Interview with Mario Peshev: IT startups are the leaders

By Imane Mdarhri & Yelda Simsek

Managing a startup is completely different from being a business supporter. From defining the problem, finding the right team to do with, sorting out all the logistics, convincing people to join your project, and ultimately to sell your brand you have to be patient, qualified, and most importantly rational/logical to find your way up to the leaders of the market.

1- Tell us about DevriX; what is your role in the company, and what are your daily tasks for this role?

DevriX is a 10 years-old startup with a workforce of around 50 people. We started as a software development company. Then, we involved long-term retainer partnerships.

Being a Chief Executive Officer of DevriX, I refer to myself as a “FireFighter” –  In charge of handling every crisis or challenge. My daily tasks are all about collaboration and participation in the whole managerial process. I work on HR tasks, analyze marketing campaigns, and sign partnerships. 

“The beautiful thing of being a CEO is that no day is not like any other”

Mario Peshev
2- How did DevriX come into being? Was it always your dream?

Back in the day, I was a Software engineer and was  not sure about starting my own business.

Previous to this during my childhood days, I was deeply involved in different local community clubs, student groups, digital networks, and online forums, surrounded by highly-bright enthusiastic people. Then, I had the opportunity to manage various small projects then working as a full-time engineer in Pero. However, following a disagreement on management practices with my previous employer at that time, I decided to try building my own business. Hence, I  took the first step to showcase better management practices, good delegation, and transparency. Furthermore, to integrate with more talented people in the industry.

It mainly started during the previous recession, an opportune moment to try out something new because sometimes, starting at the worst possible time can be encouraging enough to push us harder, to make it better.

“Starting a business is a complete roller coaster”

Mario Peshev
3- What are the main projects of DevriX

At DevriX, we work on contract or service work for our customers and create personalized SAAS (Software as a Service) projects; for example, SAAS BPM. Additionally, we develop business process management for small and mid-size businesses, especially service agencies, where we try to resolve delegation and accountability in the workspace. Another innovative project is WP-CRM. It is a WordPress plugin serving as a Customer Relationship Management System where the company can classify its leads, proposals, and structural papers. Basically, our projects develop business management and marketing-oriented tools,  dedicated to satisfying our needs,  as well as helping other partners. Further, at DevriX, we focus on our customers’ or partners ‘  feedback for motivation to improve in the future.

4- Who are your customers or audience?

Basically, our customers are agencies like DevriX or any other company that delivers services to third-party customers, including SEO agencies, IT companies, or any other startups services. Moreover, we collaborate with companies from other segments as well –  restaurants, accounting firms, also car rental solutions. As our IT solutions efficiency is to organize processes as well as manage recurring tasks, we keep going to vary our clients and expand our audience.

5- Apparently, IT is one of the less affected sectors. How would you describe the prevalent situation?

In fact, the IT sector has not been affected as much by the COVID-19 economical crisis. For example, in California, a lot of IT companies are in better positions. However, many developers lost their jobs even on the big firms there like RBNB, Uber and some top startups had to lay people off due to the crisis. Additionally, certain IT specialists, who work closely with restaurants and hotels for developing software,  have completely stopped their activities. 

At DevriX, we have customers that have suspended their businesses, and others performed ordinarily. Thus, we believe that IT is an extension of all sectors,  be it logistics, airlines, pharmacies,  food delivery,  or e-commerce.  In the end,  the impact of the crisis is still balanced across the sectors.

6- Are there some ideal strategies to deal with the current circumstances? 

From my perspective, the ideal business strategy is to diversify products, services,  as well as strategies. For example, at DevriX, we are a service-oriented startup. So in the current circumstances, we have adjusted our approaches and reoriented towards the pharmacy and the food industries.

On the other hand, restaurants, for instance, may focus on food delivery, online stores, or personalized plates for athletes and take-out menus for families. Also, planning a few online cooking tutorials or daily tips can help.

In short, creativity and diversity are the perfect strategies for long-term success.

7- At LSBC, we consider social media as an essential part of business or marketing strategies. What is your vision?

In the market, some businesses rely on social media more than others. The most essential is to maintain the connection and the interaction with your customers and to keep your brand alive via good content as well as good manners.

8- As an IT startup, how can you evaluate the dominant technology culture? What should we do to develop it or spread it? Who must take such a responsibility? 

First of all, IT is universal, and IT startups are the leaders that are, pushing and bringing innovation. From a simple mouse click to remote access solutions or artificial intelligence,  IT has become a part of our human culture. It can be used for good such as studies, work, research, knowledge as well as for causing harm. So, we have to be responsible and we have to understand that technology is all about how we are going to adopt it as well as how much resources should be invested to use it for good.

9- How do you see the importance of diversity in the workplace, and what are its main benefits?

Diversity in the workplace is a concerning topic that has to be integrated into the managerial strategies of all sectors. Personally, I do appreciate the fight for diversity that brings more power in different segments around the world. I see diversity as a richness of viewpoint that comes from gender, culture, nationality. Furthermore, I insist on the importance of learning about others, understanding them, and sharing good practices. 

Great projects can be started thanks to diversity,  and it should be tried to enforce it in the workplace as much as possible.

10- What do you think would be the biggest challenge for your startup after the COVID-19 crisis?

Talking about the challenges depends on how long the current situation will continue; It is hard to predict. But the good side is that our services are fully flexible also we try to minimize long-term decisions. Yet, recruitment remains still an ambiguous question, between remote and on-site working, as such a decision could affect the whole process. 

“Throughout this COVID-19 crisis, business stakeholders have to stay open and focus on how to turn challenges into opportunities”

Mario Peshev
11- What are the next milestones that DevriX is aiming at?

 Considering the risen number of technology users, we plan to sign up with more publishers and online service suppliers. Also, we are doubling our efforts for making technology better and easier for them. In parallel, we are going to invest more time to develop our current product, especially the WP-CRM, and the SAAS BPM, by involving them in the market as an added value on a remote working basis. Also, we aim to keep running internships and mentorship programs remotely, adapting to the economic and sanitary worldwide circumstances.

12- If you could go back 9 years before when you were in your initial years, what advice would you give to your younger self?

 In the beginning, there was a kind of instability and a lot of negotiations while we were trying to establish our brand. Still, if I returned to that time, I would advise my younger self to focus more on the revenue, no matter the complexities, either selling hosting or launching some products earlier. Mainly, It is about considering the revenue as the core concept of launching the business.

During my career, I worked on multiple other projects.  Considering revenue as the principal goal has been a successful strategy. It makes all the other sub-plans like recruitment or innovation easier and it also presents more business potentials.

13- What could you say for the future business owners, the young professionals, or the students in IT?

Running a business is an exciting adventure to start. Still, achieving success requires further. From my experience, I recommend all young professionals to learn the fundamentals of structural business practices, including accounting, recruitment, sales, and marketing. Accordingly, small groups like startups or NGOs could be the perfect openings for that. Besides habits like commitment, proactivity, responsibility, and hard work are the key to success. Learning by asking the good questions, “how to do what you do, and why” will lead you to self-development and certainly to success. 

“Having an opportunity to learn what you shouldn’t do, helps you to become the good version of yourself” 

Mario Peshev