Oh, the places you'll go
WegoWise turns five years old today.
Anniversaries and birthdays are important. They're an excuse to pause for a moment and reflect; to take stock of the past and appreciate the present.
I started writing the first lines of code for WegoWise even before we were a company. I've been responsible for, or deeply involved in, every feature and decision, step and misstep, that we've taken since then. This company is, for lack of a better term, my baby. So the symbolism of today is very personal for me.
I'm a firm believer in focusing on what's next; life is ever changing, and basking in past glories leads to complacency. But, just this once, if you’ll allow: Five years. That brings a smile to my face. Because in five years, we've accomplished a lot.
When I started WegoWise, my primary motivation was to work on something that would produce a genuine positive impact in the world. It's why I wanted to build this instead of another social, finance, or shopping startup. It's rare to build a web startup with nonprofits as your co-founders. In fact, I don't know of any other company that's done it. But I did, because I knew that New Ecology and Boston Community Capital were, by their very makeup, driven by mission. And I had a lot of trust in them as organizations, and in Ed, Dick, and Andrew as people.
What wasn't at all clear when we started, though, was whether or not we could really pull this off. We needed to change how people think and we didn't exactly have everything going for us.
Five years ago, few building owners were thinking that energy efficiency should be a key part of their operations, and even fewer were thinking about water. I couldn’t find a single efficiency-related tech company that operated in the multifamily sector. Everybody looking at “cleanweb” was trying to capitalize on network effects among single-family homeowners, or make a lot of money selling products to expensive commercial properties. We wanted to serve an audience that couldn’t afford expensive tech (think of affordable housing) but had the greatest opportunity for improvements. On top of that, many of our potential customers simply didn’t use web apps for anything at that point. Imagine the sales pitch: “I know you aren’t thinking about efficiency, have no room in your budget, and haven’t ever done your work online, but you really need to use our awesome web-based platform to track the efficiency of your buildings.”
Lucky for us, the business case for efficiency is solid. We focused on creating something that people would love to use, and that we knew could have a real impact on their buildings’ performance. In the end, it worked. This is what our growth has looked like for the past 5 years:
And what was responsible for that growth? An amazing team, that I've been lucky to work with for the past five years. You start off building something on your own, and all of a sudden you realize you've got this crowd of talented people working towards a common goal. It's a wonderful feeling.
It's still very early days for WegoWise and I don't take anything for granted. But this is a nice day to realize that we've already changed how things are done. If you're thinking about how to manage a building and you aren't thinking about making it more efficient, you're behind the times. If you're not benchmarking your building, you will be. The efficiency industry as a whole has come to appreciate how much opportunity there is in the multifamily sector and the importance of effective data-driven tools in getting things done. We've played a big role in that shift and that's something we can afford, just for the moment, to be proud of.
Now back to focusing on what's next. We have tons of incredible stuff lined up. The first five years was nothing. Upwards and onwards.