After more than 13 years of hard work, commitment to our mission and excellence in business, Strypes has turned into a leading company in the software development field in Bulgaria. One more reason to be proud is the fact that our family has just reached the number of 400 people! Together with Nasko Filchev, our Chief Operating Officer, we are discussing what stands behind a successful and sustainable business in the technology industry.
Nasko, 400 is a notable number of people for an IT company in Bulgaria. Can you tell us how Strypes’ journey began?
Let me start some time before the actual beginning. I graduated in Germany and started working in a company there. Back then, I used to keep an eye on the IT sector in Bulgaria which already showed some good potential for doing business. We have always had talented and skilled professionals in our country with deep knowledge in mathematics and informatics. Combined with the market globalization this meant a good opportunity to explore. In 2008 I finally made the decision to come back to Bulgaria. Soon after this, I met Koen van Wijk, our founder and started in Strypes.
At the beginning, it was Koen, me and a couple of other colleagues, working from a very small attic, which I remember was really hot during the summer. We were a startup (the word was not so popular back then) without any specific goals or processes which soon brought us the first challenges. We were not fully prepared when the moment came and we had to look for new colleagues. We had no experience in recruiting, we were not sure how to share with them our mission and motivate them to join the company. However, we somehow managed to find great professionals, most of them still part of our family. I think that it was also a bit of luck having these people from the very beginning because they played a crucial role in Strypes’ development during the years.
13 years later Strypes is much bigger. How did we make it from a small attic to 3 office locations in Bulgaria and one more in the Netherlands?
We have always stood out with our end-to-end approach where we seek and take full responsibility for the tech solutions that we develop for our clients – from the analysis of their business needs till the integration of the end product. I believe that this way of working is our biggest advantage and has guaranteed the stability and sustainability of our business during the years. I always emphasize that we are not looking for a high number of clients to work with, but for a few big long-term partners instead.
And what about the people – what was the key here?
There is one fundamental principle that we always follow. People are the №1 priority for every organization, and the business’ success always goes through happy and motivated staff engaged with the company’s mission. We aim at being transparent and encourage our colleagues to be the active part in asking questions, making decisions, developing internal initiatives, etc. A good example is our approach during the COVID-19 crisis. We had this meeting where we shared with our people all possible scenarios and our action plans in every situation. We all agreed and made sure we were on the same page. I believe this approach contributed a lot to the level of confidence for all of us and helped us go through this period pretty smoothly.
Talking about COVID-19, what were the particular steps Strypes took to support its people?
I already mentioned our efforts to ensure transparency and predictability in crisis situations. I personally liked very much the idea of offering psychological aid for our people aiming at easier adaptation to the new normal and work from home model. I can also outline the great work of our teams to continue our engagement and initiatives online to support the team spirit and motivation of every one of us.
Did you expect to reach the number of 400 people in these rather unstable times?
To be honest, this sounded more like a dream to me a year ago. Our results in the beginning of 2021 hinted that we might make it in Q4 but the fact that it happened in the beginning of the summer came as a nice surprise for me and the team.
What is this one thing that makes us stand out as an employer and helps us attract the best talents in such a competitive market?
Authenticity I would say. Everyone at Strypes knows how much we value it together with transparency and the friendly environment in our company. They are aware of our core values and what is the most important – they believe in them. In Strypes, you can always talk to anyone in the organization regardless of their role and team, and you will always get an authentic reaction and feedback. I am sure this has a positive impact on the motivation and engagement that we all work with.
More than a decade after Strypes’ foundation, is there anything that you wanted but haven’t achieved yet?I have my personal mission here. I want to see higher recognition of our country as a leader in the software development market. For sure, we can go a step further and contribute more to the image of Bulgaria and the development of the IT sector here. Judging by the feedback that we get from our customers and the skills of our experts in recent years, I am rather optimistic for the future.
400 people in Bulgaria sounds like a great achievement, but we are going even further, aren’t we?
The number of our colleagues is just the result from the quality of our work and the ability to hold full responsibility for the projects that we work on. I believe that this approach together with our company culture will keep bringing benefits for us and will help us attract new clients and grow our teams. Of course, we are keeping an eye for opportunities to enter new markets and expand our portfolio of tech solutions. I know people who used to be very skeptical about Strypes reaching the number of 400 employees. Now I can advise them not to be surprised if we grow to 1000 one day.
In the end, is there anything you want to tell your colleagues at Strypes?
Of course, I want to thank all of them for their dedication and motivation. Together we will keep dreaming, learning, and doing the things we are best at. This way, even greater achievements are coming soon.