In January 2020, our Chief Operating Officer – Vladimir Simeonov, stopped by Business Daily’s TV studio to talk with host Dimitar Vouchev about IT outsourcing, current tends and diversity in the industry.
What is Minds Technologies?
Minds Technologies is a software company founded in 2014. We’ve grown a lot over the last few years, and now we work with some of the most popular companies in Europe.
We know people are crucial to every business – especially ours. That’s why we set out to seek the best IT specialists to help us improve the businesses of our customers.
We take pride in employing a diverse team of exceptional minds. Each member has their own hobby, beliefs, skillset and knowledge.
Our team is a central part of our company. They are actively involved in the decision-making processes. By asking them for feedback on a variety of challenges, not only do we see they’re happy to engage, but we also gain a lot of unique and valuable insight on their part.
This diversity of perspectives enables Minds Technologies to constantly evolve. But more importantly, it helps our clients become more successful.
What kind of services do you offer?
We focus on dedicated and on-demand IT outsourcing services as well as custom software development and quality assurance. Our first clients – eBay, PayPal and British Gas – gave us a chance to provide them with top-notch IT services. We now have dedicated teams, who work exclusively for each client to help them diversify risk and give expertise on their business problems.
How does a Bulgarian company get to work with such huge names?
There’s always a little bit of luck. But it’s also far more than that. We got to work for the biggest and greatest thanks to our team’s knowledge and expertise. In addition, the founders of MINDS Technologies have been in the IT industry for the last 15 years, which always works to our advantage.
What markets do you focus and operate on? Is Bulgaria one of them?
We offer our services globally. And in order to do that, we needed to expand by setting up international offices. First, we opened ones in Sweden and Serbia, but we soon realized we also wanted to tap into a bigger talent pool.
That’s when our Serbian office gained significant importance, as we started to employ several developers there. It was the next logical step for MINDS Technologies’ international expansion. As a matter of fact, Serbia’s IT sector today is where Bulgaria’s was a few years ago. This means there’s huge potential for development. We’re focused on facilitating this growth by finding and training the best talent in the country.
On a side note, Bulgaria has positioned itself well on the global IT landscape. We see a flow of foreign investments in the country, accompanied by the eagerness specialists have on improving their skills and the IT services we offer.
And finally, although we’ve had Bulgarian clients in the past, we’re not focused on the local market, but we truly believe in the world-class talent here.
What about your clients? Is there a certain niche they specialize in?
We have a very diverse set of customers, so it’s very hard to narrow down the exact type we work for. The companies that use our services operate in different industries, including health services, dental medicine, banking, etc.
I suppose this is a valuable opportunity for your employees. They must acquire industry-specific expertise while working on a project.
Yes, this is true. Our team often consults clients as they walk in the same shoes together.
What was the hardest part in building a company like Minds Technologies in such a competitive field?
Some would assume that’d be competition, but MINDS Technologies feels it’s helped us grow as a team and an enterprise. However, our current most significant obstacle is the scarcity of labour force. This urges us to establish different ways in fining top talent, as well as training and developing the specific skills our company needs.
Unfortunately, Bulgaria’s IT labour market is very limited – only 70 000 people are employed in the sector, and only about 30 000 of them are highly trained developers. The rest are involved in all other supporting and administrative activities in IT.
Given that fact Bulgarian companies have a very limited talent pool to choose from, combined with the market being very small, how do you make a venture like MINDS Technologies successful?
I wouldn’t say Bulgarian companies have a small market. After all, nothing and nobody stops us from finding clients globally. The whole world is a market for Bulgarian companies. What’s more, foreign investments helped us gain the confidence to go out and establish partnerships with global companies. There are so many examples of that, especially in IT.
It’s the labour force limitations that are challenging. That’s why companies are looking for talent in neighbouring countries like Serbia and Northern Macedonia.
For some reason, we tend to give the term ‘outsourcing’ a somewhat negative meaning. But given the recent trends, is it bad for Bulgaria to be an outsourcing destination?
Absolutely not. I suppose this negativity comes from the past when there was a common misconception Bulgaria was a ‘cheap’ destination for doing business. That was more than a decade ago and it is simply untrue today.
We offer our outsourcing services on a very competitive price for the whole European market. Our value today is far from cheap. Bulgaria isn’t recognized as ‘the cheap’ outsourcing place, but rather as ‘the highly qualified’ destination. A small set of services will continue to keep their lower price, but it’s other factors that play the major role (like taxes, cost of living, etc.).
Let’s focus on the future. How does it look for MINDS Technologies?
The future of MINDS Technologies is diverse. We’re happy that 70% of our employees are women, which is outstanding in a male-dominated industry. MINDS Technologies has grown significantly over the last few years and the credit for this goes to women too. Equality and gender-parity is something the whole sector can benefit from.
Additionally, creating a flexible workplace and encouraging work/life balance are important pillars of success for every modern company. We’ll continue giving freedom to our team members. We don’t want them to have a typical 9-to-5 job. We’d rather have them come outside of rush hours, for example, and we’d encourage them to adjust their work scheduled based on family time and other appointments. We know this makes them feel better, less stressed and more satisfied, which significantly increases their productivity.
And last, but not least, MINDS Technologies will continue investing in exceptional minds.