How To Hire Developers for a Startup: Interview with DrasticFun CEO
CEO of mobile game development company DrasticFun come to visit his newly hired Unity development team in our office. They had a two – days hackathon devoted to working together on a brand new game, improving communication and team spirit. We decided to ask Roee about Israeli startups, development market and why he decided to hire developers for startup in Ukraine.
Can you tell a few words about your company?
DrasticFun is a hyper-casual mobile gaming company. Hyper-casual is a growing genre of games in AppStore right now. Companies like Voodoo, Catchup, the dominant ones, have hundreds of games in the store. The peculiarity of those games is that they are pretty easy to play, pretty easy to understand, you can download them for free, and they are heavily packed with ads.
The revenue of those games are based on ads. I don’t think that we should lead down into the ads technology and ads industry, but the ad tech world does a lot to make those games successful. So we just launched a company at the beginning of April. We are pretty new.
Is your company a startup?
Yes, we are a startup. We’ve raised some money from private investors already. We are preparing the company for the seed money round at the beginning of October and November.
Why did you decide to hire developers for your startup in Ukraine?
First of all, I know the Ukrainian market very well because I used to have a company here. And we made something that is pretty similar to what Qubit Labs does. I started an outsourcing company for entrepreneurs in Israel around four years ago.
It was after we started with developers from India. It was a big mistake. The communication was terrible. They develop good, but they developed not what we asked them to do. They thought they understood what we are asking for, but they did not. We explained one more time and asked: “Is it clear right now?” – “Yes.” – “Are you sure that it’s clear?,” – the answer was yes. We waited one more week, and they delivered something totally wrong.
Then we moved to another team in India, and it was the same. They just give you the feeling they understand what they are doing and they understand what you want them to do. Somehow they just do it the opposite way.
The prices there [in India] are much cheaper, but I’d rather you don’t pay it. The only way I would recommend to work with Indian developers is to have a local person whom you trust, and an Israeli person who sits with them in the same room and manages them.
So, this is how we started,
then we looked for some other outsourcing services in Ukraine to find developers. This was my first experience of working with Ukrainian developers, and it was good in terms of coding and understanding the specification and communication.
And then my partners flew to Ukraine to visit those companies that made the project for us. When they came back they said, “Alright, we think we need to hire directly developers instead of outsourcing.” So we hired developers who worked under our company. We kept making projects for the Israeli entrepreneurs, but the problem was that the business was not stable. Sometimes we had a lot of projects and sometimes nothing. The cost was constant because we hired in-house developers in Ukraine.
And then we thought,
“Why don’t we offer dedicated teams and address some startups that are looking for dedicated developers and have long-term projects.”
We called it offshore services. Personally for me, it was not interesting. I mean, I started that company with a vision of working with entrepreneurs and creating things, but some time after I found myself making connections between good people and startups. That’s why I decided to start a new startup, DrasticFun.
Why I chose Ukraine to hire developers for my startup? I had a good experience of working with them [Ukrainian developers], so it was an easy decision for me.
I’m sure that a dedicated team model will work for our startup. Earlier we had a developer in Israel, but then I decided to move all development to Ukraine.
Also, Ukraine can boast about strong game industry. Such game dev companies as Plarium, Playtika (those are Israel’s companies) hire many Unity developers, so the market here is well-developed.
There are good Unity developers, better than Israeli ones I think. For companies like yours, there is a huge potential for working with the whole Israel market, and not just with the Unity market.
New startups appear every day In Israel. I believe that Israel is an excellent market for you:
- It’s only 3 hours of flight;
- It’s the same time-zone;
- The tickets are not very expensive.
So why not visit your team?
Would you recommend our company to hire developers for any startups in Israel?
The answer is yes. However, I believe that it would be more comfortable for me to recommend your company in two months, when I will see the results. Right now, my recommendation is based on great communication – not only with the development team but also with all the team. I appreciate a warm welcoming. It would definitely be even stronger recommendation in about two months.
Tips For Hiring Developers and Managing Team
What skills are you looking for when you select developers for your dedicated team? Do you have any criteria how to find a suitable person for your remote team?
Firstly, I look for a great person. Our developer must be a person with a value of trust, sincerity. Secondly, it’s important for me to have a good vibe with a person and to understand if he/she is someone I can rely on. Someone who is not just coming to a day job. Someone who has a sense of responsibility for things that should be done. I need to feel that a developer is passionate about developing games. Only then I check the technical aspects: years of experience in Unity, knowledge of object pulling, and the rest of the list.
Because I believe that I cannot teach anybody to be a person, but I can always help someone with getting technical skills. If I see that the person is really good and he/she has a potential to learn technical aspects, I will hire him/her. If the developers are great at technical things but I don’t have the impression that they are good people, then there is no way that they will join the company.
I interviewed a lot of developers before hiring with Qubit Labs. I interviewed them, they did test assignment, then I conducted a final interview. I never compromised on the value of the person: even when I interviewed developers with amazing CVs, I did not hire those candidates.
It is hard to work with people who have no soft skills, even if they are geniuses. It can ruin a company. Philosophically a successful startup or a successful company is the people. At the end of the day we all are people. It must be fun to go to work and to spend time there, to feel happy and fun. Like DrasticFun.
Do you have your tricks how to manage dedicated team, to run it smoothly and get results? Can you share some with us?
First of all, I use some third-party tools like Trello, Jira, Slack, to communicate and to manage team tasks, to make sure that everyone knows what we are doing and what are our goals.
Another tip is to meet face-to-face. It is always good. I feel the difference that it makes in my team right now. I visited them, and it’s exciting. It’s an opportunity to share some information with a team. It is harder to share via Skype.
I showed them the presentation that I’d prepared for investors. Now they understand more aspects that are related not only to developing or designing, but they also know our business model, market, and the potential we have right now.
It made them more committed to the mission of the company, which is more difficult to explain remotely. It is possible, if you have a clear vision and mission. When employees understand your mission and vision, they feel that they are part of something huge. It will make the difference between the employees who come just to develop and the people who feel the sense of responsibility to make it (vision) happen.
Is your management based on inspiration?
Yes, I believe that being an example for people is great. If I don’t respect them, I cannot expect them to respect me. Respect is just an example. If I do not respect their time – if we set a Skype meeting and I don’t show up – they will learn that it is ok for them not to show up too. It starts with the basics, and being an example to follow is very important for a good manager.
Once we require more developers we will make a video, so you can show it to the candidates. I do believe that the more information people get, the more likely they will apply for a job and join a company.
If interested in the Middle East job market, check out the article about the local recruitment issues.
About Qubit Labs
Hi, my name is Iva Kozlovskaya; I am Managing Partner at Qubit Labs
If you are looking to hire developers for your startup Qubit Labs is a partner that will help you build a dedicated team of developers with any stack. Our main policy and principle we are stick to – to be a partner to our client and work like we are part of their company. In other words – we are always online for you and ready to answer your questions.
If you hire developers for your startup with our help – we will build an exclusive team from scratch that will match your development needs. Developers will work from our office and will be 100% dedicated to your project for long term. You can come and work together with your team here in our office – we provide guest workplace for our clients to make onboarding more effective or for regular visits to your developers.
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