Andriy Lepenets, co-founder of Astarios software development company, shared his experience of successful business development at the international level and stressed that the most promising areas that largely determine the future and opportunities of mankind are renewable energy sources and the Internet things. And these are the areas in which the company operates.
LDaily: Please tell us about Astarios. What are its competitive advantages?
A.Lepenets: Astarios is a software development company founded by me and
my partner Reto Kaeser back in 2017. Besides software development services, we’re specialized in building remote engineering teams and Software security testing. I had the idea of starting a company like this almost since the very beginning of my career in IT. Meeting Reto, a professional with such a massive technical background who was willing to collaborate and start a business together, was surely a signal for me to take it all a step further. We registered our company in Switzerland and Ukraine, signed our first contract with a client from Zurich, thus starting our way. Today we have offices in both Switzerland and Ukraine, multiple great projects in our portfolio, so that’s a good beginning, especially considering we started just recently.
Before Astarios I made several engagements for some of the worldwide leaders of software development market – Ciklum, Infopulse, and several others. I saw the inside outs of their business processes and came up with an idea of building a transparent team-oriented company that will not aim to grow its revenue at any cost as rapidly as possible, but the one willing to bring value to both its clients and employees in the first place. Even though this principle can sound like a matter of course, somehow a lot of companies still can’t tell the bottom from the top. And I’m extremely happy to see that so far my vision works perfectly for all sides involved. Our clients recommend Astarios to their partners, our developers are proud of the work they do. Any business has its ups and downs sometimes, but it feels awesome to know you`re doing everything right.
Another great thing about Reto is that he was the one who pushed Astarios in the direction of software development for the Energy sector, especially renewables, and the IoT for Industrial and Construction industries. As a CTO he has all the needed experience to handle projects of any size. He’s keen on Software Security, organizes regular DevSecOps meetups in Zurich, so that’s another advantage he brings to our team. For his 30 years in engineering, Reto has delivered multiple projects for different industries – Finance, Big Data, AI and Machine Learning – you name it. But we decided to pursue our managed delivery services in the directions of Energy and IoT due to the positive impact these two can have on the world`s sustainability. The industrial revolutions that happened in the previous centuries relied on coal, trains, and telegraph, cheap oil and centralized electricity. But what’s next? It’s clear now that the only way for humanity to succeed in the long run is by unleashing the potential of Renewable Energy and enhancing our use of the IoT. These industries require an enormous amount of software developed, so we’re glad Astarios is a part of these changes.
LDaily: The company is represented in Switzerland and Ukraine. Please tell us what are the differences between the introduction of IT business of these
A.Lepenets: Even somebody may not notice it at the first glance – Ukraine and Switzerland have all the needed premises for doing IT business together. When talking about remote cooperation, psychology is extremely important. Our European clients say it’s very comfortable for them to work with Ukrainian engineers due to the similarities between our mentalities and worldview. We have only one hour difference from Europe, and that means a lot when working in remote teams. At the same time, Ukrianian market can easily help Europeans to solve the problem of local talent shortages. Some businesses spent months searching for developers with no success before coming to us, and we helped them by finding needed specialists in just a few weeks. No doubt, salary expectations are also significantly different from Europe and the US. Yeah, we’re not here to compete with some of the Eastern countries offering lower rates, but so far Ukraine succeeds in being the golden mean of the software development market.
As for the accounting part, our clients can pay to either our Swiss bank or Ukrainian one, depending on which option suits them best. That’s surely an advantage that eases the invoicing process a lot.
LDaily: Do you feel a shortage of qualified personnel? Which countries are more open for cooperation with our IT specialists?
A.Lepenets: To a certain extent, Ukraine has massive amounts of qualified IT specialists – there are engineers with absolutely different backgrounds on the market. Sometimes it takes time to close unique positions, but it’s usually worth waiting.
Ukraine is considered an outsourcing destination for many countries. From the business development perspective, Astarios aims to work with the Dach region, US, and European Union. But one of our biggest projects yet was a West African company, a local leader in the Solar Energy industry. Thus all countries worldwide are ready to cooperate with Ukraine when they know we can bring value to the table.
LDaily: Let’s talk with you about the coronavirus crisis and its impact on your company. How did it affect your company?
A.Lepenets: Luckily, none of our clients was affected by it. You know, this sword cuts both ways. We have a client who told us something like: “Due to the pandemic and the era of remote work as its outcome I’m now totally calm about working with remote engineers – we all work remotely now”. So that’s more of a positive impact for sure. On the other hand, we had several potential customers who told us they’re cutting their budgets due to the COVID. Industries like gaming are now having massive gains because of the lockdown, while travel companies are facing an opposite picture. No matter what, I hope the pandemic will end as soon as possible. Eventually, it’s great to meet in the office from time to time.
LDaily: What are the plans for the company? Are you planning to open representative offices in other countries?
A.Lepenets: We’re now at the stage of opening a business office in Austria. The US is also in the plans for the future. But as I told before, it’s not about growing as fast as possible. Above all, there is a clear goal we follow – to help our clients in building products that will shape the future.