Facing hypergrowth with Kilo.Health

Facing hypergrowth with Kilo.Health

Every now and then, a start-up goes into hypergrowth. Kilo Health is the perfect example of this by more than doubling both the revenue and size of the team in 2021, with similar goals for the coming year. Of course, hiring at such a rapid pace means a lot of thinking about how to scale the culture of the company.

This is why we were excited to interview Juste Vižinytė, Chief People Officer at Kilo Health. We asked her about the thinking behind “spoiling the employees” with perks and benefits, why they discarded all rules regarding the working location, and much more!

 

🔵 Before we get to the exciting growth story, could you please explain what Kilo Health does? What are your most popular products, who are your clients, and where are they located?

Kilo Health is one of the leading digital health and wellness companies in the world. We’re also among the fastest-growing health tech companies in Europe with 500+ employees. Our headquarters are in Lithuania, but we also have offices in Berlin and Kyiv.

We have plenty of well-performing products, from mental health apps to weight management programs. We’re also providing tools to prevent, manage, or treat various health conditions, focusing on developing chronic condition management products.

Some of the most popular products include:

  1. Klinio – for diabetes management 
  2. Sensa – for mental health and wellness support
  3. Cardi.Health – for cardiovascular health
  4. Keto Cycle – for keto-powered nutrition
  5. DoFasting – for following a healthy intermittent fasting routine

Our largest market is the US, but other English-speaking countries such as the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, also play a significant role. Other important markets for us include Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian countries. Anyone who wishes to have a better, healthier lifestyle might be our client. 

 

🔵 Thinking about Kilo Health, the first thing that comes to mind is explosive growth. Could you give some insight into how quickly your business is accelerating?

Both the team and revenues are indeed growing at breakneck speed. We have hired 365 new people in 2021 so far. Next year, we plan to double our revenues, which already means generating a nine-digit revenue in 2022. 

 

 

🔵 How is the size of the team holding up?

We’re facing hypergrowth. Every week, 4–10 new people join our team, so you can imagine the challenges we have. We put a lot of effort into the first onboarding day so that new hires may experience our culture and meet as many colleagues as possible. Still, the most important factor is how they feel during the first few months.

Additionally, we want to create a supportive, inviting, and challenging environment that keeps people working with us for a long time. That’s why we’re expanding not only the talent acquisition team but also hiring people responsible for motivation and personal development. 

We don’t want to simply grow our teams, but to make sure that everyone who already works at Kilo Health is happy and sees meaning in their work and our mission. This is the only way to push Kilo Health to the next level.

 

 

🔵 Facing the hypergrowth of the team, have you opened any new offices lately, or have you opted more for a hybrid or remote work approach?

We have surveyed our people and learned that there is no one-size-fits-all option. As a result, everyone now works the way they want – anyone can find a place in the office, but if you prefer, you can work from anywhere in the world. We certainly do not apply strict rules.

One of our core values is ownership, freedom and creativity so each employee can make their own decisions on how and where to work – you do you, as long as the job gets done. Still, we try to make our offices as inviting as possible, so that more people want to come and work from there. We have offices in Vilnius and other Lithuanian cities, as well as spaces in Berlin and Kyiv.

 

 

🔵 With the team constantly expanding, high-performing employees should have good options for career growth. Could you share some stories of rising employees inside the company?

We try to help our employees grow by acquiring additional skills and promoting people from within the company. We create authentic leaders because Kilo Health’s culture is unique. Also, it is really valuable to train our existing employees for higher positions because they already know our culture.

An excellent example of this is one of our first teammates Kristina Zalnieraite who joined Kilo Health as a nutrition specialist back in 2018. Today, she is the Head of Nutrition and Wellness with 15 nutrition experts, dietitians and fitness consultants in her team.

Of course, we are always looking for external talents to join the ranks of our leadership team or as senior specialists. This ensures that we broaden our horizons as a company and soak in the best practices from different industries.

 

🔵 Even among startups, Kilo Health stands out for an extensive list of perks and benefits. Could you highlight some of them?

We just opened our new office, and we can call it Disneyland for our employees – we will have a massage parlour, gym, a bar, and just about anything you need to stay healthy, happy, and inspired. One of the recent must-haves is flexible private health insurance – as a company that works in the wellness industry, it was a no-brainer. We also provide 5 additional days off whenever you need it, workations, and all the learning opportunities you want, among other things. 

We don’t think the fridge full of food, a taxi budget, or a game room is a perk. It’s just a part of creating an inviting environment and allowing some time to recharge and rest. We focus on making sure that employees’ ideas are heard, the work is challenging, the teams are inviting, and our people can ambitiously grow together with the company.

 

🔵 What’s the philosophy behind “spoiling your employees”?

If you love your teams, they will love their work. If you give your heart to your colleagues, they will share theirs.

 

 

🔵 If MeetFrank’s monthly leaderboards are any indication, Kilo Health is unquestionably one of the hottest Lithuanian startups to work for in 2021. How much interest in the company do you see among candidates?

We need to headhunt people like everyone else, but I think it is a bit easier for us at this point. We emphasize our culture and hire based on cultural fit and expertise.

We have already reached our yearly employee hiring goal for this year. We have a diverse group of colleagues – from Kyiv or Berlin to the Philippines or the UK. All of them provide Kilo Health with a diverse and global mindset. 

 

🔵 Kilo Health has a particular company culture, amplified by prominent employer branding. In your opinion, what kind of qualities should the person have to fit into the team?

