When the Covid-19 pandemic began, many members of Victoria's vibrant tech scene were left
wondering how their involvement in local companies, whether it be as angel investors, startup
CEOs, or employees, would be affected.
We interviewed Anton Solonnikov, the CEO of VitaminLab, about how the pandemic has
affected his fast-growing, local start-up.
Fortunately, Solonnikov had positioned VitaminLab to stay on track for company growth despite the pandemic.
“We expected growth and remained strong during Covid-19. VitaminLab focuses on wellness which is something that is more important than ever during the pandemic.”
Solonnikov noted that their staff has stayed extremely dedicated to sales and production since Covid-19 hit, doubling down and working as a team with a "warlike'' mentality. Of course, it wasn’t always easy. There were challenges with many new covid-related processes that had to be put in place and having a motivated close-knit team proved to be an essential part of why VitaminLab was able to stay on their desired growth trajectory.
This approach proved to be beneficial and VitaminLab’s projected growth remained on target during this unpredictable time for many businesses.
VitaminLab’s customer base is 95% in the United States and the customized vitamin market is
thriving; their market of individuals consists of those who prioritize wellness and appreciate the convenience of not having to go to the store, which is now more useful than ever since
VitaminLab closed the first round of its next financing during the pandemic - an encouraging feat for others in similar positions with goals of scaling their startups and surviving the pandemic.
“The pandemic made it a lot harder to raise funds at first. People had to back out of their commitments, especially international investors, and many were holding their wallets close. You can still close rounds during a pandemic. You can position your product to do well in the Covid-19 market if you make note of what people will be buying.”
VitaminLab is scaling up in 2021 with team growth and production. They are focusing on
creating an automation system that would allow for much higher customer growth and potential revenue. They also plan to expand their facility, update their branding, and revamp their website.
Solonnikov credits the help of local advisors James DeGreef (Capital Investment Network, Good News Ventures) and Hans Knapp (Yaletown Partners) for helping navigate through the
challenges of building a startup and through the changing landscape of Covid-19, emphasizing the importance of mentors.
It is uplifting to see businesses thrive during this unfamiliar time and to dive deeper into learning about their experiences. Big congratulations to Anton Solonnikov and the VitaminLab team for their successes and for expanding their team, providing more work for locals amid a challenging landscape.