Our first quarter as a company

graphic of two surfers riding waves and high fiving
Written by:
Picture of Natasha Ratanshi-Stein

Natasha Ratanshi-Stein , Founder & CEO

Surfboard just celebrated its first full quarter as a company! While things are still very early, I wanted to pause and reflect on what we’ve achieved and learned so far, and how that’s shaping our path ahead.

In January, we closed a funding round with an amazing roster of investors, which gives us enough runway to get building, test ideas and expand the team. Their support and advice so far has been incredible.

Hiring has been a primary focus and also one of the more challenging things to get right in a remote environment. We’ve met with some great candidates including product experts, engineers and data scientists. We’re excited to have some fantastic people coming on board soon to be part of our early journey and continue to look for ambitious and talented hires.

We onboarded our first three customers who have been delightful to work with and have provided us with very meaningful feedback to keep our roadmap moving in the right direction and shape our early product. We’re grateful for their brilliant ideas and patience with us as we test and build for them.

We progressed our product far quicker than we could have imagined and now have a data transformation structure that generates a forecast and staffing model within two minutes of connecting to a Zendesk and / or Twilio API. Our forecasting covers both the short term and long term and we are using a combination of methods to be able to incorporate growth models and other external factors to help our customers plan for the next month or the next twelve months.

We got a lot better at customer research using practices such as “The Mom Test” to ensure we weren’t using leading questions as we continued to interview companies across all sizes to understand their challenges around scaling their customer service operations. We spoke to some academics who had completed their PhD theses on contact center optimisations and began to scratch the surface on building a multi-channel simulator that takes into account the various constraints associated with staffing a contact center offering both live and non-live channels. We began iterating on product designs and learned very quickly that less is more and our product should reflect our second value: keep it simple.

Finally, and extremely importantly, we created our first set of values which you can read more about here.

Building a company remotely has come with its challenges and took away from the start-up excitement of building as a team out of a garage or kitchen (although I bought a Patagonia fleece to fit something of the founder cliche 😜). The biggest disadvantage we faced was not finding a way to properly celebrate our successes. Hiring and thinking through the best ways of collaborating and developing a culture has also been more difficult in a fully remote environment. We have been using remote fikas and getting cakes delivered to onboard new joiners and will continue to develop our own little traditions as we grow. We’re curious to hear how other companies are doing this without staying glued to their monitors. As I write this, many workplaces, cafes and pubs in the UK are preparing to open up in some capacity so hopefully we can add some in person interactions to the mix soon.

Things moved quickly this quarter and we’re conscious that as we dive deeper into our product and embed ourselves further into our customer workflows, we’ll be embracing new challenges and will spend more time on refinement and accuracy.

We use OKRs to measure our progress and delivered on all the metrics we set ourselves. We’re thrilled with this progress but will continue to make sure we are setting our goal posts to be continuously ambitious so we can provide a 100x improvement for our customers and achieve our mission of happy customers, happy team.