Intellias is a 15-year old company with 600 employees. From the first rented one room sized office, the company grew up to the big offices in three cities in Ukraine and also in Germany. How the way to success began and what are the trends when it comes to the development of the IT market, told Vitaliy Sedler, the company’s CEO at a meeting with university students.
How the programming became the career
The beginning. Vitaliy Sedler was interested in programming since his childhood since he was 14 years old. Imagine, information technologies back in 1991! When he was growing up, there were already floppy disks and computers were a bit similar to modern PCs. But if you compare these times with what we have nowadays, when we have devices thousands of times more powerful in our pockets, you can really see how far the technologies went forward.
At first, Vitaliy would meet at his friend’s place and spend whole days programming in Basic. Then, he bought his first computer which consisted of two boards. It didn’t have any screens, you had to connect it to a TV. Unfortunately, he couldn’t even set it up since there were some details missing. There were no programs, you could not download them, all you could do was to exchange floppy disks with someone. But this was also close to impossible because not many people were interested in this stuff. While Vitaliy was studying at Lviv Physics and Mathematics Lyceum, there was a computer “Poisk”, and there literally were queues to get in that class. The students sat there two at a time, trying to learn at least anything.
The first money. It’s hard to imagine, but Vitaliy Sedler earned his first money due to the advertisement in the local newspaper. One German guy needed someone to code him a program. Vitaliy spent a week coding in Turbo Pascal and got 25 dollars, which was not bad at the time. Especially for his parents: when he brought dollars to them at 1995, that was an achievement.
Meeting the business partner. Vitaliy Sedler found his first job also by a paper advertisement. There were two people at the job interview – he and another guy, and both of them were hired. He got his first salary for two months of work – 350 dollars. 350 dollars was a lot of money for his parents, who were getting 30-50 dollars at the time. In fact, the guy who had the interview at the same time with Vitaliy later became his business partner at Intellias. This event has determined the future cooperation of Vitaliy Sedler and Mykhailo Puzrakov for the next 20 years.
The beginning of Intellias Starting the business. After graduating from the university, Vitaliy and Mykhailo were offered huge a few thousand dollars. However, they have decided to start their own company, the unknown appealed to them. They were young and it was not as scary for them then as it would have been right now.The name “Intellias” came from the word “intelligent” since they really wanted to offer “intelligent” services, not just stare at a computer. It became their second job ever, and they’ve been doing it for the 15 years already.The new times. Think about those times again. There was not outsourcing in Lviv. Only SoftServe and ELEKS which seemed to the partners like giant companies and a few small companies existed in Lviv back then. When they started, they didn’t even have an office, because they didn’t have money. They were sub-renting a room at their friend’s place, made a website and started looking for clients.
Developing the company. Intellias has started working with German-speaking countries and until now 80% of its clients come from there. Nowadays, there 600 employees at Intellias, it’s a medium-sized company. It is ranked 25th in Ukraine. In 2015 the company has opened an office in Kyiv and last year – in Odesa.
Vitaliy Sedler says the outsourcing is developing at a very fast rate, and for companies like Intellias, 7-10 years sounds like a promising future. There is a huge demand for IT professionals. For instance, Europe lacks nearly a million of programmers that are why they will be looking for them in other regions, and Ukraine – is a really good country for that. In the last 5 years Intellias has doubled in size and with such a rate we are gonna be in Top-10 Ukrainian companies in a couple of years.
On Ukrainian IT market
Vitaliy Sedler says, Ukrainian companies need to develop competencies, not try to sell programmers by the principle “bought for 5, will sell for 50”, they need to have a deep understanding of technologies or understanding of some specific industry in order to sell the client not just developing services, but also competencies in the financial system, for example.
Outsourcing and developing IT in Ukraine. One of the characteristics of Ukrainian IT market is the fact that our programmers are working for export. Consequently, these services are either too expensive for our market, or inaccessible. In contrast, in Poland programmers are usually working for the domestic market. On the other hand, outsourcing is beneficial for the industry, it creates a lot of jobs.
When Ukrainian economy is better, this will enable us to switch resources now working on Americans to Ukraine. Therefore, the contribution of outsourcing in this development is highly important. Also, I am convinced that, since mostly young people and foreign customers are working in IT here, it creates a culture of business relations as well as social relations. And that is what Ukraine is lacking.