This is a story about the dream and the way taken to make it come true. Three years ago, two twin brothers, Vasyl Khmil and Volodymyr Khmil, decided to found a company, which would produce awesome projects and ideas never seen before. Read on, to find out how the story started and how company NerdzLab appeared.
Why have you chosen IT as your vocation? Why have you decided to found your own company in the end instead of applying to one of existing companies as far as there are numerous successful IT companies in Lviv? Wasn’t it scary?
Volodymyr: While studying at high school, we had a precise image of who we wanted to be, which was programmers. Thus, we didn’t even check out other options. However, we were quite scrupulous choosing the spheres to learn as well as checking the relevance of them for that time. Therefore, Vasyl started as an iOS developer while I cracking a C++ rock.
And that is when we faced the problem of how complicated it was for a C++ developer to find a first project as there were very few of them. Well, there were some, but those were rather big projects which would never be trusted, entire or in parts, to a small young company, not to mention a single person.
So, I made a decision to change the sphere of work and tried myself out as an Android developer. I had worked a bit in the field, but, not having found a satisfying job, I switched to iOS as well.
So we started intensively grow our technical expertise, and looking for any opportunity how to get our first project and start a desire dream come true.
Vasyl: While studying at university, Volodymyr and I were working in a big IT company, however we were quick enough to understand that it wasn’t our cup of tea.
We were willing to found our own small company with a friendly team and fascinating projects. That was a good trigger for conscientious learning, experiments and, of course, searching a reliable team. Although we knew it wouldn’t be easy, we decided to give it a go.
We had to work really hard. We added self-employment to our studies at university and the job we had at that time. Volodymyr had signed up to UpWork and soon the projects started to come. Simultaneously, we had launched the process of gathering the team and soon we registered our own company called Bindex. Together we were developing our UpWork account, understanding that to make it work it was necessary to start small, i. e. working for free. For our first paid project, we earned $15 for around 700 hours of work. That was already something which ended up being another trigger to work. Every and each, even the smallest, project was of great value for us in the term of both experience and self-development.
What was your first team like?
Vasyl:There were seven people in total. They were our friends who are still a part of the team. We are childhood friends, you know, those who usually go to the same school, even the same class, do the same work… Thus, we have many more things in common except our job. Those are memories, interests and even dreams. It was a smart decision to start from scratch side by side with time-tested people. However it was both easier and harder than to work with a team of complete strangers. On the one hand, we trusted each other and knew that whatever happened, we would find the way out. On the other hand, the responsibility we felt was extreme, which, fortunately, resulted in diligent work on a project.
What was the reason for changing the name of the company?
Volodymyr: Although, Bindex seemed to sound impressive, it wasn’t about who we were. We were young with an entire life ahead, so we were striving for something more simple and more creative, but still understandable for potential customers and future colleagues. We had been pondering the name for a while and NerdzLab was the one which, as soon as it sprang to mind, made us more than just satisfied. Because those ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’ ready to conduct experiments in a so-called ‘lab’ are we. We are the ones, who are ready to work conscientiously on even the most difficult tasks as well as solve them. This is our goal, loved by each of us.
How did you understand it was high time to quit the stable job in the big company, rent an office and become self-employed?
Vasyl:Well, there was no choice. The thing is that big projects appeared and we had to sacrifice. We quitted the studying for the Master’s degree. But it was worth it, we have no regrets. Companies, which had been five so far, had loads of cons, which we knew, our own company would never have initially. That time we decided once and for all that we would never neglect deadlines and there would never be such a big turnover.
The desire we had was creating a team which would value those principles and would be getting on even more than well. As to the Master’s degree, that was a dead end. We didn’t get anything which would be in any way useful for work, so the decision was unanimous, and the time, we ended up having on our hands, we were spending for self-education and working on projects, getting essential experience. The priorities were set and they were set right!
The first projects were being worked on in cafes, coworkings and soon in our so-called office, a rented small room with a table in the middle, which was hard to be called an office. But everything big starts small.
Volodymyr: At that moment we began feeling confident in our own abilities and in our own team. We applied for a big project, then rented a bigger comfortable working place, which became our first real office two years ago. There are big terrace and, what is the most important, everyone has working space. That is how the company was finally born, and which now comprises 29 awesome nerds.
How have you been looking for people for the team? What are the main points you pay attention to while hiring new people?
Vasyl: Our company is a family. That is the main criterion. Looking for a new employee, we start from questioning each other whether there is somebody. A friend or an acquaintance, appropriate for a position. Frankly speaking, this is a genuine key to finding really cool people, who we are working now with. However, there are some more things we take into account when a new employee comes. We just need to check if this person is one of us. Although technical skills are important, we always pay attention to the sense of humor, stress-resilience and desire for self-development. The last is probably paramount as we try ro promote this in every possible way.
Three years have already passed from the day you founded the company. Almost three years ago you made the dream come true. What is your vision of our company? Share your plans for the future of NerdzLab.
Vasyl: This is a good team of professionals who have great prospects. All three of us are good mentors for our guys. We are developers from Toptal, we have a lot to teach those who are interested. Many resources are invested, so that we, together with our people, can produce a qualitative product.
Volodymyr: In the close future, we will continue to work successfully on the mobile stack and will actively develop the web. Also, we are planning to launch our own product, as well as expand our staff up to 50 cool developers.
Nerdzlab is a human-driven company that professes a religion of the Scandinavian management model. We do understand that employees willing to do their best when surrounded by passion, curiosity and driven by their project in an inspiring workspace.
Fresh ideas, new technologies, and opportunities to use them. The ability to create truly valuable products – that’s what inspires our team. With extensive experience in startups and growing products, we are always open to new approaches and technologies. Anyone can create something own and cool here and we will take care of a supportive environment.
So, we know that NerdzLab has a big future.