Those Who Achieved Prosperity in Times of Austerity


We wanted to end a somewhat challenging week on some promising and good news.
Our message from the very beginning of this pandemic has been to keep calm, maintain your market space, and prepare to thrive when normality resumes.

We know this can be difficult to envisage in the midst of chaos (we’re in the same boat as you too!), so we wanted to end this week with some success stories of household name businesses who have used times of austerity to prosper, which will hopefully inspire you to keep the end in sight.

Together – we can do this.
Main Takeaways from this email:

  1. Experiencing a negative situation can bring new innovation and ideas.
  2. Rejection is not the final outcome, let it be a lesson to keep going.
  3. Think outside of the box.
  4. Are you the first person to bring your idea/product/service to the table?
    1. If you are one of the first, don’t sit on the idea, act on it.
  5. Reaching new milestones comes at a price.
  6. With failure comes success. Don’t give up.


In the midst of the 2008 recession, unemployment was at a high of 4,733,040, in France.

In December 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp couldn’t get a cab in Paris. That’s when the idea for Uber was born. It started as a simple idea: “What if you could request a ride from your phone?”

In 2009, Uber launched in San Francisco and the 2 entrepreneurs developed a smartphone app that let people tap a button and get a ride.

The first-ever Uber trip took place on July 5th 2010.

By June 10th 2018, Uber had already done 10 billion trips and it once held the title of being the highest valued private startup company in the world.

As of March 2020, Uber’s estimated net worth is $100 billion.


In 2007, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky moved from New York to San Francisco. They couldn’t afford their rent because they had no current employment.

Knowing that a big design conference was coming to San Francisco, and hotels rooms were becoming increasingly hard to come by, they had a brainwave.

They created a simple website, airbedandbreakfast.com – and bought three air mattresses, and arranged them in their loft, offering conference goers a cheap place to sleep and a choice of their very own purpose-branded cereal; Obama O’s and Cap’n McCains breakfast cereal in the morning. This is where airbedandbreakfast was born.

Whilst they initially struggled to turn the idea into a fully operational business and got rejected multiple times from investors, they continued to push forward with the project and used the funding from their own breakfast cereal to generate a stream of income (worth $30,000) to keep the project going.

In March 2009, the company finally scrapped the Air Bed & Breakfast name and simplified it to Airbnb. After years of trial and testing, in 2011 they attracted the biggest Venture Capitalists in Silicon Valley, turning it into a ‘Unicorn’ which is a private start-up that is valued at over $1 billion.

Airbnb now has 7 million listings worldwide with accommodation in over 220 countries, and in September 2017 it was privately valued at $31 billion.


Slack is an online instant messaging platform for businesses; a smart alternative to email.

Stewart Butterfield and Cal Henderson, the founders of Slack, initially used it as an internal tool during the development of an online game which never took off. Despite the online gaming failure, they continued to use Slack and continuously developed it, until it was launched as a commercial product in August 2013.

By testing Slack on its own development team over a long testing period, the company knew exactly how people were using its product long before unveiling Slack to the world.

In April 2019, Slack went public without an IPO and saw its shares soar to $21 billion in valuation.

Slack is one of the Fastest Growing B2B SaaS (Software as a service) Businesses.

Slack had around 12 million daily active users as of October 2019 and has an annual revenue of $630 million and has over 2000 employees.

Opportunity is always there – if you’re willing to embrace change, adapt and overcome austerity.

If any of these stories have got your cogs turning, drop me a message so we can discuss getting it off the ground.

Stay safe and well.

Scroll Up