SAAS NORTH NOW is a bi-weekly newsletter where we deliver information on the top Canadian SaaS news, current resources, and exclusive interviews with thought leaders straight to your inbox.

How Vision Drives Innovation At Certn

Andrew McLeod, Co-Founder & CEO, Certn



Neil Patel’s 4 Principles For SaaS Growth

Neil Patel, Co-Founder, NP Digital



The 6 Symptoms Of Product-Market Fit

Pablo Srugo, Partner, Mistral VC



How To Validate Your Startup Idea (Before Building An MVP)

Dallas Price, Venture Builder, Forum Ventures



A Business-First Framework For Designing High-Performance Startup Teams

Michelle Brooks, Chief People & Culture Officer, Security Compass



How To Make Every Business Purpose-Driven (And Make Tons Of Money, Too)

Keith Ippel, Co-CEO, Spring Impact Capital



3 Ways VCs And Angel Investors Can Make Their Portfolios More Inclusive

Danielle Graham, Co-founder, The Firehood



4 Tactics To Increase Your Close Rate In Any Market Condition

David Priemer, Founder & Chief Sales Scientist, Cerebral Selling



How To “Micro-Pivot” Your Startup Toward A More Profitable Path

Vince Kadar, CEO, Polymath



Hello to Canada’s SaaS Community,

Bringing on new leadership is a tough choice for any startup. But that new leader is also in a tough spot—do they come in guns blazing to overhaul the organization or take a different approach? For Vince Kadar, the decision was to work a little more slowly. Speaking with SAAS NORTH, Vince explained more about his “micro-pivot” strategy and how it helped Polymath turn from almost zero revenue to more profitable growth.

Key takeaways:

  • “Micro-pivots” are small, iterative changes to your messaging and go-to-market function that enables your product to shine and message to resonate with customers.
  • Successful micro-pivots start with research: deeply understanding your buyer, other stakeholders in your ecosystem, and any regulatory or compliance functions you have to manage.
  • The next part is to continually run experiments and being ok with course-correcting if you go a bit too far in one direction.

When Vince Kadar joined Polymath, the company had almost no revenue. The organization had developed a novel application of blockchain that helped businesses create digital tokens representing physical assets, but blockchain technology is not inherently monetizable.

Many expected Vince to make big, bold moves. Instead, he chose a different path that ultimately led to multiple growing revenue streams and significantly more market opportunity.

Speaking with SAAS NORTH, Vince shared more about how “micro-pivots” helped him rebuild Polymath.

The art of the micro-pivot

When Vince joined Polymath, particularly as a seasoned entrepreneur, people would have forgiven him for ripping-and-replacing. He explained that a big-bang kind of approach might work if nothing in the company is working at all—but that wasn’t the case with Polymath. Instead, since the platform had some initial traction and usability, he figured the company would benefit more from a lot of “micro-pivots.”

“A micro-pivot to me is you're in the right space, but you just need to tune your message to the audience so that you're speaking the same language,” said Vince.

This looked like a few different things for Polymath:

1. Understanding customers: Vince said the company spoke to over 100 people in the finance industry, from underwriters to venture capitalists, to understand their needs.

This led to a relaunch of the company’s core platform in October 2022 along with professional services to help clients manage their tokenization process, as a means of raising capital.

However, it wasn’t a win right ouf ot the gate—Vince said the product “resonated with the market but was not quite there; some of our key messaging was off.”

2. Understanding stakeholders: There are many people who can influence your success who will never pay you a dime. In the world of securitization, that’s regulators and other partners to financial transactions (like lawyers).

For Polymath and Vince, these conversations helped them understand that ecosystem partners are more likely to refer clients to the platform if there’s no upfront cost.

This led to a big pricing model change, going from a pure SaaS model to usage-based pricing—and became a major step in ensuring the new product fit better for ideal customers.

3. Building better for everyone: A lot of tech innovation seeks to disrupt or replace incumbents. Vince said the art of the micro-pivot is taking a different approach—making everyone’s lives easier.

One way they are attempting to do this is by providing a single source of truth for data—this makes both underwriting and regulatory compliance significantly easier and makes individuals in those roles (underwriters and regulators, respectively) even more important as data custodians.

“With new tech, everything's up for grabs,” said Vince. “Everything can be reinvented.”

4. Run multiple tests to see how your message resonates: A key way that Polymath is connecting with potential customers is through events. Different leaders attend events, whether on their own accord or through the company, and report back about whether they feel the audience might be potential Polymath customers. From there, the organization can begin to make strategic bets.

This iterative approach to testing messages helped Polymath make a significant discovery: the people they wanted to work with typically understood SaaS terminology but didn’t understand blockchain quite as well.

As a result, the company began to pivot its entire message away from being a blockchain company and into being a SaaS company. This helped Polymath truly resonate with its ideal buyer and started to drive the company’s growth even more.

No decision is final

At one point, the Polymath team attended a large blockchain conference, figuring that it would be a great opportunity to meet future customers. However, they soon realized the event, although great sessions and attendee numbers, was more focused on the potential of what blockchain can offer in a number of industries, rather than necessarily the financial application of blockchains.

Rather than calling this a failure, it was simply an opportunity to course-correct.

“You could pivot five degrees one way, just to pivot three degrees back because maybe you went too far,” said Vince.

Since you can dial back a micro-pivot—or remove it entirely—the important decision is to take action. As you continue moving forward, it’s imperative to drive every decision back to the key question of how you can build something that’s truly better for everyone.

“All organizations micro-pivot every day because you’re learning as you go,” said Vince. “And you’re adjusting the message and you’re becoming more valuable to the customers you’re trying to attract.”