“Business in Małopolska” - interview with Łukasz Młynek, Co-Founder and CEO of Railwaymen Company.
BiM: Please, explain to us where are the company beginning - in what way Railwaymen was created, what was the idea for creating it?
Ł.M: Railwaymen was founded in 2009. I established it with my business partners: Grzegorz Forysiński and Marcin Czesak. At the beginning, we cooperated on a simple terms. Our aims were to verify opportunities for running our business. We saw a huge potential in our activities and we took concrete development direction. In 2011 we decided to formalize our actions and we founded limited liability company - which is growing to this day.
From the beginning we focused on three specific aspects:
- Quality of offered service
- Client satisfaction
- Team satisfaction
Until today these activities are the key for us and allow us to develop our business on a solid foundation. For several years, we have been appreciated and distinguished by well-known foreign media. In last year we were in the top 10 of the world’s top Ruby on Rails companies. That distinction was given by American platform B2B - Clutch.co. We got the accreditation from Germany company called: Digital Knights which was conducting technology companies audit. It is worth to emphasize that we found ourselves at 7 % of companies which were participated in that audit.
BiM: How looks the basic company offer? Who is the main target of the company’s services?
Ł.M: We directed our activities to the entrepreneurs with the running business, or with the idea to digitize it. The products of our actions are usually: information system, web platform, and mobile applications. The most important is to resolve technical and other issues - independently is it a cost estimation system for construction, a tender platform, software for pre-schools (in the franchise model), a gamification application for children or a blockchain platform.
We give an individual approach for each project, explore business needs, select the most adequate solutions and technologies. You can read about our selected projects over there for example.
BiM: How small or medium company should realize the development strategy? What is the importance of innovation, new technologies, market analysis?
Ł.M: In my opinion, it is worth to think about the segment in which the company would like to specialize. Nowadays, in spite of the huge competition, it is easy to observe needs for the IT services.
However, the entrepreneurs are looking not only for contractors for their projects but first of all business partner who will understand the vision, analyses the possibilities and shares outside the know-how knowledge. It is really hard to become a specialist in every branch, so the best way is to concentrate on a few areas/specializations and be the best in a specific field.
Innovation and new technologies are very significant determinants of success - especially nowadays. All the same, along with the innovation must go: good work organization and work culture, processes and some activities automation and of course well team coordination. It is very hard for success without it.
BiM: Do you realize the projects with cooperation with the scientist environment? Please let us know, if it is the right business partner for you?
Ł.M: In my opinion, cooperation between entrepreneurs and the scientific environment is indispensable - it allows for in-depth analysis of problems and provides the best solutions. The best example of that are the programs offered by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
During the cooperation with the Universities, for examples: Jagiellonian University, the Cracow University of technology, AGH University - we have realized a huge number of training, courses, and workshops for the students. Our main aim was: to show practical possibilities of using Ruby on Rails technology.
Regarding the HR activities, we have partnered with people who are actively involved in university work - offering them the opportunity to work in our company. Ipso facto, we are open to further cooperation. I think that we can do a lot in this aspect.
BiM: What caused the decision to enter foreign markets? Which direction do you consider the most promising?
Ł.M: From the beginning Railwaymen company was directly concentrating on global cooperation - 90% of our clients and business partners come from foreign markets. First of all, it was associated with greater opportunities for the development of new technologies. We cooperate with American start-ups and small/medium size companies which let us grow our business. We are very pleased to observe a similar approach among polish entrepreneurs. More and more of our countrymen are successful with its products and services - we are perceived as a hard-working and well-educated specialist. Everywhere it is easy to notice that polish entrepreneurs have open doors to make expansion into foreign, undiscovered markets.
Each company should individually consider which export directions are the best for its. For ones: it will be the size of the market, for others the number of competing companies with similar resolutions or maybe the cost of suchlike products/services. In our case, the most of partners and clients come from the USA, but we are open for other markets via co-operating with entrepreneurs from Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, ZEA and even Puerto Rico.
BiM: What kind of advice do you have for other companies - that are just considering about starting the export activities? Is it worth? Is it a possibility that the risk appears?
Ł.M: In the era of globalization, export services seem to be an indispensable element of the business. It is always the risk in that - for example differences in exchange rates. However, when we planning the strategy for entering the specific markets, some of these risks may be limited.
It is worth to analyze the possibility which given by specific market: recognize business or culture conditions, talk with the business partners among direct markets, and those which are export their products and services already.
Significant help in export activities is UE programs, which co-finance company expansion to foreign markets, which means that the cost of entering there is lower. Railwaymen has participated in a program called: “Paszport do eksportu”, and currently is the beneficiary of “Go To Brand” program. Due to the above, in the last year we presented our services at many foreign conferences like: Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco or GiteX Technology Week in Dubai).
BiM: What are your plans for the next months and years?
Ł.M: Currently, we are exploring new markets, for examples: Persian Gulf countries which are given huge possibilities for developing. We are focusing on running our business in new areas like: AI or blockchain - which are very desirable on the market.
BiM: Thank you for the interview.
Ł.M: Thank you.