We're planning an expansion to Western Europe and the USA market

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Croatian IT company Undabot won first place in the Website/Lifestyle category of the Web Excellence Awards at the beginning of the year. That award is given to projects promoting creative ideas, new business models, and innovative web technologies. Undabot won it amongst more than 1200 projects that applied from all over the world. That continued a successful series. The company won six awards last year, and the platform Clutch included it in the top one percent of the best global companies. Hrvoje Kapetanović, Undabot’s Chief Executive Officer, explains that they deserved that status and the awards and announces new business plans and cooperations.

Why did Clutch include Undabot in the one percent of the best global companies in 2021 and 2022?

Clutch is the biggest global platform for ranking IT companies, and every year they make a list of the best, globally and locally. Along with being included in the list of the best companies in Croatia, for the second year in a row, we have been included in the top one percent of the best IT companies in the world. Seeing that tens of thousands of IT companies are in the world, this is a fantastic accomplishment for a company of our size. All 27 of our references on the Clutch platform have the maximum five-star rating, alongside great reviews of the projects themselves, which is the best validation of our commitment to quality.

The backbone of doing business in the IT industry is the client references and their satisfaction which we, among other things, maintain through constant improvement of the processes and employee education. In 2022 alone, we invested around four thousand hours in employee education, participated in 43 educational programs, and held 27 education ourselves.

How did Undabot develop within ten years of its existence, and how did you conquer the market?

Like most tech companies from this side of the world, Undabot was started by a few enthusiasts that wanted to make advanced digital solutions. In that far 2012, the demand for mobile solutions was especially high in foreign markets, and Undabot made its first digital solutions for clients in Western Europe countries, mostly Austria.

With quality products and recommendations and by participating in international conferences, we also conquered other markets. In 2018 we added web development to our portfolio, and we started offering integrated solutions. As the IT industry developed and the market transformed, we developed new departments, improved processes, and the quality of our end products.

Now we can say that we offer end-to-end service, from initial defining to maintaining complex digital solutions.

What is the added value of Undabot’s services?

Undabot is a tech company that develops complex web and mobile custom software solutions. We specialize in Android and iOS technologies, while, in the web domain, we primarily work in PHP programming language. Even though in the world of IT, new programming languages are constantly being developed; we think that working with tested technologies contributes to the project stability, especially in upgrading and maintenance.

Seeing that we develop custom solutions for clients, we had a chance to develop various B2B and B2C self-service and m-commerce mobile applications, web, and mobile platforms for sharing content and connecting digital transformations through special ERP systems, technical, functional, and design consulting and other services that help the clients in the process of introducing digital solutions for improving their business. By developing digital solutions for clients from various industries, we gained specific knowledge that helps us better understand the needs of our clients and end users’ needs.

We are certain that, with the knowledge and experience our experts have, we can make almost any digital solution based on clients’ demands and be competitive in the global market.

Who are your clients, and where do they come from?

Most of our clients are foreign, mainly from developed Western Europe countries, the United Kingdom, and the USA, but, of course, also from Croatia. Seeing that we develop digital products custom-made to a specific client’s needs, we had a chance to work with clients like Coca-Cola, Österreichische Post, Cliq Digital, Showbuzz, Austrian Post, A1 Telecom Group

Most of our clients come to us through recommendations, and personal contacts, which confirms that client satisfaction and building transparent and honest relationships with clients are immensely important in current and future projects. We strive to give all our attention to every client, from the first contact until the maintenance phase, so most of our clients have been with us for several years.

How many employees do you have, where do you find the staff, and what type of experts do you most need?

Our broad spectrum of services is supported by expert teams that grow qualitatively and organically. Undabot currently has 70-ish experts from different areas. We mostly employ mobile iOS and Android engineers, web backend and frontend engineers, business analysts, software architects, UX/UI designers, project managers, QA experts, and other digital experts. Our team also has colleagues from the economy and psychology branches.

