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Reflections on 2023

January 16, 2024
By Sarosh Waghmar
Categories Innovation

A year of transformation and growth

This past year feels like a whirlwind to me when I sit and take stock. In our year-end summary blog post, you can read about how we now support nine NDC and direct airline connections, delivered a tremendous amount of new product functionality, launched partnerships with incredible companies, including Brex, Center, CWT, and Qantas, and received numerous awards and accolades. 

I cannot express how fortunate I feel to be the CEO of this company, at this moment in time, working with the unbelievably talented people at Spotnana who fight every day to help us deliver for everyone who is counting on us.

Navigating challenges and innovations

The journey that Spotnana is on is not an easy one. Every day presents a new test and a new challenge that we have to overcome. Here are a few of the many transitions we had to navigate in 2023:

Elevating our platform for large enterprises

We started the year with a solid platform for small and mid-sized businesses. Throughout the year, we’ve added hundreds of new features, transforming our platform into a robust solution for global enterprises. This was achieved through extensive discovery sessions and workshops with leaders of top Fortune 100 companies, coupled with intense focus and a significant expansion of our R&D teams.

Expanding for embeddability

Concurrently, our partnerships necessitated the expansion of our APIs and the development of a framework for white labeling our technology stack. This endeavor also involved extensive workshops and rapid functionality development by our R&D teams.

Scaling globally

Early on, we simplified the technology and servicing requirements we had to address by focusing on customers whom we could service in the U.S. Over the course of this year, we had to dramatically increase the number of global points of sale we operate through, establish new centers of excellence around the world, and add a wide range of functionality for international invoicing, tax compliance, and shopping in local languages and currencies.

The cost of rapid growth

The tremendous growth and evolution we experienced this year came with some significant costs as well. Across the board, employees at Spotnana have worked long hours and made sacrifices to ensure we deliver on the high expectations we set for our customers, our partners, and ourselves.

I also felt this strain and struggled at times this year to manage my own energy. 

I believe in the very core and fiber of my being that customer success is the bedrock for a successful business, and having been a travel agent myself, it’s essential to me that we build a culture where we deliver world-class service.

This year, I found myself struggling to provide the high level of personal attention that I know all of our customers, partners, employees, and investors deeply deserve. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day, and the fear I sometimes feel of disappointing those who count on me can be overwhelming. 

I’ve had to learn to be ruthless with my time, delegate more, and seek out creative solutions for combining work and play to keep myself in balance. 

One of the best innovations we created this year is the Spotnana Kitchen Dinner Series, where we bring together travel leaders from corporations and suppliers for a discussion about the future of the travel industry over a meal that I prepare for everyone personally. 

Food has always been a passion of mine, and the joy of feeding others is far greater – for me at least – than the joy of eating. At the same time, I love how travel fundamentally brings people together and helps them build deeper connections. Sharing a meal together is one of the most powerful ways we have to truly get to know someone and hear what is on their mind.

Our most recent Kitchen Dinner Series event was hosted in New York City at the world-famous James Beard House – you can read more about the event here

If you take a moment to scan through our recent posts on LinkedIn, you’ll also see photos of many of the moments our teams shared over the past few weeks, connecting over food and appreciating each other as we all continue on this incredible journey that we call Spotnana.

Welcoming 2024: A year of unprecedented opportunities

As we step into 2024, the year ahead is set to eclipse 2023, which itself felt like a mere warm-up before a marathon. Our roadmap brims with groundbreaking innovations, and we’re poised to embark on exciting ventures with an incredible roster of customers and partners.

The journey ahead is an exhilarating blend of excitement, challenge, and a touch of the overwhelming. But I am confident in our trajectory, knowing that none of this would be achievable without the exceptional team at Spotnana. Your commitment to our shared vision of building a platform that not only connects but unites humanity is the cornerstone of our success.

Travel, in its essence, is a force for good. It bridges divides, highlighting that what we share in common far outweighs any differences. It’s a reminder of the shared human experience and the beauty of connection.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who continues to believe in our mission. Your support is invaluable, and we are profoundly grateful.

I look forward to the opportunity to connect with many of you this year, hopefully over a well-prepared meal.

Here’s to a transformative 2024!