Happy 4th Birthday, YellowBird! Blog post

Four Years. Still Flying.

07/25/2023 by Michael Zalle, YellowBird CEO & Founder

YellowBird is four years old. How did that happen?? As I reflect on the path we’ve been on, I think of a quote my mother-in-law said about raising kids, “The days are long, but the years are short.” No statement has ever felt truer, both with my kids (14 & 18) and YellowBird (4).

We are incredibly fortunate to work at YellowBird and build something truly special. Often, it feels like a calling.

In recent strategy sessions with the team, the use of our mission statement, vision statement and values have felt deeply real, perhaps for the first time in my career. YellowBird has become more than a ‘gig’ platform for thousands of people.

The Storm. 

We survived the perfect storm…by the skin of our teeth. I almost can’t process it all myself. If it were not for Michelle, our President/COO and Co-Founder, the tenacity of our team, and the community that understood the complexity and value in what we would build, we would not be here today.

The storm? The economy’s uncertainty, operational impacts of Covid-19, financial market stability concerns added to the already difficult task of building a tech startup.

YellowBird endured many daunting twists and turns on the path, like many great stories. The heroes proved themselves with their unwavering belief in me, Michelle, our value and our vision. They helped us survive. The villains – situations and occasionally people – were not what anyone could have anticipated. But, ultimately, we won the war. The past 24 months were truly beyond imagination and without pure determination, grit, commitment, sacrifice and focus, by so many, we would never have closed funding or grown 300-400% year over year.

Pressure Makes Diamonds.

First, I accept no sympathetic violin songs for me, the founding team, or our stakeholders. The ability to handle uncertainty, do what it takes, work long hours, and be ‘all in’ on the journey is expected in the tech startup world. While it can be stressful, it’s also exciting, fun and hilariously spicy (a YellowBird core value) when it works. That’s where we are today, and the pride is indescribable.

The dark moments, when our funding was uncertain and VC markets froze but expense and ‘burn’ did not. YellowBird continued to grow while the team did more with less. Technology automation was delayed and so were the hires that we needed. But we grew despite it all.

A New Day YellowBird: Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and Enhanced Delivery

Last month, we did more volume than our entire first year in business. And last quarter, more volume than the combined two years prior. Year 5 is here, and we are finding more ways to understand our customers and solve bigger problems.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives internally are meaningful. We are investing in real-time Interactive experiences, ground control transparency, and in-flight communications for our users. We will be focused on features that optimize the YellowBird experience for the individual user, not just general industry.

So, how do we get to the next chapter?

  • Continue to Deliver a 5-Star Customer Experience
    • Improve speed to solution with faster matching, scheduling, and communication
    • Real time monitoring of when a job has started, communicating with pros on the field, storing media from an assessment
  • Strive for Excellence
    • Enable HSE certification validation and better surfacing of pro skillsets
    • Ensure ability to meet reporting needs in a standardized way
  • Build & Strengthen our Knowledge Base
    • Ingest industry data to enhance our proprietary insights
    • Set up the foundation to integrate with other solutions
    • Deliver insights to help our customers prepare for the future

We are excited most about the intelligent feedback and ratings that, with machine learning, will optimize matching criteria. Technology in the next chapter at YellowBird will accelerate the vision of the concierge’d professional services network.

What’s In the Next Chapter?

If I’ve learned anything the past four years, it’s that life and business are unpredictable. The YellowBird beachhead market of EHS is just the beginning. As we develop technologies that are predictive, proactive, data driven, and impactful, we will be able to pursue new and exciting areas of opportunity globally.

We have a bright future expanding into very complimentary, impactful and dynamic needs. We will never be a ‘body shop’ company, focused on high volume and low skill, but our platform, technology, methods, and proprietary tools are applicable to governance in many areas. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) along with many other non-human factor risks are additional opportunities. We foresee a bright future, worldwide, where the power of YellowBird’s risk identification, isolation, remediation and reporting of outcomes becomes the standard for others to strive.

Always, Thank You.

Four years ago, a napkin idea took form with no clue about the journey ahead. From zero to thousands of registered YellowBird HSE Professionals, in every state in America, with the most prestigious customers using our offerings, I’m very proud and humbled. This next chapter of the business is going from validation stage, where we have achieved 300%+ annual growth, to the scale stage. I’m excited for the future and see our mission becoming more of a reality every day. As we help our customers efficiently identify risk, provide data, arrange the right ‘fix’ and information to benchmark we are impacting health, life and safety for our community.

It’s not the time for a ‘victory lap,’ but I must thank the hundreds of customers who have trusted us and the thousands of talented Professionals who let us represent them. And to our families, our investors, mentors, and friends who have spent countless hours encouraging, rooting for and believing in us every day, I sincerely thank you.

Let’s Soar!