The inside story of establishing and scaling FreySoft
The founder and CEO of FreySoft Oleg Panchenko shared the organization’s insights, spoke about the scaling of the company, the internal recruitment processes, and the upcoming plans.
Oleg, how did you get involved in the programming?
Once I came to visit my friend, whom I found busy with accomplishing the order on the creation of a website. He was sitting at his computer and writing a code for a CMS. I got precisely interested in that kind of job’s performance. So I just sat and watched attentively how someone was working.
At first, nothing was clear to me. And after sitting next to him for a while, I started to ask questions about the particular functions, the logic of the processes, etc. This was my first acquaintance with writing a code. Later, I kept on learning through blogging how to program on my own.
What was your relevant experience in the IT niche before establishing FreySoft?
It all started with the creation of a web studio in 2009. Our team made around 2-6 projects per month. We developed websites, online stores, and programmed in a flash (ActionScript) when this technology was still alive. Software development significantly engaged my attention. For two years of the web studio’s existence, we have made about 100 sites of various scales and complexity.
After that, I took a break from my business since it turned out to be a very challenging and exhausting job. And I went to work as a developer in one of the Ukrainian companies. For six years, I’ve managed to have job experience in three companies and see how a startup, a medium-sized organization, and a fairly large enterprise are arranged from the inside.
How did the idea of founding FreySoft come about? What influenced the creation of the company?
Everything happened quite organically. There are horizontal and vertical career options working as a programmer. I didn’t want to go deeper into technology anymore, so for myself, becoming a manager was a pretty appealing way.
Along with the experience in entrepreneurial activity in the past, I decided to take the necessary actions towards my goal. The very first client of mine appeared when I was working in a product company. It was a freelance project which I was doing on weekends and evenings. When the project was ready, its client asked me for a maintenance. This was the moment when FreySoft appeared.
My rate as a senior front-end engineer was quite high, so I offered other programmers with less expensive rates to the client. The point was that I’ve taken responsibility for the results they were delivering. The customer trusted such an offering. Consequently, this model turned out to be a lot profitable for both parties, in particular, the client received more projects for the same budget if I had run them on my own.
Though my participation was required in projects, this involvement was more captivating to me (architecture development, finding an optimal solution to the project). After that, we grew from 2 to 5 developers at the peak with that very client.
Why is outstaffing the dominant model of cooperation with the company’s clients?
We chose the outstaff model because it is primarily about people and high service. Digital products are rapidly changing. And the main thing that is crucial now is to quickly assemble the necessary competent specialists for tasks and achieve the set KPIs. That is why we are actively developing staff augmentation model.
In other words, I understood that if a client needs particular experts with a specific stack for a project that requires constant development, it is more preferable for him to take proven specialists to outstaff. And our role in all this is to be a greenhouse for personnel. We are responsible for the selection, training, motivation of staff – creating conditions in which the employee will grow and reveal himself.
How would you explain to a non-IT person what your company is doing, its purpose?
We provide consultancy and implement digital projects under the close supervision of our clients.
What makes FreySoft be different from other outsourcing companies?
Before I believed and told everyone that our hallmark was how we formed development teams. This is partly true, but in fact, our distinguishing feature is the focus on the client. We study the problem, analyze all the factors affecting it, and then offer our solution.
Of course, the client of ours may have a simple request: “We just need engineers”. However, even in this case, we conduct a small session with the client to determine who is needed and how we can help reduce the budget for such an application.
In short, our distinguishing feature is our focus on people, not technology. We work in a business where people need help from other people. Our primary task is to correctly identify this “need” and effectively meet it with minimal resources.
What projects does the company take (niche, size of client-companies)?
We are interested in projects of good clients 🙂
Currently, we are mostly working with European customers (medium and large businesses).
Tell us about the process of hiring a programmer for the FreySoft team.
We have built the right balance between creating a great candidate experience and finding the needed specialist for our team. The decision to hire a member lies entirely on FreySoft.
Our recruitment process is minimized to a two-step interview. The first stage involves meeting with an HR manager, the second stage is a technical examination. We are striking to ensure that all technical interviews are as relevant as possible to the actual projects’ tasks. This increases the satisfaction of the candidates after they start working with us.
When choosing a company employee, what is more important for you – experience and knowledge or a system of values of the candidate?
Values and soft skills. We will give preference to a candidate who shares our team’s outlook and morals. It is practically impossible to change the principles and beliefs of the person, however, we are able to help in developing one’s technical skills. And that is what we do 🙂
What bonuses does a FreySoft employee get, being a part of the team? (for example, cool environment, beneficial salary, corporate parties)
Here I will talk about my goals and feelings. I would like our team members to get the most out of what the company can afford.
The relationships with our employees are built on trust. Even from the very first day of establishing the company, we’ve decided not to make the office type of job mandatory. We give our team members the opportunity to choose their suitable way of work – remotely, in our office in the center of Kyiv, or combining both options.
At FreySoft, we regularly inspire our talented developers to create and innovate via corporate going-outs, active mini-activities, and outdoor events. Besides, we make salary revisions far in advance of the employee’s request 😉
What plans does FreySoft have for the near future?
We are actively developing the effectiveness and efficiency of our existing procedures and enhancing the quality of our job performance (There is always space to strengthen oneself, in particular with the streaming changes today). To do this, we will further automate all needed business processes and bring the best possible results, along with creating products that will speed up the development. There are several hypotheses in our plans that we will test, and it is likely that some of them are turning into startups. We want to actively work on our products this year.
In addition and so far the best I guess is that the FreySoft team is actively growing with new members. Just for now, we have an excellent set of open vacancies and we will strive to keep on this tendency. We are planning to organize internal trainings to improve both soft and hard skills of our team members. Besides, soon we are going to open an office in Poland to deliver our services on its market.