Roland Pokornyik, CEO, Co-founder at chamaileon.io tells us about an email production platform focused on meeting the needs of the marketing teams of brands.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Roland Pokornyik: Both my wife and I work from home since March 2020. We have two kids (9 and 5 years old), and we had to take care of them while maintaining healthy work habits as well, which prove to be challenging, especially when homeschooling is needed. We were forced to homeschool my 9-year-old daughter for 3 months in 2020, and now the situation is the same in Hungary. Schools are closed again for at least a month from March 8, 2021. We can only manage this situation since my wife works only part-time and has the opportunity to work fully remotely. She’s the one who needs to take care of our kids during the day, and it puts a lot of pressure on her.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Chamaileon.io.
Roland Pokornyik: I already knew at the age of 16 that I want to become an entrepreneur and establish my own company once, but I decided to work for other businesses before I would start my own. I worked for multinational, mid-sized, and small companies in various roles ranging from online marketing expert to product owner & SCRUM master. I learned the ins and outs of running a business before I was brave enough to start my own with my long-time friend and Co-founder Gyula Németh (CTO at Chamaileon.io & EDMdesigner.com) and a 3rd founder who’s not actively involved in the day-to-day operations.
The idea for our current company came to my head in 2012 on a train trip, when I realized that most marketing emails looked bad on my mobile phone. That’s when we decided to build an email design software that enables non-developers to create professional-looking email templates without writing a single line of code. Our first product was EDMdesigner.com, and the second one is Chamaileon.io, an email production platform focused on meeting the needs of the marketing teams of brands & agencies.
How does Chamaileon.io innovate?
Roland Pokornyik: We reinvest most of our revenues into product development to be able to meet our customers’ needs. That’s one of the reasons why we were the first in the email design space who introduce real-time collaboration as core functionality in our email editor. It means that since November 2020, our users can edit emails simultaneously as they would in, for example, Google products. Besides team collaboration functions, we focus on providing the best possible email HTML code to our customers, which already outperforms the competition in terms of email client compatibility, email code quality and generally has 50%+ less size than any other providers code in the industry.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Roland Pokornyik: 2020 hasn’t been the best year in our business since we had a couple of key accounts that were badly influenced by the pandemic, but overall the business has a stable revenue stream and is profitable, and we see strong revenue growth opportunities for 2021. We transitioned into a full-remote company in March 2020 after the first lockdown in Hungary. The transition happened in a matter of days, and we don’t ever plan to go back to the classic office-based work. Our team is more efficient this way, and thanks to regular get-togethers (twice per month), we can keep the team’s motivation and mood in the higher ranges.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Roland Pokornyik: No, we didn’t need to fire anybody. We had some fluctuation, though, but that’s pretty normal, especially when you have juniors in the team.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Roland Pokornyik: We maintain a close relationship with our customers and prospects as well. We use Intercom to manage the communication with our end-users and use Close as our CRM to manage the communication with key accounts and prospects likewise.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Roland Pokornyik: We got partial support from the Hungarian government, but the amount of the grant didn’t have too much influence on our run rate. The grant amount wasn’t significant enough.
Your final thoughts?
Roland Pokornyik: I believe that we were one of the lucky ones who managed to thrive in the ever business environment caused by the lockdowns that were and are necessary to fight Covid-19. Thanks to our approach to innovation, we are now in a great position to multiply our current revenues in 2021 and piggyback on the increased importance of email as a marketing channel.
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