We talked to Artkai’s CEO, Kos Chekanov about digital product design and development that make sense to your business, to people and you and here is what he said about it.
Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the organization.
Kos Chekanov: My company is called Artkai. We’re a customer-centric digital product development company based in Kyiv, Ukraine. We help entrepreneurs, innovators, industry disruptors, and established businesses shape and launch digital products using a human-centered approach. We’re keen on covering the gap between the users and the digital tool any business wants to build or enhance.
I set the vision and strategy for the company as well as communicate with clients of Artkai and internal stakeholders.
What is the story behind starting Artkai?
Kos Chekanov: Together with my partner Art Tsymbal we used to work in several digital agencies. Around six years ago, we decided to launch our own company that would combine our knowledge of the digital world, design, and desire to be really customer-centric both with client service and the projects we wanted to create.
With the support of our third partner, who used to be a partner in a well-known law firm, we founded a design boutique with only a few people in it. From 7 people and Upwork-based projects to the market-leading position and global recognition, we have come a long way to prove there is more to us than affordable rates and acceptable English. We might have taken a wrong turn or two along the way, but we have certainly got to the right place.
Small companies and large enterprises come to Artkai rather for expertise and counsel than for manual labor. Every day our clients trust us to solve complex problems, realize bold ideas, and build resolute products. We take pride in our talent selection process and, more importantly, in people who have managed to get through it. Make no mistake; we have the most passionate, hard-working, and ingenious odd-balls on our team. This is all we have ever wanted! Okay, it was a little too dramatic. Clearly, we want more than that.
Eventually, we’re an end-to-end product development company that can bring value by shaping the strategy and understanding customers, and delivering value from digital solutions that are made under one roof.
Currently, Artkai is a team of 100 ppl and constantly growing. We are in the Top 1000 Service Providers for 2020 by Clutch. We are proud that dozens of millions of people use our projects, was recognized by Apple, Y-Combinator, and Forbes, and helped our clients to raise more than $350 million of funding.
What are Artkai’s business model–in-house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
Kos Chekanov: Our business model is combining the best from outsourcing & outstaffing models for our clients. As sometimes they need the help of developers, designers whom they want to manage by themselves, in this case – we provide outstaffing. In other cases, clients want a one-stop-shop that will ensure both delivery and talent for their needs. I would tell you that we have 70% of outsourcing projects and 30% outstaffing. Sometimes it’s an efficient mix of both. We can launch the product covering all tasks of the scope and after getting to the phase of staff augmentation of certain experts on later stages when clients grow their in-house team. We want to be sure that we comply with any demands that our clients have.
How does Artkai differentiate itself from the competition?
Kos Chekanov: This is one of my favorite questions to cover with our clients. We used to be a design-only company. Then we started to cover part of development needs, and now we are an end-to-end product development company that gets things done from strategy to execution.
Yet, I would say that our UX competence and Business Analysis is something that attracts the majority of our clients. We do them really differently and more professionally from other IT companies and many other IT vendors. We use the research-based approach and dig really deep into the business of our clients and in understanding their customers. We conduct Workshops, both online & onsite, and understand users’ needs, audit competitors, get market insights, turn assumptions into facts/validate the hypothesis, and how to transform this knowledge into seamless customer experiences. Then, for sure, we pick the best suiting architecture and technology to launch solutions that make sense to business, users, and our clients.
What industries do you generally cater to?
Kos Chekanov: We have a big focus on e-banking, and have a lot of clients from different sub-niches of Fintech, including capital market, wealth tech, loaning. Basically, we know how to deliver anything that is connected to using money online. The truth is that the financial industry is rapidly changing and moving the focus from the transactional model to concentration on the lifetime value of the customers. This means a radical focus on user experience.
Besides, we have plenty of complex e-commerce projects connected to marketplaces & shops, etc. We’re also actively developing knowledge of the healthcare industry & gaming/gambling. And we also have projects related to real estate, etc.
Most of our clients are repetitive, and 50-60 % come to us either by reference or our long-term clients (2+years). We are proud of these numbers because they prove that we provide really high-quality services and delivery. Those are essential parameters for remote collaboration with high competition on the market.
· Banking & Fintech
· Real Estate
Currently developing industries:
· Gaming & gambling
· E-health, Healthcare & Medtech
· The USA
· Scandinavian countries
· Countries of GULF region
Please share some of the services that you offer for which clients approach you the most for?
Kos Chekanov: Primary, clients come to Artkai to rapidly discover, shape, and validate ideas, turn concepts into predictably successful products, and continuously enhance customer experiences.
Here are the four main directions:
End-to-End PoC/MVP development for Startups. Our approach based on discovery sessions and rapid prototyping allow us to assist clients in the quick launch of any digital product with reduced risks.
Customer-facing applications for the Banking and FinTech companies. Vast experience in collaborating with traditional and disrupting financial institutions allows us to help our clients concentrate on seamless user experiences, performant front-end, and LTV(lifetime value) of their customers.
Digitalization and digital product innovation for SMB & SME. Through workshops and service blueprints, we uncover gaps and insights that can be translated into online services/applications to boost any company’s efficiency or create new revenue streams.
Scaling product engineering teams with the best hand-picked talents. We find, screen, and hire developers to help our clients reduce business operations costs and quickly fill gaps in any tech skill.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2020?
Kos Chekanov: I would tell you that in 2020 we had plenty of projects. The cliche joke tells COVID is the number one reason for most companies to digitalize. Fun, but true, and my company is an expert that helps many clients go through meaningful digitalization, and by meaningful, I mean customer-centric.
So, in terms of the price range, most of the clients who came to us are spending from $50k to $100k for their initial release of an application, but some companies are spending $150k to $250k and even $500k for something bigger than reduced MVP and bigger engineering team. It depends on several things, and we help our clients understand the best way to launch an app/service/solution for them.
If the competition is really high in the niche, it definitely makes sense to launch something that would be outstanding from day one. If the competition and the idea are unique and you need to check the hypothesis, even a clickable prototype would be a great idea to start with. In this case, the price would be around $20-30k. So, it all depends on your needs, and so we are pleased to help all the clients identify this need before spending a lot of money.
Where do you see Artkai in the next 10 years?
Kos Chekanov: It’s hard to predict something for ten years, considering how actively the landscape is changing. We have a lot of disruption in all industries, not to mention COVID again.
I always tell my colleagues that we are striving to become a leading product development company that helps companies from Fortune 500 become more customer-centric. Our mission is to build digital services that everyday help people solve their problems better and faster. And, by working together with bigger companies, we’ll be able to impact more people.
Many companies are facing this goal to create something online, to create something digital but now, when people face more and more delightful experiences online in their mobile phones and the applications they use every day, and they want to have a similar level of experience everywhere. And, it’s really essential right now for businesses to make sure they can deliver it. Artkai is and will be the company that creates this bridge between companies and customers, creating top of the notch experiences that will be benchmarks for the whole industry
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