Message from Co-Founder and President Ben Schmidt

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Our core mission has always been the same. I think that each and every one of us strongly believes that local governments are a pathway to making a large and positive change in our world. Our core philosophy has always been that providing rock solid technologies that solve common challenges for government is the pathway to impacting the lives of every person on the planet. This mission is more relevant today than ever before.

None of us could have predicted the next set of challenges the COVID-19 crisis has brought, and continues to bring, to us. While we have risen to these challenges, finding new ways to improve and expand our products, talking to our clients, and reaching out to our potential audience, many of our government clients face changes to their budgets, work styles, and processes that are significantly impacting our business. 

In just a few short months, we have taken swift and decisive action to curb our costs and improve our products in light of these new market changes. Similarly, we no longer have an office. That has had a big impact on our costs, but a negative impact on our psychology, and I cannot be certain when, if ever, it will return. 

With the worldwide travel restrictions and the new dangers present in traveling, we have naturally cut our own travel and conferences travel. We have transitioned how we sell our products and how we present our company into a model that is purely digital. And similarly, we cannot be certain when, if ever, travel will return.

We have responded to government budget challenges with our new AgileMapper (formerly Image Logger) products, allowing an entry level price for every government, and we are starting to see a positive, albeit slow and steady, response. We have also diversified our AI based pavement assessments, allowing our customers to more appropriately select solutions that fit their needs. 

I am incredibly proud of our team,investors, and supporters as we have navigated these issues – and a million smaller challenges – that have popped up over the last several months.

Change is inevitable. 

Adaptability is the critical skill that we have always had and will continue to need to be successful. It has been the core theme of RoadBotics since its inception, but this new external pressure has forced us to move more swiftly than ever before. 

Today we are announcing the latest series of changes to our business as we continue the process of adapting to the pandemic. 

But first, I want to lay out our strategy and how I arrived at these decisions.

First, none of us know when this pandemic will end. More importantly, when it does we will live in a post-covid world that will be dramatically altered. Given conservative assumptions of what our market and business will look like, it is critical that our business has enough runway to last well into 2022, We do not have complete control over our sales, but we do have control of our costs. To reach 2022, we need to be diligent and cognizant of how we spend our money. And most importantly, we need to be efficient in our processes. 

Second, a relationship-based selling model is more critical than ever. Local governments and civil engineering firms are based upon strong personal relationships that are built on trust. As a technology company, we would normally eschew these types of business models and focus on scale, but the pandemic has only amplified this characteristic of local governments. It is critical that we continue to develop strong and trust-based relationships with every one of our clients. That is how we grow.

Third, we need to be explicit about whether we are solving today’s technology challenges or future technology challenges. A startup is a place where chaos and willpower collide. We have the best technology in our industry, and yet we have always struggled with solving immediate problems versus investing in future technology. 

To adapt to these new realities, we have had to make difficult decisions. Unfortunately, that means that some of our colleagues will no longer be part of the RoadBotics journey. This is an extremely difficult decision, and I deeply appreciate everything that they have done. 

Moving forward, I am confident in the team we have at RoadBotics. I believe we have the expertise to build a global company.  With this in mind, we will be restructuring our organization to ensure our business is ready to meet these strategic imperatives: 

Our growth team will focus on account management activities for existing partners and existing clients. This will allow us to continue to provide world-class support to each and every one of our clients. The rest of the team will focus our external sales activities in areas we have existing business and build strong relationships upon which we can rely for new business. That means our extensive lead generation activities are no longer part of the strategy, and we have let go of our colleagues that worked in that area in order to refocus on relationship building.

Further, we have bifurcated our technology activities – one for product and one for advanced technology and future development in AI. The product group will focus solely upon the present day challenges and product roll outs. They’ll  continue to adapt and respond to demands and changes in the market, as well as provide support to our existing partners, clients, and world-wide data collection activities. 

The AI technology group will focus on building next generation technologies to ensure RoadBotics is poised for long term growth. This is a longer-term investment, and in order to make this as effective as possible while still reducing our overall costs, we unfortunately had to let go of some of our engineering colleagues. 

I believe that all of these changes and responses are critical to our business and for RoadBotics’ continued success.

RoadBotics has seen a lot of positive change since its inception. From our roots at CMU through our growth at InnovationWorks and Ascender to our office at the Beauty Shoppe, our team has evolved into a talented, driven group of individuals who make valuable contributions every day to our success. We have always felt closely connected to the Pittsburgh technology scene, and as we continue to navigate this pandemic, we will continue to be honored and humbled to get the incredible support from this city.

Unfortunately, we cannot control COVID-19 or its impact on the economy. What is within our control is how we respond and adapt. I firmly believe that the changes I have laid out here will help us to navigate the next couple years and position RoadBotics for long-term growth.

I cannot make any guarantees in a world that is this uncertain. We will continue to experience changes, and we will continue to adapt. But with the decisions taken today, we are positioned to fulfill our mission of helping local governments solve their biggest infrastructure challenges.

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