April 19, 2018
President of CoreValue on the History of the Company and Plans for the Future
“Made in Ukraine Tech Startup Edition” is hosted and produced by Mike Buryk.
Hello, this is Mike Buryk, your host and the producer of “Made in Ukraine Tech Startup Edition”, a monthly podcast serious on Ukrainian companies, and especially those that are going global. Today, we will be speaking with Igor Kruglyak, who is the President of a company by the name of CoreValue, which is a major Ukrainian outsourcing firm. And today is Monday, March 26, 2018.
Igor, how are you? Welcome!
Thank you, Mike. Thank you for inviting me to your podcast. I’m well.
Great! So, I am curious about your company. It looks like it’s been around since 2004?
Yes, my partner and I started the company in 2004. In 2006 we opened our Ukrainian presence. So, 12 years or so in Ukraine, but the company’s been around a little bit longer.
And it looks like you have offices in major cities in Ukraine and at least one office here, in the US, actually, in New Jersey.
That’s correct. Our US headquarters are in New Jersey, we also have a satellite office in Los Angeles. Over in Ukraine we have 7 locations. Our headquarter is Lviv, our primary offices are in Cherkasy, Poltava, Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi, Ivano-Frankivsk and a small transian office in Lutsk.
Ok, and it looks like you have about 350 employees worldwide?
Yes, actually 360.
Great, 360, you added 10. I was doing a little research on the company yesterday, and it looks like you are considered to be among the top 10 IT outsourcing firms in Ukraine, is that correct?
Well, DOU has us listed (that’s a Ukrainian website that rates companies) in the top 40. We are probably one of the top one or two Salesforce consulting partners in Eastern Europe, but in the top 40 in Ukraine.
So, can you tell our audience a little bit about how you got in into this business?
As you can tell by my name, I am descendant from Ukraine. I was born in Odessa when it still was under Soviet Union. My parents and I migrated to the United States in the late 70’s – early 80’s. I was educated here, in the United States, and for about 20 or so years I have been working in the IT industry before I got exposed to outsourcing. I worked for a couple of outsourcing companies, and then I felt my partner and I could come up with a formula where we would bring the US values, US know-how, US focus on quality to the Ukrainian outsourcing and we started to build a firm in Ukraine.
Interesting. In terms of some of your major clients, I don’t know if you can talk about this, who are the companies you are working with and in which industries around the globe?
Sure. I can’t really publicly disclose some of the companies and some I probably can. So, we work with companies – for our size, that we are very fortunate to work with – a number of Fortune 50 companies, which is unusual, again, for a company of our size, because of our special skills, specifically focused on PharmaTech. These are technology-focused companies that provide technology for Pharmaceutical industry. It’s a highly specialized in growth industry. I would say we are a major player in that space.
We also work with medium-size companies like QPharma, also in that space; and also an interesting company here, in New York, that revolutionized an ordering of fast food industry, for example, by the name of OLO. But, predominantly, we are focused on PharmaTech, Healthcare, Financial services and some specialty where we can apply all our technology and all our know-how and expertise to give our customer value, therefore – CoreVALUE
I am curious about the particular skills that are unique to your organization. What kind of tech skills do your programmers have, that make them special up there on the marketplace?
Sure, we play in all the horizontals that are typical. But what makes us unique is our ability to bring things like Salesforce.com knowledge together with mobile technology like iOS and Android, together with the backend technology like variety of PHP platforms, NodeJS and all the others; as well as automated quality assurance, and wrapped around all of that is our Business analytics and Data science and Project management. We have 60 or so developers that are focused on Salesforce and the rest work in these other horizontals.
And what have been some of the major challenges you’ve experienced over the years in growing your company?
Well, Ukraine is a unique country and certainly working within the laws and tax regulations in Ukraine is a challenge; we’ve been helped by a variety of professionals in helping us be able to fund the operations, being able to build and grow the company. And also recent geopolitical instability, if you will, can certainly have some impact on us, but overall, Ukraine is a highly sought after market, and people, and our customers are very happy that we provide skillset and technology from Ukraine.
