First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Valeriy Ilchenko: Thanks for asking. Overall, we are doing well. Due to distant education and remote work, we all faced some inconvenience at first. But since children are studying at home now, we can spend more quality family time, which is a positive side.
Could you tell us about you and how you founded ByteAnt?
Valeriy Ilchenko: Sure, I worked as a freelance software developer previously. At the time, I realized I could help customers with much more than just developing a part of their project. Often, customers didn’t have enough software expertise to make the right technical decisions and optimally build their software. They ended up rebuilding something, managing a distributed team and spending years on a product while it could be done in months.
Therefore, the idea of ByteAnt was quite simple to me: to deliver full-cycle product development, focusing on the end business results. Since 2006 when my co-founder and I founded ByteAnt, we set up the processes for quality control, business analysis, software testing, and end delivery. With over 16 years in software development and a team of senior developers, we use our technical expertise to build custom solutions optimally and turn the initial mockups into the final product delivery.
How does ByteAnt innovate?
Valeriy Ilchenko: We follow the latest tech trends and use the new software frameworks in our work if they let us simplify the work and reduce the development time. We use Next.js, ReactNative, Azure cloud services, and build PWAs (progressive web applications).
I like to avoid reinventing the wheel whenever it is possible. Therefore, we often use starter ready-made software to speed up our work. It applies to SaaS and all the other niches. Thanks to this approach, customers get their first product versions faster and reduce the engineering needed.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Valeriy Ilchenko: Well, we worked with several events and hospitality businesses before the pandemics spread. As they were seriously affected by the lockdown, we had to change our vertical focus to industries that have grown. For us, it was a marketplace niche. Many businesses who have worked offline for years have to migrate online and need strong software support for it. As online deals and transactions get more popular, we help to build customized platforms and online marketplaces across 5+ industries,
We help businesses to adjust to the new reality because suitable tech expertise allows us to do that.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what lessons did you learn?
Valeriy Ilchenko: Above all, we had to adjust our marketing approach. Before the crisis, we used on-site visits and event marketing in the United States, which allowed us to target specific regions and cities. Now, we changed our marketing focus to a global presence, including Western markets, making a transition from on-site meetings to remote ones. We also understood the importance of having a local market presence in our target country, so now we have our sales representative in the US.
As to the lessons learned, for me, it was the need to follow market trends, not only on a management level. Marketing and customer success teams need to be involved. If we had reacted earlier to the market changes, the consequences could be more positive.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Valeriy Ilchenko: The software development market is highly competitive, as you know. Besides competing with local companies, we also compete with global service providers who have the same target audience. Therefore, we need very distinct differentiation points. In the nearest future, we plan to develop a robust competitive strategy for our business.
Offering fewer services but doing it more effectively and delivering better service than the others is one step. Besides that, we are planning to build our own solutions.
Your final thoughts?
Valeriy Ilchenko: Like the vaccine spreads, I believe the US market will reactivate and grow in business. We have to follow the new tendencies and react fast as these changes impact all of us.
International business partnerships have never been as vital as today.