Devs.lt: Moved to Lithuania, Saw a Problem, Created a Solution That Grows Globally
2017 February 21
Meet Sandra Divova, the co-founder of Devs.lt, a Vilnius-based platform that matches companies and developers in a few clicks. She moved to Vilnius with her co-founder Gleb Divov two years ago and saw a huge problem that is relevant globally - the lack of developers in the market. So they started building Devs.lt - a platform that connects developers and companies. It now has more than 1500 pre-selected software developers and 300+ trusted companies in 40 markets. And counting.
Let’s hear more from Sandra.
Hi Sandra, so could you please briefly introduce Devs.LT?
Sandra: As a product, Devs.LT is a platform which uses AI based engine and data-driven algorithms to help companies find a matching developer in a couple of clicks.
Our customers are different, from global corporations to startups, we offer them different options: hire developers locally, remotely, relocate developers or even hire freelancers for a project.
We preselect developers for our platform by background check and mandatory oral interview. It gives us an opportunity, at the one hand, to maintain the pretty high level of IT-talents on the platform, and on the other hand, we find out personal details about developer: what he is really looking for (in terms of preferred stack, team and industry), what motivates him, and so on, which helps us to match the candidate with the right company.
We preselect the companies as well, we want to be sure, that our developers are protected. In addition to this, each company has an internal profile with details about their corporate culture, vacancies, actions on the platform, etc, and our smart search uses this data.
Although we are based in Lithuania, our target market is global, we work with candidates and customers from 40 countries including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Israel, Germany, Poland, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czech Republic, UK and lot more.
How did you come up with the idea behind Devs.lt? How does your company solve HR problems?
Sandra: When we moved to Lithuania 2 years ago, we saw this problem in the local market. We started talking to different companies from Lithuania and other European countries and we understood, that the problem is even bigger than we expected.
But how can you fill the gap of 25K of developers in 5 years in e.g. Lithuania? The only way is to bring developers from other countries. We think, that it is a good way to go: the increasing number of tech-talents in the country makes it more attractive to global companies who start moving their offices to Lithuania. It creates new workplaces and, at the end, brings back those Lithuanian talents who are now working elsewhere.
Thanks to Invest Lithuania and Enterprise Lithuania who initiated and contributed a lot to the new law for foreign highly-qualified specialists, since January’17 the properly working Blue card is introduced and the process of relocation is now simplified and can only take a couple of weeks.
Thus, we have an actual database of high-skilled developers, who are interested in relocating to Lithuania and the companies to find them and arrange the interview in seconds.
Please introduce your founders?
Sandra: Devs.LT was founded by two people. Our CEO Gleb is 37, he originally came from IT. Being a developer more than 20 years, he has a huge experience in creating and managing high-load, CRM and HR projects.
The second founder, myself, Sandra is 34. I am a business developer with a background of running business in the field of media analytics, big data and marketing.
Your biggest challenges and the ways you’ve been overcoming them?
Sandra: When you start innovations at any market, the biggest challenge is always to change the minds and traditional approach. HR market is very conservative. Normally, companies are used to work with agencies or job/cv boards. It still works properly on many markets, however, the technologies are changing the world, and the programmers are on the edge. Nowadays, you can’t just go and find really talented developer on a CV site, you have to hunt for him. So, we are changing the minds of talent acquisition specialists on how to hire developers, and, at the same time, we create a kind of a “closed” club for the most talented developers, where they can be contacted by the proper companies only.
The second challenge is to change minds about the candidates from other countries and cultures. Many HR specialists have a kind of prejudice about tech talents from abroad: how they will match with the team, will the relocation process affect their work, how they will go through the integration process.
We do several things to make it easier for both sides. We give HR specialists some ‘tricks’ on how to start the process of onboarding a new candidate, how to help him with the relocation, etc. And, yes, American researches show that developers feel more motivated when working in international teams, because they can learn some new culture and approaches.
What are your main competitors both in terms of products/services and processes?
Sandra: If you look around – there are a lot of them. Starting from traditional agencies and recruiters to a modern platforms and services.
We differ from other platforms, first of all, by our technologies: we use data driven approach to match developers and companies. Data helps us, from one side, to stick to the personal attitude, that is used by agencies, on the other side, to make it on the big numbers.
When it comes to agencies, smart competitors partner with each other, so we created a special product to help them with IT talents.
Has the company pivoted during its history?
Sandra: If you want to grow, you have to be flexible. We stick to the main idea since the day we started, but we are constantly making some changes and adding new services to our products, based on the feedback of our customers and market research data.
Since the start we were very focused on the product and the sales weren’t on the first place. Now we pay more attention to marketing and customers relationship.
How has the business been so far?
Sandra: Devs.LT today is:
- 1500+ preselected developers
- 300+ trusted companies
- 40+ countries
How are you funded? Are you seeking extra funding?
Sandra: We got our pre-seed from the angel investor in December 2015.
Currently, we are raising seed round by the end of 2017.
Your plans and goals?
Sandra: We recently launched a special product for recruitment agencies and plan to go further into this market. By the end of the year we are planning to fully automate all the processes on the platform, including the job interview, which will be conducted by the AI in voice (speech-to-txt/txt-to-speech technologies, machine learning algorithms, etc)
Being an HR-partner of Vilnius Tech Park and a proud member of Lithuanian Startup Ecosystem, we're deeply involved in educational/social activities, working with juniors, events organization, mentoring and consulting. We are planning to share some success stories here in the next 12 months.
Simply speaking - what’s next?
Sandra: We see Baltic Countries (especially Lithuania) today as, so to say, an Amber Valley – the new rapidly developing technology center of Europe and we are actively contributing to this process by increasing the number of tech-talents in the country. Not only by relocating them from other countries, but also by bringing back Lithuanian programmers, who are currently working abroad. We know, what's important for them: challenging projects, active community, creative environment, and we are trying to input into it as much as we can. Now we also partner with Code Academy Vilnius to create special traineeship programs for their students and and offer entry-level positions to the graduates.
Thanks so much for finding a spare minute Sandra!