We are proud of the fact that 40% of our team are women and that that number continuously grows. In addition to hiring through open tenders and direct candidate recruitment, we love to talk with candidates that send us an open request or with candidates that want to hear more about us because we believe that everyone has unique competencies that can contribute to the development of our team. We see selection as a two-way process in which the candidate and we assess how much our expectations are aligned.

We find it essential that the person gets all the information important for deciding on a long-term collaboration through the interview. Through the years, we have grown so much that we can work on big, complex projects, but we kept the spirit of a small team and nurtured an individualized approach and open communication. It is important for us that our employees develop in the direction they find interesting. Everything else can be programmed, but we invest a lot of effort in making and building our own top-notch IT experts. Undabot is based on a continuous learning culture – we learn from each other through group work, regular feedback, transparent communication and collaboration, and various forms of professional training and personal development.

We focus on quality and love challenges because they nurture our inquisitive spirit and creativity and enable us to progress. Together we create an environment in which we feel happy and accepted, and with the benefits we offer, we strive to create a good balance of private and personal life for our team members.

You increased your revenue last year; what do you expect this year?

In 2022 we increased our revenue by 30% with regards to 2021 revenue (when the revenue was more than 2,2 million euro), and we expect to, at least, increase our revenue by that much in 2023. As we are focused on organic growth and stability, we set our financial goals reasonably, considering world trends. That approach enables us to keep the same quality level of our processes and end products and maintain the existing company culture.

Do you feel the consequences of inflation and economic crisis, and how is that reflected in your business dealings?

I believe no company in the world does not feel the consequences of inflation and economic crisis. Still, we have to say we have managed to alleviate the negative aspects of the crisis and get the maximum out of a difficult situation. Yes, inflation did contribute to the rising prices of all the services, which directly generated higher costs, but the crisis also brought some good changes, especially in the IT sector. Accelerated digital transformation in all industries had the biggest influence on IT companies’ business and the increased demand for digital services. In today’s day and age, it is hard to imagine any business without digitalization, especially if you want to be competitive and sustainable in the long run. The number of modern consumers is steadily increasing; the consumers have quite a degree of digital literacy and demand suppliers’ personalization and efficiency, whether we are talking about the B2B or B2C sector.

With everything already mentioned, it is essential to point out that our projects are long-term, adding stability to business dealings. On average, our projects last six months and upwards, which is the key to planning resources, direction, and degree of further development. We are aware that the systematic development of a stable company with a clear focus on goals and insisting on quality is not the easiest way, and that it does not secure the fastest growth, but that type of approach gave us the foundations resistant to adverse economic conditions and big fluctuations in the local, as well as the global market.

Do you intend to change the business model, and what would make you do that?

The IT industry is one of the biggest actuators of change in the global economy and the way of working. All of us who work in IT are ready for adaptations and development to keep up with modern global trends. That is why we, for years, have had the option of remote work for our employees; we invest in various technical and soft-skill education and constantly improve our processes and methods of working.

Those changes are welcome, seeing that, through constant development, we are “keeping it fresh,” we are competitive on the global market and enable our employees to have better working conditions. What we don’t want to change is the focus on project excellency and high client and employee satisfaction. We won’t change as long as our current business model enables us to have that. I won’t exclude the possibility of the future bringing new challenges, which will mean our business model has to change, and if that happens, we will adapt and grow, as we have in the last ten years.

What are your long-term business plans?

2022 has, in many things, being one of the best years in Undabot’s history, and we believe 2023 will be even better, especially judging by the beginning of the year. Currently, we are in the last phase of building a robust commercial mobile and web platform for streaming audio-visual content, books, and video games that we have developed for an innovative company in the Netherlands. The platform will soon be available in the German market, but we won’t reveal all the details since the client is preparing a large campaign to announce the product.

We are also planning additional expansion to the targeted Western European markets, but also an expansion to the USA market. Of course, such intense growth brings additional hiring and upgrading, creating new services and departments, which I am especially happy about. In the long run, we want to position ourselves as a serious player in the global market. Even though the competition is fierce, we are confidently striving towards that goal because we know that we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the strongest companies doing the most complex projects.

Lider Media published the original version of this interview on February 6, 2023.

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