The Timing Trap: Our Venture with an IoT Solution and a Global Pandemic

The course of startup life is rarely linear. It is punctuated with exhilarating highs and debilitating lows, success stories, and tales of failure. One such tale from our journey is of a product with immense potential, hindered by unfortunate timing and circumstances beyond our control.

We began our startup journey by developing an IoT solution targeted towards the safety and health of the elderly, acknowledging the vast market potential posed by an ageing society. However, the market traction was disappointingly slow, forcing us to reconsider our target audience.

We decided to pivot, focusing our efforts on monitoring the safety and health of Umrah and Hajj pilgrims. The core functionality of our product remained unchanged, but it found new application in providing peace of mind to the pilgrims during their sacred rituals.

Our innovative solution was positively received during trials with early users in 2018 and 2019. We even integrated a roaming SIM card feature that enabled users to transition seamlessly from their home country to Mecca. All signs pointed towards a promising future for our product.

However, in 2020, the world was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, which ground international travel to a halt. Our product, which heavily relied on the mobility of the pilgrims, found itself in an unprecedented predicament. The travel restrictions extended into 2021, leaving our product in limbo for nearly two years.

When travel restrictions finally lifted in 2022, we were faced with a hard truth: our product was no longer a viable solution. The necessity for hardware upgrades and additional R&D posed a financial strain we couldn’t bear. The unfortunate timing and resultant challenges forced us to make the hard decision to discontinue the product.

Though this was a disheartening period, it also paved the way for us to re-strategize and pivot our focus. Over those two years, we worked tirelessly on other projects, diversifying our portfolio and creating new revenue streams. In retrospect, this period of adversity became a catalyst for our startup’s growth.

Our journey with this IoT solution is a stark reminder of the uncertainty that pervades the startup landscape. There are countless external factors that we have no control over, timing being a critical one. But as startup founders, we’re also adaptable and resilient. We can turn hurdles into stepping stones, and seize every situation as an opportunity to learn, grow, and pivot towards success. As we tread forward, we carry the lessons from this experience in our hearts, remembering that in the world of startups, timing is everything, but resilience is key.

Read – The Ultimate Startup Cheat Sheet.