Startups face many challenges that vary depending on the specific business, but in reality, there are 3 indispensable factors of startup success and how to range these three factors depends on individual. They are:
If you are looking for a great team that will share your passion and help you achieve your goals, you’ve come to the right place. And here’s why!
1. We have access to the enormous pool of tech talent
Kharkiv is famous for its grand scientific traditions and bright researchers.
There are 92 universities in the city, complemented by the numerous private higher educational institutions and postgraduate courses for those willing to become qualified IT specialists. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is still an important part of the secondary school education in Ukraine, so the number of talented youth is growing every day. In 2016 Kharkiv IT specialists make 40% of the whole IT outsourcing capacity of Ukraine. The city has a rich IT environment favourable for breeding new talents, nurturing professional growth, and facilitating dissemination of new technologies, expertise and knowledge.
2. We developed a thorough multilevel selection and recruiting procedure
- The recruiting procedure starts from gathering requirements of our client.
- Our HR specialist searches for a prospective candidate and arranges a preliminary interview via Skype.
- The candidate sends his CV and code sample (or portfolio). Our tech leads study the materials and decide whether the candidate meets the client’s requirements.
- HR specialists arranges an interview to check the candidate’s skills, a potential for growth and improvements, and personal qualities (reliable, hard-working, etc). Tech lead or senior developer conducts an interview with the candidate, where the candidate writes samples of code to prove his skills and expertise.
- Then the HR and tech lead (senior developer) prepare their opinions on the candidate.
- If the candidate meets the requirements, he is interviewed by CEO or COO, depending on the candidate’s specialization.
- After that, the candidate must be approved by our client or the client’s Product Owner (live-coding, level of English, etc).
3. Assesment as special motivation system for our developers
We elaborated, introduced and conducted our own complex evaluation procedures to grade our developers and review their salary. The process enhanced their motivation and showed them ways to improve their skills. Now we take new steps to perfect our procedures and make the evaluation even more accurate.
4.We are trying to be perfect: Case
Building a startup often resembles walking on quicksand: a lot of things may change suddenly, depending on investor requirements, customers’ feedback or anything else. As many tech entrepreneurs know, there’s a lot of pressure to move quickly and beat the competition. Based on our experience with the European startups, we are absolutely ready to any of such surprises. While we try to think about possible rapid changes beforehand, our team is always happy to give you a helping hand, coming up with an efficient solution that relieves your pain.
For instance, due to the new brand policy and customers feedbacks, we had to change the front-end and some parts of Skiwo (now TikkTalk) (based in Oslo) project, and did it successfully. The most common problem we faced so far was scaling up an application that was coded by other developers. Thus, we had to provide a quick and successful scaling-up solution for CityFALCON (based in London), and we were able to pass the Brexit test, when the number of DB records rapidly grew by 6 million within several days and our product processed 100 articles per 1 second.
To maintain our flexibility, we use Agile practices, adopting ourselves to the clients requirements. Thus, for one of our projects (TikkTalk), together with our client Gautam Chandna, we elaborated a special system that facilitates tracking project progress.
Points in workflow:
- Weekly meetings are held 1-2 times a week and each of them is documented in details and put to the appropriate folder.
- If a meeting has very important points and rather spontaneous – it is called a key meeting and placed into the appropriate folder.
- All mentioned features are documented in details to provide every team member full information about it and are placed into the appropriate folder.
- All deliveries are also documented in details and placed into the appropriate folder.
The team creates a shared folder with several folders in Dropbox or Google Drive:
- weekly meetings
- key meetings
An example below of folders list:
An example of files inside Weekly meetings folder:
We make updates to the folders after every meeting and ask for the approval from the both sides to avoid misunderstandings. That folder structure is to be created by the Project Manager.
Access to the shared folder will be provided to:
- Product Owner
- all members of the team
- Project Manager
- other stakeholders
This makes our partnership more:
- open, because all the folders are kept in one place
They say prevention is the best remedy, so our business analysts do their best to pinpoint possible troubles before we face them. In the beginning of each project, we study the business of our client, get familiar with its peculiarities to diagnose the project for possible pitfalls (like probs with scaling up).
Thus, for MyPassPro (based in Paris) project we prepared the architecture that contains no hard code, and now we can add any new feature 2-3 times faster than before. It also helped us get ready for the scaling up.
6. Our customers’ success
The word ‘Sloboda’ in our company name means ‘a place where people are free. Allow us to have freedom and creativity, and we will come with the best remedy for your pain, we will free you from the daily routine, so that you can focus on searching for investors, scaling up your enterprise and dealing with other important business issues.
We treat our customers like our partners, and that approach has proved to be very fruitful. Here are some of the current results.
- TikkTalk (ex-Skiwo) Skiwo AS is now headquartered in startuplab.no, the biggest startup incubator in Norway.
- CityFALCON In October 2016, less than a month after launching its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, CityFALCON successfully secured its initial £150,000 funding target from nearly 120 investors. CityFALCON has become a finalist in the category “Digital Business of the Year” of Amazon Growing Business Awards 2016.
- MyPassPro In 3 months after the launch, MyPassPro and Sloboda achieved 110% of the sales. MPP is on track to have 1200 paying customers by the end of 2017.