Redvike was registered as a business on 27th March 2016, but we didn’t start trading until August 27th; hence, we view the 27th as our official launch date. So, at the dawn of our second birthday, it feels right to share the opening chapters of the Redvike story.
What started out as two person’s dream to turn a successful freelance career into a budding agency has brought with it many exciting projects.
Plus, its fair share of learning experiences.
As a self-funded start-up: scaling from two founders to seventeen employees in less than two years has topped all expectations. But truth be told, while we’re proud of the growth we’ve achieved, we’re most excited by the prospects that lie ahead. That said, a lot has happened in our short history.
So, we believe our story makes for an insightful read both for those interested in how one start-up has grown as much as those involved in building their own.
Thank you for your support – we hope you enjoy the read!
27th March 2016: Two Friends Found Redvike
The day two lone developers chose to branch out: while life as freelancers had landed Daniel & Vlad with a level of success, it’s a real struggle to scale efforts for more impactful projects, being only individual contractors
…and Redvike was born.
27th August 2016: Redvike Begins Trading
Five months in, Redvike’s official launch: office, clients and all. This was when we began trading, and so is the birthday we celebrate!
September 2016: Secure & Start First Projects
As with any new business, the early days of Redvike were spent bidding for projects. Our primary focus is on helping early-stage founders bring technical concepts to life. So, we sought prospects in this domain.
As a start-up ourselves, we share a lot of common ground with clients. This has served us well and certainly helped us win our first project: ShopTagr.
ShopTagr helps shoppers know when a particular product goes on sale. Say, I walk into a shop, pick up a pair of trainers and see they’re too expensive to buy. I can set an alert in ShopTagr to notify me when an online store runs a sale on this item.
Redvike built the service using jQuery parsers to run push notifications across over 1,000 websites, which was a relatively straightforward task; but it was the front-end design we found particularly engaging.
Plus, it was the frontend expertise we demonstrated here that led to our next client: CallPage.
CallPage were so impressed by our work, they engaged us to build out their lead generation software; what started as a high-level project evolved into an end-to-end redesign.
It was at this stage we began to appreciate that great work leads to more clients and our efforts were paying dividends, but growth always takes longer than you think.
So, we want to share this lesson – plus, a few others along the way.
Learning #1: As with any start-up, you learn as you go: while our service earned early traction, it took us longer to win contracts, hire new employees, and scale our efforts.
Simply put, our 80m2 office felt rather large for the first few months!
Takeaway: Building a business takes time.
End-November 2016: Establish Software Automation Expertise
As our service evolved, we began to specialize in new areas. First of all: automation.
In November, the Project Manager of a marketing firm contacted us with a request to automate their internal remarketing systems. Following early success, the collaboration turned into a year-long partnership – the result of which was RMRKTR.
With several projects in flight, we started hiring. The initial focus was on supporting the growth of our CallPage and ShopTagr projects with a view to scaling-up over the coming months.
March 2017: A New Year, a New Client in Germany!
Word of Redvike was spreading. So, we welcomed in 2017 with a new client in Germany: they needed software to support warehouse management including process automation, business operations, accounting – the works.
The scope was broad, yet implementation was straightforward. So, we took the opportunity to hire a new developer and upskill on the job.
Redvike grows to five!
April 2017: Redvike Crosses the Atlantic
The following month, we won our largest project to-date and our first client in America: ChiTown Trainer was to be the most challenging project we’d taken on so far.
To account for the increased workload, we needed to strengthen our technical team with backend expertise – enter our sixth employee, who has risen to the challenge, becoming Lead Developer for all backend work.
May 2017: The Growth Story Continues
We launched ChiTown Trainer towards the end of April, but May brought grander ambitions from the ChiTown founder – so, it was time to hire again.
Two more frontend developers and one mobile specialist came onboard, pushing Redvike forward and helping realize the ChiTown dream (update on this front coming soon!).
Plus, we convinced two of our freelance developers to join us in Cracow full-time, uniting the team under one roof.
August 2017: 1 Year In…
…and we’ve grown from two to ten people, learning a whole lot along the way.
Learning #2: Winning business in the early days was harder than expected. But as clients gave us glowing feedback, referral business steadily grew. We quickly came to appreciate if someone genuinely loves (not just ‘likes’) the work you produce, they’ll talk.
And talk grows business.
Takeaway: Word-of-mouth marketing is the best business development there is.
H2 2017-H1 2018: 1 New Project, 1 Bump in the Road
The second half of 2017 and early 2018 saw new work – this time in Finland – with one of our many Nordic customers. Agendium founder Ismo Paananen needed to move quickly to take advantage of the incoming GDPR regulation, choosing Redvike as his technical partner.
The project involved some less-than-conventional ways of working, but the final product has been well received – much to the credit of our team.
Then, our first mistake…
Learning #3: We dropped our first – and only – client in the second half of 2017. Having been contracted for a project, we were given no technical specifications leading to us taking the lead on Project Management.
The client took issue with our approach, treating Redvike developers like freelancers to work for them instead of a technical partner to work with them. So, we terminated the agreement.
Our finances took a hit, but our team remains our biggest asset; we always work in their best interests.
Takeaway: Protect your team – they always come first – and be careful which projects you take.
June 2018: New Hires, New Office
The growth story continued into 2018, so we moved to new premises. Our 80m2 office may have felt vast on day one, but we’d outgrown it twenty-two months later.
And with growth comes progress.
Now was the time to introduce internal automation: defining the processes to scale sales, project management, and development efforts.
27th August 2018: 2 Years Old, 17 Employees and Counting!
The Redvike team may have been two years in the making, but it’s now looking strong, with:
- 12x developers
- 1x Project Manager
- 1x QA
- 1x Marketing Lead
- 1x Graphic Designer
- 1x CEO
But this is just the beginning: as our business evolves, we’re taking on ever more ambitious projects as our reputation improves by the day.
We have preserved a local focus – winning business in Scandinavia, Central, and Eastern Europe – but we’re loving the ChiTown project in the USA. Referral marketing remains a crucial part of our business development strategy delivering strong organic growth; we have never raised funds, we don’t think we’ll ever need to.
We’ve become a reliable technical partner driving ideas forward to deliver products to market. Taking ideas from concept to reality is what we’re about – it allows our team to see the results of their efforts, often in as little twelve months.
Here’s to two successful years helping early-stage founders build market-leading businesses.
To be continued…