Praise of COVID

April 23rd, 2021

Reflex CapitalBlogPraise of COVID

Our portfolio spans from building materials to pharmaceuticals, from robotic process automation to shared bikes. The way the pandemic hit our companies varies wildly. Some got propelled to new heights, some are practically unaffected and few are being pulled under.

I’m often being asked by banks, auditors or even friends and colleagues: What about that Bushman of yours, difficult, eh? How about DaVinci TS, what with tourism being dead? How are Rekola coping, without the tourists? You know what I say? “Look, that COVID thing is actually good.”

I obviously don’t really mean that. The dead and sick people, destroyed livelihoods, kids out of school, the swamp of politics and somber mood in the streets are awful. But from the business perspective, Covid is a catalyst, a change accelerator.

Bushman, as an example, taught their bushmen to shop on the internet. When we entered Bushman, it was on their roadmap, but their clients were conservative. Under normal circumstances, teaching them to shop online would take years. And look, they learned than in a year. Hats off to Bushman.

DaVinci TS offered their partnership to large hotel chains for three years without much success. The hoteliers were busy and were not very motivated to try hard, because the hotels were full regardless. Covid came and suddenly they became very interested in a service which would help them fill their capacity. Sure, we are still fighting for survival, but if we do survive, Davinci will be stronger than ever.

Fruitisimo started focusing more on fruit popsicles in the supermarkets. It turns out, that business is way more scalable than fresh juice stalls.

And Rekola? For a year, Prague is without tourists. Locals are sitting in homeoffice and recently they could not even leave their county. People are riding the pink bikes anyway. Why? Because we explained, that they should avoid trams and buses with their higher risk of infection. And they should care for their health and physical condition. And ditch their cars, because you can’t find a parking space anyway. Pink bike became a standard mode of transport within the city. Not just for fun ride, but also on the way to the shops, a meeting or just for a ride along the river. I could go on.

Most of our founders found an opportunity within the crisis. Sure, sometimes it was necessary to leave their comfort zone. That thing is hard. Some people don’t like that. They are waiting for thing to return to normal and in the mean time complain about life being hard. Or they are waiting for someone to save them. I am so proud of our founders. Huge majority of them did not wait for a saviour, did not cry. They adapted. So I say again: Hats off!

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