We talked to Bogachan Ilica, co-founder of Clemta, about business startup, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Bogachan Ilica: Covid-19 started around this time last year and has changed our lives drastically. Luckily, my family and I managed to keep ourselves isolated. So far, none of my family members (including my team) has tested positive for COVID-19. There were times where we all contemplated how working remotely would affect our business. However, with care and isolation, we managed to keep our families and colleagues safe.
On the bright side, now I spend more time at home, with my family. We cherish the moments of joy when we prepare a meal all together and watch a movie at night. I can confidently say that COVID-19 has restored our family ties here at my casa.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Clemta.
Bogachan Ilica: I spend most of my life in the greatest city of Canada, Vancouver. After finishing my law degree in Canada, I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur and disrupt the legal-tech industry. Legal tech is not one of those areas any entrepreneur takes a part in. It is highly competitive and what we call “know-how” is the core of many businesses in the sector. After working at multiple jobs in the legal sector as a legal consultant, I knew I wanted to combine my passion for law and entrepreneurship.
Let’s cut it short and get to how I got here. One of my friends in high school, now he is an attorney too, was managing his firm called “Startup Law Consultancy”. His ambitious work was gathering attention. After a warm chat and a cup of coffee at his office, we just knew we had to spend some time and work on his idea “Clemta”. After a couple of months of work, building a team, and countless meetings, we managed to bring our project into reality. Fast forward to now, Clemta has served entrepreneurs and business owners from 50+ countries. We form their businesses, help them get a bank account and tax number in the U.S., and then take over the accounting of their business in the United States.
How does Clemta innovate?
Bogachan Ilica: Clemta is innovative in two fundamental ways. First, our company Clemta is a Software as a Service platform where all the documentation is created and executed by our software. Our agents can go over these documents in a couple of minutes and provide an error-free service. Second, Clemta offers a complete business platform for anyone willing to start a business in the United States. During our initial R&D phase, we have listed all the services a business owner might need during their journey of starting a business, growing it, and maintaining it. We have identified over 10 services a company may need during its journey to success. Now we are proud to say that all the services we have identified on that list and more are all offered through our website. Any business owner can confidently get on our website, take the initial step and focus on their businesses solely while we maintain their business. To be exact, we take care of company formation and tax numbers, bank account formation, accounting services, notary services, and many more. Our innovative service platform has subtracted countless intermediaries from the busy lives of businesspeople. Rather than knocking on over 10 doors (accountants, lawyers…) to maintain your business, now you can leave it all to Clemta and focus on your business.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Bogachan Ilica: At first, we were worried about our business finances since we have just added multiple members to our team and some investments were made to expand our operations. The first couple of months were unpleasant as expected. However, with the boom in the e-commerce sector, we have experienced a large volume of new clients. With the constant growth of Amazon, Shopify, and other e-commerce platforms, businesspeople from all around the world were looking to use our services. We are proud to say that our MRR has grown over %50 every month ever November 2020. Our exponential growth has fed our operational growth and now our team is larger than it has ever been. Our projections indicate that this exponential growth will be persistent. We have decided to reflect some of our success to our customer by providing free services, discounts and many more.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Bogachan Ilica: The hardest part of the COVID-19 adaption period was the remote working for sure. Not all of my team members had a family to stay home with or a roommate to chat with. We could feel and see the frustration of some of our colleagues. After the first couple of months and long meetings to work on our mental health together through coaches, our team managed to strengthen its’ ties and helped each other through these rough days. Although everything seemed to be under control internally, our hiring procedures were hit with online meeting complications. Finding a candidate to work for us was not the issue. The main issue was adopting a new member to our diverse team through online meetings that were the only option. I am confident to say that both internally and externally it was a learning curve for me and my team. The main lessons we learned; we are also a family, we help each other through tough times, and we try to understand each other no matter how hard it is or how different our point of view is.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Bogachan Ilica: We are currently adopting a CRM system for the growing demand. We are integrating the live chat option to our website in multiple languages. Even before the COVID-19, our meetings were conducted through online servers since our clients are located in different countries. I can mention with confidence that we were used to dealing with our customers through online meetings. We are taking a particularly close focus on our relationship, building with our customers and their specific needs especially during these times of crisis. We are using all digital tools to stay in touch and to reassure them about the continuity of our business.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Bogachan Ilica: There were no grants from the government that our company could benefit from. As our business grew during the pandemic, our main focus was to let other business owners benefit from these grants.
Your final thoughts?
Bogachan Ilica: COVID-19 forced me, my team, and even my family members to adapt to new things in short periods of time. We have never thought the virus would stay over a year in our lives. However, with the rapid change in the digital world, our business model seems to solve many problems. I still cannot believe we all have made it through healthy and kept our personal lives alongside business affairs going. I am proud of what we have achieved as a team.
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