- It was a difficult year for us, full of challenges, but we managed to come out on top - says Jakub Jakubowicz, Chief Operating Officer at Codest. - We recorded a 65% increase in revenues year-on-year. We create high-quality products, and customers appreciate them and return - adds Greg Połeć, Chief Revenue Officer. We have prepared for you a brief summary of 2019 at Codest. In an interview with our Chief Officers, we discuss topics such as the path of software house development, business scaling and our approaches to cooperation with clients and developers. We also present our ideas for further development at Codest.
2019 is coming to an end, so it's a good time to take stock. What kind of a year was it for Codest?
Greg Połeć (Chief Revenue Officer): It was a challenging year for us. First of all, we had to address how to scale a software house based on a niche programming language, namely Ruby. We knew that we had to find our own business sector and market. Over the last 12 months, we made some business mistakes, but they taught us a lot! Without them we would not be where we are today.
What do you mean by that?
Greg Połeć: Our software house is growing every month. We recorded a 65% increase in revenue, compared to 2018. We've expanded the team. Incidentally, we only had one recruiter and we hired 17 new employees, which translates into a 48% increase in the number of employees year-on-year. In addition, it was a time when we gained invaluable knowledge. Today, we know which markets to focus on and where to look for potential customers. We focus mainly on the Nordics, Baltics, DACH countries and cooperate with e-commerce, fintech or proptech companies. 90% of our partners are international clients headquartered outside Poland.
Such a dynamic growth is also a big challenge related to recruitment, onboarding new projects and maintaining a high quality of services. How did you deal with it?
Jakub Jakubowicz (Chief Operating Officer): There were many challenges of that kind. One of them was to convince the developers that working with us will be beneficial for them. That is why we invested a lot of time and effort in recruitment. Codest places great emphasis on candidate experience. We want the best professionals to work with us because our mission statement is to deliver high-quality products. Therefore, we pay great attention to approaching the candidates in the right way and selecting people who fit our organization. We are also open to remote work and have a set of good practices on managing this type of cooperation. We want all our developers to know our best practices when it comes to code production and to associate themselves with high quality. We use the word "quality" in probably every possible declination.
Greg Połeć: I would add the fact that we had to create the right organizational structures, ones matching the growth of our software house. Let me clarify that we do not want to go towards corporate practices. However, we needed a clear structure to manage everything efficiently. To this end, the level of executive managerial staff was created and we have made some investments in training. I am not saying that we have achieved perfection as we are still working on improvements, but it is natural for a growing company to meet many early challenges.
The company's growth means a larger number of clients and projects. Contrary to appearances, this is not an easy process to manage. Sometimes companies that scale their business make mistakes that later affect their further development. Do you agree with this?
Greg Połeć: This is true. I like to say that if you want to be at the top, then you have to surround yourself with people who know what they are doing and enjoy it. We are looking for experience in the story of other companies. We look at start-ups that have achieved success, but also analyze failures. We also focus on Lean Management, trying to improve our processes at every possible stage. I mention this because we want to grow as a software house, but this expansion must be structured and well-thought-out.
Jakub Jakubowicz: I can reply from a slightly different perspective. I think that we have managed to develop a very effective approach to the developed projects and our customers appreciate it. Above all, we focus on quality, not quantity. These are not empty words. I will give you an example. In the last few months, we have frequently received positive feedback from our clients. Some appreciate that the quality of our code is high, others that we deliver what we promised, and there are customers who say that communication with us simply works well. This is all essential information, since we want to build lasting relationships with our client base.
Greg Polec: You put it really well. We also have a dedicated Customer Experience Manager position. Nuno, our specialist, is in constant contact with clients. He cares about those relationships and we all try to make sure our customers don't miss anything. Our relationships are very partnership-based.
Where do you see Codest in 2020?
Jakub Jakubowicz: We want to constantly develop and acquire new projects. However, we want them to be interesting from the developers' perspective. We want to create a software house where everyone feels good and can grow with us. Over the past years, we've done our homework and we know that people are the most important part of an organization. So, now we want to focus on interesting projects and employee satisfaction. I personally enjoy the fact that people want to stay with us for longer than just 1-2 years. We once launched our own Ruby programming school, in which we trained many Codest junior developers. Some of them are with us to this day. We gave them the opportunity to improve themselves and it's great that they are with us all this time.
Greg Połeć: We already know what works and what doesn't work in our business. Now, we have nothing else to do but to maintain the upward trend. We have a unique customer experience and create high-quality products. This combination gives us an advantage and we want to continue moving on along this path.