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Appstronauts – Lessons Learned During Pandemic at Polish Software House

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Radoslaw Wosik Appstronauts

Radoslaw Wosik, COO & co-founder of Appstronauts on how to deliver a custom application tailored to your business needs.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Radoslaw Wosik: Thanks. Fortunately – my immediate family was not yet affected by COVID-19, and we are fine. We are mostly #stayinghome and very rarely meeting other people. Honestly – this is my greatest longing.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Appstronauts.

Radoslaw Wosik: Tech world has always been close to me: I’ve been building computers and making some first websites in my early childhood. 

I’ve met my co-founder Daniel at the University, and we had a good feeling about each other – which for me is very important in the business. Both of us started IT careers for big companies. I got a Cisco job as a Data Analyst, and Daniel started working as a dev for Microsoft. We decided to do some first side-projects in 2013 and finally opened the first company together. Parallelly – our professional careers were growing. I was offered a Manager role in Cisco, and Daniel received a proposal of moving to the United States, but we both have decided to stay, face up with the challenge and build our own company – Appstronauts. Our main approach was to have a positive impact in the real-life, deliver problem-solving products and create an awesome place to work in. The customers were very happy with our cooperation, recommended us, the number of projects enlarged – that shown us, that putting priority in Appstronauts was a good choice. Asia (Marketing Lead) also joined us as a founder, and we decided to hire first employers, divided the responsibilities between us and keep growing Appstronauts business (previously known as enjoyIT).

Since then, we are growing and delivering more and more interesting projects, increasing the team size and customers portfolio.

How does Appstronauts innovate? 

Radoslaw Wosik: We are a software development company specializing in mobile and web applications for startups and enterprises. We have helped companies become innovative, turn ideas into market-winning products and process them through digital transformation. 

We always became long-term technology partners and advisors for our customers by creating dedicated teams and outsourcing developers, quality assurances, and project managers. 

What do innovations look like while working with Appstronauts? We help our client by getting them through digital transformation in the most cost-effective way. We specialize in cross-platform mobile applications (started with the Ionic framework, release 0.8, and took a very active part in the Ionic community by developing our own plugins & extensions) and successfully deliver them to our customers – there are more than 40M users of our solutions all over the world, and that is amazing!

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?

Radoslaw Wosik: As we have been working very closely with 3 sectors: Services, Retails, TSL – COVID affected all of those areas. Above 70% of our projects were postponed or cancelled. That means that our monthly income decreased by more than 65% – it was very difficult for us, especially since the monthly costs of tech companies are very high. We have decided to retarget, adjust our approach and look for new challenges/business opportunities. Due to our dynamic business decisions, new potential customers and customers, we have ended 2020 with a 10% year-to-year growth! 

Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?

Radoslaw Wosik: We had to perform very difficult choices, while we realized that projects for more than half of our crew will finish in a few days. 

Lessons learned: 

– We are great at remote work. We closed our offices and migrated to a remote-first approach – It turned out to boost our effectiveness. 

– You always need to keep your sales funnel full (and never stop prospecting!)

– Be positive, open-minded and try to be a good person, and karma will come back (to be fair, we knew it before)

How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?

Radoslaw Wosik: It moved online. Relationships between our coworkers, customers and us – founders were always on the top priorities for Appstronauts. From our in-house point of view, moving from office to remote-first mode was quite easy, as we were used to working remotely with customers all over the world. From a customer’s perspective, the change is invisible. Our dedicated teams of developers, managers are working from different locations. To be honest, since we founded the company in 2015, we put a high effort into scalability – by setting up proper processes, implementing them in each project/business operations area. 

There are dozens of tools that help us. Most important are: Jira (Project Management), Slack (daily communication), GSuite/GDrive and Pipedrive. 

Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?

Radoslaw Wosik: Yes, finally – 8 months after submitting a Grants Form, we received a small government grant and probably – due to the regulations, we will need to give half of this Grant back to the institute. It didn’t help us much. 

Your final thoughts?

Radoslaw Wosik: 2020 was tough – no doubts about it. After this year, I’m even more sure that hard work and good work pays off. We are working very hard on a daily basis since we started Appstronauts to deliver quality for our clients, and it definitely helped us in this difficult period. Thanks to our dynamic decisions, engagement and hard work, we are growing and realizing awesome projects. We strongly believed in our team, did everything to keep people onboard & find new business opportunities. 

My advice is: If you have some idea and it’s not meeting your expectations – hold down for a while, think about the situation from the “helicopter view”. Don’t give up – try!.

Stay dynamic and focus on execution, not on planning – the world is moving faster every day. 

Thanks for the talk. 

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