Agrello founders faced two kinds of challenges in mid 2019. Firstly, Agrello technologies were largely custom-made and therefore difficult to sell. Secondly, an organizational structure had many shortcomings, like absence of proper product development and marketing. It was decided that Agrello needs new organizational structure to become a one-product company. Some difficult decisions had to be made. Many people had to leave, but also founders had to retreat from their leadership positions. Otherwise it would have been very difficult to create a new organization with new vision and goals. It was a process of many changes through Fall 2019 into Spring 2020. But before that, founders had to find a capable leader for this task.
Teddi told me that he knows a fellow at Estonian Defense League and that this guy works at Pipedrive. I guess he was thinking that why didn’t he work at Agrello. In late Fall 2018 I was looking for a sales lead and I asked Teddi to introduce us. We had a few meetings with Toomas before he decided to join Agrello sales team. After that things started to move fast.
Toomas had a lot of experience in sales and he was goal oriented and very systematic in planning and executing his tasks. By Spring 2019 he had tried out different sales techniques, but soon it became apparent that sales of Agrello technologies cannot be easily scaled. Although Agrello ID had gained a lot of interest, it had not been thoroughly researched and tested amongst industry stakeholders, and, as we learned later on, it missed many basic features. Bluntly, prospects of achieving meaningful sales were gloomy.
It was time to go back to the drawing board and start all over again. This meant a bumpy road ahead. I noticed that Toomas had not given up. It crossed my mind that he would be the best candidate to lead the company. Perhaps he had some doubts whether he wanted to dig into math of building a successful company, but I never saw or heard about it. Now I think that he took it as yet another challenge and commitment in life which offers him to learn new things and to prove to himself that he can turn the company into a success story. I am glad that Toomas agreed to become CEO and a board member of Agrello.
Toomas has many good qualities of a leader. I want to mention a few. Toomas is persistent in a subtle and not in a pushy way. I have noticed that if he does not get his way with someone or his solution doesn’t work, then he tries another way or looks for another solution again and again until he is content with an achievement. It is inspiring and makes you feel that he never gives up. He has patience and skills to motivate people and this has made the Agrello team willing to achieve results.
Toomas changed Agrello team by creating a strong focus on product research and development together with marketing. “.ID” product concept was developed and launched under his leadership. Most importantly, Agrello as a company is in a stronger position today than it has been before. Certainly, there are challenges ahead, but now for the Agrello team these are only opportunities for growth.
How are the Agrello founders involved now? I continue as a board member at Agrello, helping Toomas with some administrative tasks. Hando works together with Marit on communication tasks. Margus contributes with legal advice. Teddi and Anton are not involved on daily basis. But all founders meet for a review of Agrello developments presented by Toomas once a month.