How Startups Survive Crisis: Legal Nodes and Skyworker Experience

August 11, 2020

Startups are often considered the most vulnerable ventures: always on the lookout for investment opportunities, product iterations, and team growth. The pandemic has proved to be a challenging learning experience for most businesses around the world, and startups aren’t an exception. Today, we spoke to representatives of two startups – the ultimate legal assistant for tech companies Legal Nodes, and AI platform for candidates community growth Skyworker. Let’s find out how they are coping in such uncertain times.

Teamwork, trust, and proactivity

For the past four months, Legal Nodes has been working to expand its own network of lawyers and testing new products. Founders agree that since the startup has always focused on online, little has changed for them workwise. Moreover, lockdown and WFH have made some adjustments to lawyer’s business practices and have given them the understanding that online counseling, remote work, online events, and online presence, in general, will become an integral part of their profession and personal brand on the internet; Online-first approach and is very similar to Legal Node’s vision. Automation of legal services and their digitization is definitely a trend of the 2020s.

Margarita Sivakova, CEO at Legal Nodes, shares some insights on how her startup is doing:  “During the winter before the quarantine, Legal Nodes held a very thorough cusdev and collected feedback before we were supposed to go to Silicon Valley in the USA for the Startup Grind 2020 conference with a new iteration of the marketplace. At the conference and over the next couple of days in San Francisco, we were able to get even more useful information and insights. When we returned home, quarantine ensued, and we were able to exhale, structure new information, and, using it, continue working on the development of the platform. And when the quarantine was eased we immediately moved into our new office at coworking Platforma (a one-year residence at the coworking was one of the prizes Legal Nodes received at IT Arena 2019).”


The pandemic has a strong impact on the psychological state, including the Legal Nodes team. Margarita remembers: “From the very beginning of the quarantine, when the city was empty, it was quite difficult for everyone, especially when you read the news and look at the alarming statistics. As for the pace of work, almost nothing has changed for the past year and a half we used to work remotely, so the pandemic did not affect our daily lives and weekly routine.” She adds: “There are very different predictions about the consequences of the lockdown, but it seems that the crisis has not hit the technology business too hard. Other sectors of the economy that are more dependent on offline may suffer much more. Also, the long-term consequences for the world economy are not yet fully understood.”

“Summer becomes easier if there’s air conditioning in your office,” says Margarita. “It seems to us that due to the slow pace of work during quarantine, as well as due to the closure of borders and the lack of a big choice of where to go on vacation, this summer will be more active than usual.”

Speaking of productivity life hacks utilized by Legal Nodes, Margarita highlights the following: “The best motivation and powerful impetus for productivity is good results from teamwork, trust and openness to each other, constant learning and testing of hypotheses and new ideas. After the quarantine has been lifted, the team spirit was on the rise when you work together, there is chemistry between people, communication is much faster, you understand the areas of responsibility much better. Life hacks: trust in the team, effective work of each team member that motivates others, proactivity and openness to new ideas.”

Numbers are the language of your startup growth

Olga Kapinos, CMO at Skyworker tells that when thinking about crisis the principle of “fight or flight” immediately comes to mind. During the ongoing pandemic, this principle transformed into “adapt or die” for everyone. Skyworker helps tech companies accelerate hiring through HR marketing automation. Starting from the first month of the crisis, most of Skyworker’s clients have fully or partially suspended their employment, and the startup had to immediately take up the strategy of adapting to the environment.

To make it clearer, it is necessary to explain the essence of the product itself with the help of Skyworker companies get rid of the routine processes of recruitment. The platform offers automatically-collected pipelines of candidates for vacancies and functionality that conveys the essence of the company to the specialists they are interested in. These professionals form a community through which companies see analytics and accelerate their hiring.

The crisis strategy is that Skyworker can provide companies with a support system, until the moment when the active wave of hiring starts again. This time is ideal for automated community building, and Skyworker can really help. Accordingly, the growth rate of new customers during the crisis did not decrease dramatically, but the strategy of attracting them changed.

“In part, the crisis has given us a head start,” shares Olga. “It was 4 months of the rapid development of the product itself, on which the whole team focused. Sales, Marketing and Account departments managed to collect extensive feedback from users of tech companies and tech professionals, and the development team managed to implement it. July saw a serious rise in the companies’ activity in recruitment. Just at the beginning of July, we released the full functionality of the product, after which we received a new wave of customers from tech companies and a 28% increase in registered tech professionals.” Read more about the nuances of Skyworker’s work during the crisis in this article.

The Skyworker team consists of 8 people. Olga is confident: “Our performance life hack is the numbers. The numbers turn the problem into a challenge that provokes brainstorming and increases enthusiasm. We have developed a team tradition of showing and speaking up the numbers we achieve in various aspects of the business. The Product & Development, Sales, Marketing and Account teams analyze their results for the week and present them to the rest of the team. Some numbers raise enthusiasm good indicators of Retention, NPS, Acquisition, Conversion. And some provoke the formation of new ideas. When this happens with the involvement of all team members, the competitive spirit rises and we all see a common goal.”

In addition, each of Skyworker’s weekly calls or meetings on Fridays ends with a “mini-corporate party” a conversation on distant topics, where the team gets to know each other better. “Our CTO noticed that the more interesting the “corporate party” on Friday, the more productive work next Monday,” concludes Olga.

In 2019, Legal Nodes became the winner of IT Arena Startup Competition receiving – $10,000 from CRDF Global and IT Arena, a certificate for an acceleration program from Sector X, a travel grant from Card pay, and 1-year coworking space for the whole team from Platforma Coworking.  Call for startups 2020 is now open!