First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Peter Flynn: Well, thanks. It’s been good for the family to spend more time together, but glad to see things slowly “unlocking down”.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you founded Libryo
Peter Flynn: I co-founded a web application development consultancy, which I exited in 2011, with the personal slogan “have fun, make money, do something good”. My good friend from school and church, Garth Watson, along with his partners of a law firm (Gunston Strandvik in Cape Town) were looking to purchase an environmental law consultancy. We bought it together, rebranded it Standards & Legal, and built some technology that would later become the precursor to Libryo. We met Malcolm Gray, who first joined us as an early investor and mentor/advisor for Libryo, but soon after, this became the third co-founder when we registered the company in 2016.
How does Libryo innovate?
Peter Flynn: With ease 🙂
Innovation (to me, and I think all of us here) is about listening with two ears and speaking with one mouth. It’s about employing smart and curious people, providing them with the resources and authority they need and then, thoughtfully ordering the corporate next steps so that activity is organized and wasted energy is kept to its necessary minimum.
How did the Coronavirus Pandemic affect your Business, and how are you coping?
Peter Flynn: We were a “remote first” business since our founding. No one has a fixed desk at an office, and our ±40 employees, spread across at least 7 countries (they move around a lot!), are all able to work from wherever they choose, provided the internet is good. So, for us, its’ really just been about: (1) less travel for meetings and (2) a more deliberate regime of rest (you work a lot harder when you don’t have natural breaks for traveling and physical meetings).
We also decided that it was important to help wherever we could in relation to the pandemic. Being an agile tech provider, we quickly got to work developing a free solution called the COVID-19 Regulation Tracker, to help other businesses globally know their legal requirements in relation to COVID-19. This helps to support the organisations struggling to cope with the impacts of the virus and ensure that their work environments are safe for their employees and customers. Any businesses that want to sign up for this free solution can do so here.
We know that many of our customers have had at least some degree of stress coping during this difficult time, which has had an indirect impact on our team and company. Libryo’s whole team has worked hard to be a supportive partner to all of our customers – each highly valued and appreciated.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Peter Flynn: As a venture-backed startup, we strategically run the business at a loss, in an effort to pour as many resources as possible into growth. When COVID first “hit”, early on, we realized it would be a big deal, and that we needed to extend our cash runway as far as possible and act fast. We also decided that we didn’t want to lose any employees. One strategy we decided to implement, to make this possible, was a 20% pay cut across the whole company. Everyone agreed that we’d all rather be on the journey together, whatever that might be. This (and other strategic decisions) has enabled us to extend our runway far into the future, and we’re currently closing a new round of capital, which will see Libryo in a strong financial position for the foreseeable future.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety?
Peter Flynn: The main things I do are: (1) getting enough sleep and rest during the day and week; (2) spending time at the start of every day meditating and praying alone; (3) getting enough exercise and recreational activity with friends; and (4) surrounding myself with supportive people who have a sincere and true desire to see me achieve my full potential (and me theirs). With those things in place, most difficulties are surmountable.
How do you project yourself and Libryo in the Future?
Peter Flynn: By 2025, Libryo will be the best and most comprehensive global data-as-a-service ecosystem and software-as-a-service marketplace for legal and other requirements. I’ll be doing whatever job I’m best suited to, and most enjoy doing at the company.
Who are your Competitors?
Peter Flynn: Depends on how you look at it. Libryo is a category creator, and we believe that most companies who consider us a competitor would be well suited to be a partner. But it’s really up to them.
And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Peter Flynn: Staying in the game is not a question for us. We plan to win it (along with everyone else… see below).
Your Final Thoughts
Peter Flynn: Business should always be mission-driven and customer-first. The best companies create systems where everybody – meaning employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and society at large – wins. I believe everyone at Libryo is in line with my original slogan, “have fun, make money and do something good.”