Startup Of The Week: Aciety
This week we represent Aciety – the marketplace of top software development companies. It’s based on a search engine and a private curated network of the best software agencies. This startup co-founder and Business Developer Tomas Pagirys reveals all challenges and future plans.
- So what is Aciety? How does it works?
Aciety is a software development outsourcing platform. It helps startups, SMEs and, big companies to find the most suitable software development companies and get the most competitive offers. Aciety unites more than 500 (Eastern) European software development firms and uses its advanced database to bring the top matches.
It works pretty easy. Aciety consultants help clients to specify their software needs and advise them about the best development alternatives. Aciety uses this information and its platform to identify the top matches, approaches the most suitable partners, brings back the most competitive offers and suggest the clients about the best way to go. Once the clients select the providers they want to work with, Aciety introduces them to the vendors. From that point of time, the whole development work is being carried out directly.
- What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
Aciety has clear market positioning. First of all, it’s an outsourcing platform and it does not compete with HR agencies or tools. It provides with dedicated remote teams though. In the outsourcing industry, it does not work with freelancers, so there is almost no competition with such platforms as Upwork.
Aciety competes for clients with traditional software development companies, yet these firms are Aciety providers. The lead exchange program makes them perfect partners rather than competitors. Finally, there is a small number of similar b2b outsourcing platforms like Blurgroup. Aciety’s cultivated lead exchange program and ability to generate leads is a competitive advantage helping it grow.
- What were the reasons for coming up with this idea and launching this product?
We developed two startups before Aciety and software development was always an issue. We also believe that tech makes the world a better place. Therefore we decided to use our experience and to build a matchmaking platform to make sure we help anyone who wants to build more great tech products.
- When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
We started in 2012 with different networks and freelancing platforms and invalidated them. In 2014 we pivoted to a b2b outsourcing platform based on software development companies because this is where a great piece of software development is being executed. We also tried different sales channels before 2016 when we discovered that lead exchange is something which works great for us and benfits our partners most.
Marketplaces have the chicken and egg dilemma, because you need providers to satisfy clients and you need clients to get providers. We solve it by focusing one on target client – a software development company. First of all, it’s a provider of software development services and it brings content to our platform. Second of all, it participates in our lead exchange program, where the providers pass their irrelevant leads to Aciety in exchange for relevant leads back. In such a way, Aciety gets various types of clients from the whole world, yet keeps its commercial focus on one specific channel (lead exchange) and one specific segment (software development company).
- What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
The greatest challenge is the chicken and egg dilemma of any marketplace – the need to attract both providers and clients. Aciety solves it by focusing on one segment – the providers. It uses them as vendors and clients at the same time. The second challenge is lead generation and Aciety solves it by facilitating the lead exchange program. The third issue is operational efficiency and it’s being tackled by developing a custom platform, which is perfectly tailored for software development matchmaking process.
- How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
Aciety has been running an on-going private crowd-funding campaign for several years. It also participates in startup competitions and EU business investment programmes. Currently, Aciety is interested in late seed or early Series A investment (500k – 800k Eur) to scale the operations.
- Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
Aciety has been founded by three co-founders. Aismantas Bulanavičius is a tech and finance guru developing the Aciety platform and attracts funding. Tomas Pagirys is a serial entrepreneur running the commerce part of the business. Dovydas Bulanavicius is the visionary person developing the future strategy of the company.
Aciety has 10 employees, including commerce personnel as well as the tech team.
- How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
Aciety is growing. Over the last 12 months it has achieved.
- Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
Aciety has solid growth plans. First of it’s planning to expand its sales team to drive organic growth. In parallel it looks for VC funding to be able to scale the operations faster. Aciety has specific plans for ICO. From the platform development perspective, Aciety is planning to build an AI-driven matchmaking solution as well as various tools for software development companies to help them maximize the value from the leads they get.
Thank you for the answers!