Tips to open an Ukrainian development company!
If you are a digital agency, a well backed startup or a venture fund with added value, you might be thinking about augmenting your in-house Silicon Valley team with great folks out there… Say, Eastern Europe. You might have got good feedback about freelancers and dev shops from Croatia, Poland, Belarus or Ukraine, you probably had the experience of working with them, and now is the time to step in the game and open a Ukrainian development company.
I’ll tell you about the laws, rules, names and tips based on my experience and social connections. In fact, Lviv is a booming IT-hub of Eastern Europe with thousands of dev shops situated here. If you ever come to this great city, try delicious coffee made in dozens of cozy coffee shops.
Depending on how quickly you want to set up the dev centre, your sequence of steps would change. For a start, I would advise you to hire your first employee as early as possible before you are opening an office, and this employee would be:
Executive Assistant: The one who will do market analysis and research, establish the first useful connections, go to the city hall to ask around for various benefits they provide for IT companies etc. Further down the road, executive assistant might head the development centre.
Such role would be a great opportunity for a season recruiter who is looking for steep career growth and new challenges. For you this would mean ability to hire your first developers fast due to prior recruitment experience and rolodex.
Best way to hire for a Ukrainian development company is with the help of two websites:
Their basic packages go free of charge, and you can upgrade for privileged and promoted postings.
It’s worth mentioning that software developers in Ukraine live and breathe by developers.org.ua, or dou.ua – a website that includes blogs, companies listings, reviews and feedback, polls and ratings.
Dou’s founders also spun off a separate venture – the anonymous job search website for developers djinni.co, where you might try to hire a developer for a part time job and see if it would turn into long term employment later.
Set up the local legal entity for Ukrainian dev centre
Speaking of legal entity set-up, there are a few options possible. Firstly, you might want to open fully operating local subsidiary which would hire developers.
Second option is to hire developers directly to your main company. Meanwhile, you’d set up a separate company here in Ukraine which would provide office rent and additional business services to your developers.
Developers are oftentimes hired in Ukraine as contractors.
There’s a special form of soul entrepreneurship in Ukraine which is actually used by specialists like developers, and it’s called SPD (or subject of entrepreneurial activity).
Find the office
When it comes to opening a Ukrainian development company, there’s plenty of choice in terms of renting, and you might want to use one of the local brokers. I had great experience with Duo Com. They are local, seem to be the biggest fish on the local market of Lviv and have got quite a few agents helping you find the space of your dream.
Depending on your demands, your office would cost you:
- $5/sq.m. on the outskirts,
- $10/sq.m. within 5 km of downtown,
- $15-20/sq.m. if you’d like to go for a fancy one right in the downtown.
Integrate into ecosystem
IT business is all about connections and relations, and once you become a player of Ukrainian IT job market, you’ll only benefit from getting to know local clubs, communities and groups to join.
Benefits of such connections would be in experience exchange, sharing or referring deals, and just good company for whisky (I’ll mention a couple of good places further on).
Lviv IT Cluster is the biggest association of IT companies in Lviv. All the big players in this business are the members of Lviv IT Cluster.
IT CEO Club – quite informal club of CEOs who meet once in a while in smaller groups to drink whisky, tea or anything else and have informal report or presentation by one of the participants. Deals and teams are being actively shared between the club members. You can apply through registration form, as well as by contacting Club’s coordinator Natalia Veremeeva.
Lviv Startup Club is run by my friend Rostyslav Chayka. He runs dozens of events per year, and sponsoring one or a few of them is a great chance to get in front of the vaster audience of developers.
You can find talent for your Ukrainian development company from these major educational institutions:
- Lviv Polytechnic University.
- Lviv National University.
- Lviv Business School – post-graduate business education.
The latter is a good place for likeminded people, especially from IT, to meet, get education and do ventures together.
Your impression of Ukraine
You’ll have good impression of Ukraine, I believe. You’ll encounter many open people, who are easy to communicate with, as despite some small cultural differences they belong to the European culture. You’ll be able to find good personal approach, very inexpensive food and services.
I can tell you! You can have a 3-meal lunch in an Italian cuisine restaurant for $10, average massage will cost around $8 dollars, and a morning espresso with croissant for $3.
You will be impressed with Lviv’s architecture which is rather similar to Vienna.
You’ll be able to rent an apartment in a beautiful ancient building with high ceilings in the city centre for around $700 per month. $4-5 dollars is maximum for a taxi to get to any point within the city, even with VIP class cars – corresponds.
You might come up against a rather common challenge, I think. Although Ukrainian developers are super technical and analytical, grasping the business goals and client’s environment will be an issue unless all is clearly defined in the documentation. Well, I might be exaggerating just a bit. At the end of the day, extroverted developers all over the world are considered those who can look at their counterparts shoes, not their own.
But before you are ready to invest in setting up your own development centre, I’ll be able to help you allocate a local development team here, just let me know. I’ll be your personal consultant on Ukrainian outsourcing.
Author bio: Ihor Pidruchny, Founder and CEO at Letzgro (http://letzgro.net/), a leading offshore web and mobile development shop in Eastern Europe. Just in four years, he was able to grow the company from 5 to over 50 skilled professionals offering their expertise in video streaming software development, complex web projects, iOS and Android mobile apps, to name a few. Ihor is also a co-founder of numerous startups bringing tech companies to life using his skills in business strategy, technology development, marketing and sales, key partnerships etc.