we were actually hiring, strengthening our Core-team – the branch responsible for the heart of our technology and what fundamentally makes our product what it is.
We also got better at working remotely, every department (if you want to call them that) adjusted to this new reality and before the year was over, there was already a new renewed excitement towards what’s to come. Progress in our own product development is at a new all-time high pace, some of our partnerships have developed into new interesting long-term projects, there’s new developments on our Automotive Market front and thanks to our skills in routing technology, previously untapped markets such as Logistics and Distribution are now very real possibilities for NDrive.
Having such a record of market adaptability, of consistently looking at navigation in such a broad spectrum and tackling so much and yet maintaining a small and agile team is what brought us here, and we like it here, it’s a place of optimism, opportunity and growth and it feels like all we have to do is keep being who we are.