Today we have selected Piotr Całka to take his interview. He is the CEO of iLabs Group.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
Covid-19 times are a little stressful at the beginning. A few of our clients decided to freeze projects. But shortly all projects have started again, and we have risen our sales.
The most impact on our business was unterminated payments, so we had to rise our backup capital to cover all employee’s earnings and investments on time.
The biggest challenge was at the beginning of the pandemic. After a few months, we saw that our business is doing quite well, especially when comparing it to other sectors.
Based on the situation, we decided to start helping companies that can’t continue selling products at physical stores and can continue operating as web stores. We established cooperation with a few partners (ex. legal company, shipping company) to create a special package of WooCommerce store, legal documents, and discounted shipping rates to help companies move online.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded or joined this company?
I joined it 7 years ago. In that days, iLabs (formerly Inspire Labs) was a small software house. During the next years, we’ve created lots of software products, websites, and stores. We’ve grown our developer’s team.
We have diversified our business by investing in other sectors like travel, publishing, and ready-to-use WordPress themes & plugins.
Now we are working on converting our structure to holding iLabs Group. We believe this will help us to create new products more efficiently.
How does your company innovate?
Our strategy is to grow by the diversity of investment. Our main business operates as a software house. We’re looking for opportunities to create innovative software products, and we’re open to starting new projects/companies in cooperation with our clients, partners, and employees.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
When developing programming services and creating products, we often make difficult decisions related to the level of investment. We finance the current operating activities with the provision of services, and the products are our investments.
We have learned in recent years that it is essential to decouple product development from service activities quickly. It is important to choose the moment when the separation will occur, as it means that the product must start financing itself quickly.
We have also learned that acquiring working products increases the chance of building a mature product faster. Doing so requires more capital for the acquisition than organic growth from scratch.
In this model, we took over the WordPress themes store, operating under Asi Themes and the Mazury.com.pl portal.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We select tools that allow us to communicate effectively and keep flexibility in our day-to-day operations. We were prepared to change the operating model and switch to 100% remote work. We did not have to change the tool we were using before. We have always acted flexibly and adapted to market changes.
During the pandemic, we increased our investment in building brand awareness. We have created a team that competes under the iLabs Twist Racing brand in the RallyCross Championship, and we’ve supported a team of cyclists competing in MTB marathons.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
We have no main competitors as a group. Our subsidiary companies have competitors in their industries, but thanks to the diversification of business, we can minimize it as a group.
Diversification of activities is, apart from flexibility, one of the most important aspects of our operating model.
A few days ago, two companies from the ILabs Group were awarded the Business Gepardos title, which confirms that our business decisions stand out positively against the background of competitive companies.
Your final thoughts
Thank you for the invitation to the interview and the opportunity to share the experiences of the iLabs Group. I keep my fingers crossed for the development of The AdReview website.
- Spokesperson: Piotr Całka
- Company: iLabs Group
- Website link: https://ilabs.dev