COVID-19 Startup Impact Survey

24 Jun 2020
 

Overview

As Virtus Groups is a one-stop shop for high-growth companies and startups, we hear a lot about what’s going on in the startup community.

As the economy slowed down our clients and partners reported a number of effects. Some of the outcomes were obvious, while others were more surprising. This piqued our curiosity, and led us to ask how the Canadian startup community was handling the COVID slowdown and what did they think of the Government’s measures to lessen its impact? 

There was only one thing for it. We decided to conduct a survey of Canadian startups to gauge sentiment among the startup community with respect to how COVID-19, and the consequent economic slowdown, had impacted their business.

Approach

Virtus Groups identified a specific cohort of companies as target participants. We were most concerned with startups or small businesses who considered themselves as being in a period of growth. Using a range of criteria we created a sample set of companies and went about contacting decision makers within these companies.

We developed an incisive survey, each question designed to elicit actionable data with maximum efficacy. 150 companies were surveyed using the questionnaire, primarily using a telephone survey method.

Methodology

The survey was conducted over a two week window, and when completed the data was analyzed in order to ascertain some key takeaways. 

A professionally formatted report was drafted based on our findings. We distributed the report to local, regional, and national media outlets as well as industry-specific publications. The report was carried as a story by a local media outlet. The report was also sent to existing contacts within Government.

We used our in house design capacity to create social media posts using the charts and graphs which we then released through our social media channels.

 

Survey Questions

The questions we asked were designed to understand how the slowdown had impacted startups’ daily operations and their plans for the short to medium term. Questions were also designed to gauge sentiment towards the programs rolled out by the federal government in response to COVID. This approach, we hoped, would provide a comprehensive picture of the state of the Canadian startup community and their outlook. Below are examples of the questions we posed to respondents:

On a scale of 1-5, where 1 is not at all and 5 is very much, how much has your business been impacted by the crisis?

Do you attribute any difficulties in overcoming your business challenges to the crisis?

On a scale of 1-5, where 1 is not at all and 5 is very much, how much has the federal government response assisted your business? 

Were you, or are you currently, raising capital and, if so, how much has that changed due to the crisis?

During the crisis, how much are you trying to constrain your spending on third party business services and suppliers? Are there any areas where you are looking to spend or will continue to be spending?

 

 
 

Key Findings

Smaller companies reported that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on their business more often than larger sized companies did.

Smaller companies reported that COVID-19 is a significant barrier to achieving their goals more often than larger sized companies did.

The majority of startups who were engaged in fundraising have postponed or cancelled their fundraising activities.

The majority of startups reported that they were significantly constraining their spending on third party business services and suppliers.

Outcomes

Our multi-faceted approach, which leveraged several of our core skills and capabilities, produced benefits both for the startup community and for Virtus Groups.

The survey gave a voice to those startups who were impacted most by COVID and the economic slowdown. 

It allowed Virtus Groups to conduct vital market research which informed our own lead generation strategies.

Conducting the survey also generated a wealth of content which we used to acquire PR for Virtus Groups and which we bolstered our content marketing strategy with. The insights we gained allowed us to further position Virtus Groups as a thought leader and evangelist within the startup community.

 
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