2020: The year that wasn’t

Our year in review: achievements and highlights of 2020 at Hi5 💥 (Surprisingly, we grew!)
2020: The year that wasn’t

We can hardly believe it’s (finally) almost over. Most of us share the sentiment that 2020 has been a bit of a dud year 👎

We’ve seen many of our own customers suffer as the physical restrictions and financial implications of the pandemic took its toll on their businesses. Some of them had to close down completely, while others had to take drastic steps to stay afloat.

Hi5 was in no way an exception. We had to say goodbye to some of our best team members, but luckily our team was prepared for wfh since our move back to fully remote work in 2019.

Although we had to adapt to losing some clients due to the pandemic, we also gained clients as more and more companies started working remotely and realised that they needed a tool like Hi5 to keep their teams motivated.

2020 Highlights at Hi5


This year we launched 13 new features & 2 side projects. We’ve listed the top 5 new features for you below so you can check them out.

Before the craziness of 2020 set in, we launched a nifty SaaS called QuickRef — a quick, pain-free way to do reference checks. After the lockdown we launched Get Remote, a remote work job listing site for South African jobseekers and companies to find each other, as a response to the pandemic and a predicted 4 million job-loss in SA.

We also took the time in 2020 to perform a proper overhaul and moved Hi5 to bigger, better servers for a faster response time and even more security 🔐

We made a tough call and decided to close down our Android and iOS apps on 21 November 2020 so we could dedicate some serious TLC into remaking them in 2021!

In the meantime, this served as a soft-launch for our mobile-friendly Add to Home Screen (A2HS) app, which brings us another step closer to a fully-fledged PWA.

Top 5 new features 2020:

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Microsoft Teams integration

🤳 WhatsApp integration

💗 External Pulses & Editable Pulse templates

🎮 Hi5 Games Centre

🗓️ Notice Board calendar view

Check out all our new features >


We ran our first ever fully-remote internship! High school graduate Sebastian joined our team for 4 months of intense learning; we threw him in the deep end of every aspect of startup life and we’re proud to have unleashed him on the big bad world!

Learnt so much from everyone — such as industry information and mannerisms — and plenty of valuable skills that will stay with me for most of my career. Thanks everyone for the opportunity and everything you guys have taught me, I appreciate it so much and I’m gonna miss working with all of you ❤
— Sebastian, Hi5 Intern 2020
Saying goodbye and enjoying a COVID-friendly meal with the team

If you’re keen to enroll in our Graduate Recruitment Programme, check out our Careers page here.


In 2019, we were honoured to be one of the top selected startups in the international startups acceleration programme, BigBooster, in Lyon (France). We were invited to the Boston, MA (USA) leg of the programme and joined up in January 2020 when international travel was still a thing.

We built some lasting friendships with the amazing folks we met in Boston, including Carin-Isabel Knoop, the Executive Director of the Global Research Group at Harvard Business School. Check out the podcast episode we recorded with her and some of her latest articles on our blog here.

Carin-Isabel Knoop | Harvard Business School | Hi5

Reviews site Goodfirms nominated us once again as a Top Employee Engagement software. Read more about this here.


We hosted DisruptHR Cape Town #7 at the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business on 5 March 2020, just before the lockdown in South Africa was put in place on 26 March. It seems such a distant time ago when we were able to meet in-person for engaging talks around the future of work and talent management!

Check out the talk videos 👉 DisruptHR Cape Town | Hi5


We were super busy on the content front this year! We published a whopping 81 blog posts, surveyed 396 employees to learn about their Culture at Work and published the 8-Step Guide to HR for Startups.

Follow the link above to get the Guide!


We sadly saw some clients having to downgrade, but we also saw new clients join as we released more integrations & features and as the need for remote team software became more prevalent and urgent.

We rolled out to our first multinational African company, aYo Holdings. Based in South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda — and soon to be joined by their teams in Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria — aYo Holdings is a simple product for Africans to get hospital cover, life insurance and send cash via the MTN mobile service provider. You can check them out here.

“We believe that insurance cover should be accessible to everyone in Africa and easy to use. That’s why MMI Holdings and MTN have teamed up to bring you aYo, a new way to get hospital and life cover using your cellphone.”

Two of our longest-standing clients, ooba homeloans and GlueData, agreed to allow us to conduct customer case studies at their companies to gain some insights into how Hi5 is helping them become better. ooba saw a 50% reduction in employee absenteeism in their Claims team, and GlueData’s stats show that their employee growth is picking up in spite of the pandemic!

Case Study #1: How ooba homeloans reduced employee absenteeism by 50% in their Claims team

Case Study #2: How GlueData keeps growing during the pandemic

Growth at Hi5

Our user base doubled last year, and grew by 81% in 2020! Needless to say, we’re pretty relieved to have maintained an upward trend in user growth 😅 Besides seeing a lot of the growth concentrated in USA, we couldn’t help but notice that our user base in India grew but just shy of 10X in 2020! 👏

Hi5 is helping teams in more countries than ever before!

Interesting insight: We’ve seen a shift in our user base moving more towards desktop than mobile devices in 2020. We think this might have something to do with the fact that most people had to move to remote work and therefore have been spending more time in front of their pc 🖥️

The pandemic also made everyone less physically mobile, with no-one having the need to dash off to meetings and using their mobile while away from their desks.

So, what’s coming up in 2021?

😱 New Android & iOS native apps
🔐 Okta SSO integration
🙌 Tag company values when Hi5'ing in WhatsApp
💗 My Pulse Results employee dashboard
😎 Streamlining our Open API
& more!

Holiday Office hours 🎅 🎄 HO HO Help!

Our offices will be closed for the holidays between 24 Dec 2020 — 3 Jan 2021, with skeleton Support staff on duty to help you with any queries you may have. Simply chat to the in-app bot or send us a mail at help@get5.io.

Happy Holidays and see you in 2021! 💥

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