What about your competitors? Do you compete with any of the other Ukrainian IT outsourcing companies or it is more competition from other areas of the world?
In Ukraine we generally only compete for resources. There is about 130-140 thousand IT professionals in Ukraine and clearly every company wants to hire the best. Generally speaking, we do compete with companies from India and other parts of the world as we come across projects and respond to RFPs, but generally speaking in Ukraine it’s mostly about resources.
Right. And so, along those lines, how do you actually find tech talent in Ukraine?
That’s one of the reasons why we have 7 offices, Mike. We diversified our hunting field, so that we can look pretty much all over the country, we attract people to relocate to Lviv or Kyiv or we find them locally. Also we run a variety of both camps and training programs. We have something called CoreCamp where we invite people who, for example have one set of skills, to see if they would be interested in being re-trained to Salesforce engineers. So we invest a lot of time and effort, and our management team is very focused on building talent as well as recruiting talent from other companies.
Do you find that the fact that some of the millenials now in the tech field are starting their own product companies, do you find that that’s drawing away some high talent from IT outsourcing?
Yes and no. I’ve been in this industry for a very long time: people grow, people come and people work with you as long as their goals are aligned with yours, and as they a kind of grow into different roles, they leave your organization and they start their own companies or they join others. We focus on what’s in front of us and we work very hard on making sure that our employees have not only financial compensation, but also great workplace environment: extracurricular activities, like soccer and basketball, we’ve been champions of Lviv IT League for a number of years; as well as other things: attending conferences, travelling to customer sites in the US and Europe. But as you expect in the United States and any other place, startups to attract a certain group of people, and we wish them well.
What is about the geographic distribution, going back to the companies that are clients? Are they primarily in Western Europe? Do you have more in the US? Do you have any in Asia at this point?
Well, it’s an interesting question. About 85 % of our business is in the United States. Some of the companies that we work in the United States are global companies and we have a number that use us globally, both in the United States and Europe, for example. If you considered Israel Asia, than we have customers in Asia, but if you consider Israel Europe, than we do not have customers in Asia.
And I am curious about the recent investment: AVentures Capital, which of course is a major Ukrainian venture capital company? What brought that about?
Sure. I would leave AVenture guys, they are not shy and they will speak themselves about why they have chosen to invest, to purchase an interest in CoreValue. The only thing I can tell I’ve known these guys for a number of years, both Andrey Kolodyuk and Yevgen Sysoyev. They have been both trusted advisers as well as industry leaders. I was very excited when they’ve expressed interest in becoming interest-holders in our company and we expect that their guidance and wisdom is going to help us grow to the level way beyond where we are right now.
And along those lines, did you originally bootstrap the company yourself?
Yes, from the very beginning my partner and I used the proceeds of the company we both bootstrapped to fund the operations, we’ve been helped along the way by friends and family, short-time loans, and things like that, but generally speaking – yes.
So we’re almost out of time, Igor, and i wanted to ask you a little bit about the future. Where do you think the company is going to go in the future in terms of skill sets companies you are working with and geographically?
We are executing our plan of being one of the largest independent Salesforce Consulting Partner both in Eastern Europe and we are looking to expand into Northern Europe, and continue to grow in that direction. Generally speaking, as a company, we expect that we will continue to grow at least 30%, maybe more every year, and hope to achieve significant improvements as we go along. Yes, our focus right now is to continue to grow the European portion of our business as we continue to maintain and grow in the US.
Very impressive. So, if people want to find out more about your company where can they go?
They can look us up on www.corevalue.net, we also have CoreValue Facebook page, there is one in Ukrainian for the people who are interested in joining our company as of course as well as the US ,and we are on LinkedIn, and other social media
Igor, I want to thank you so much for your time today!
Well, thank you Mike. It’s been a real pleasure. I appreciate the work that you’re doing in terms of educating the world about Ukrainian IT. Thank you so much!
We have been speaking with Igor Kruglyak, who is the President of a Ukrainian IT outsourcing company CoreValue with development headquarters in Lviv, Ukraine, and also here in New Jersey, and offices in many cities in Ukraine.