We look for people with a heightened sense of ownership but are also free, positive, straightforward, ambitious, flexible, fast, agile, and have a good sense of humour – those who wish to grow together and push the company to become better. 

 

Check out Kilo.Health’s open positions on MeetFrank:

Or view all openings.

 

🔵 And finally, where do you see Kilo Health in the next few years?

Kilo Health was founded to design the most engaging and effective digital lifestyle interventions that lead to a healthier life by preventing, managing, or treating various health conditions. Our vision is to become the No. 1 digital health company in chronic condition management globally with the steady and constant growth we’ve maintained so far.

 

How to look beyond the local talent pool

How to look beyond the local talent pool

Hiring is currently a red-hot subject in almost any industry, but even more so in the IT sector, where there never seems to be enough talent. Finnish tech companies are therefore looking beyond the country borders to find a sufficient number of specialists.

That’s where Wefind IT comes into play with its hiring solutions geared towards attracting technical talent in the Eastern European region, especially Russia. We interviewed Mikhail Kotsik, Technical Director, and Ainura Kiviniemi, Head of Sales & Marketing, to find out how they can help with building remote product teams or relocating talent to Finland.

 

Interview

🔵 The shortage of talent has paved the way for many freelance, remote, relocation or nearshoring service providers. How does Wefind IT fit into this picture? What services do you offer?

Ainura: In short, Wefind IT offers comprehensive HR & recruitment services for Finnish companies looking for IT talent. We feel that we are an exact solution to the ongoing hiring problems in the IT industry, especially when a company is open to working with English-speaking remote engineering teams.

Our motto is “We bring international IT talents to you!” and that is precisely what we do. We have built a talent pool across Eastern Europe, working in software development, cloud consulting, and data engineering. Our services include hiring these specialists for part-time and full-time positions, subcontracting project work, IT consulting and direct recruitment.

 

 

🔵 From which countries does Wefind IT search for talent?

Mikhail: We have recruiting partners in Russia, which is a breeding ground for top professionals, but we do not necessarily limit ourselves geographically.

 

🔵 Do you focus more on providing talent for temporary (project-based) or permanent positions? How about relocating talent?

Ainura: We always tailor the recruitment solutions to the client’s needs as hiring challenges are never alike. Our focus is on providing full-time specialists for remote/project-based positions, but this might not always be the best fit. For example, to boost internal communication, some employers only hire talent that can participate in team meetings in person. As a full-service recruitment provider, we can help clients in those situations as well. 

A significant factor is what candidates we manage to attract for a given position and whether they prefer to work remotely or can, in fact, travel or relocate to Finland. To summarize – both options are possible. We serve the client based on their needs and candidates we can find on the market. 

 

🔵 How long does it usually take from contacting Wefind IT to finding suitable candidates?

Ainura: On average, the search for talent takes about 2-3 weeks, but the record time for finding a suitable candidate is only a couple of days. The timeline mostly depends on the required seniority – highly qualified specialists are more likely to need headhunting as they usually don’t look for new opportunities themselves.

When looking for a specialist, we utilize our significant proprietary talent database, consisting of experts we have already worked with before. Additionally, we publish the vacancy on the leading job boards in the region & on social media, with our in-house HR manager helping to sort the candidates.

 

 

🔵 Mikhail, let’s talk a bit about your talent pool’s technical qualifications. Does Wefind IT cover all the prevalent modern technologies? What are the most requested skills from your clients?

Mikhail: I think it’s important to distinguish between the most popular and most requested technologies. Modern technologies are not always among the most requested from clients.

Usually, the best developers spend a lot of time pursuing excellence in modern technologies. They also invest a lot of time to keep their knowledge up to date. So it is usually much easier to find a developer proficient in a fancy modern technology than an expert in a legacy enterprise solution. 

In most cases, we successfully find the requested developer. But it’s important to keep in mind that some skills are more popular than others between talents. The most popular technologies at this moment probably don’t come as a surprise: Java, PHP, GoLang, React, ReactNative, VueJS, and AWS.  

 

🔵 How do you screen talent’s technical skills beforehand? For example, do you have technical assignments?

Mikhail: We always follow the clients’ standards for technical assignments, as the developers become part of their team. So we cover all assignments and interview rounds the client requires to make sure the candidate is indeed a good fit for a position. 

However, I want to stress that ideally, the hiring process shouldn’t take too long in the current market conditions because developers sometimes get 3-5 offers at once. The faster employers have an advantage.

 

🔵 What have been the most complex projects that Wefind IT has carried out?

Mikhail: I believe that with a correct process, everything is possible. So far, the most complex project has been creating a team from scratch for a huge banking project at the intersection of cryptocurrencies and the modern banking system.

 

 

🔵 What recruitment trends currently have the biggest impact on your operations?

Mikhail: The coronavirus and continuously growing need for IT specialists forces companies to rethink their work arrangements. They have to adapt to remote work, which certainly is a positive trend from our point of view. Also, the Finnish educational system clearly doesn’t satisfy the market demand for technical talent, and it’s unclear when the situation will improve.

Ainura: When talking to the clients, it sometimes feels like all senior IT talents are already working for the biggest IT companies in Finland and enjoying comforting salaries with great company benefits. As a smaller tech company, it might be difficult to compete in that environment. However, smaller players still need the same level of professionalism to develop their products or lead their tech department. This is where we can help by pitching the employer to our senior specialists.

 

🔵 Based on your experience, is it challenging for employers to start working with international talent? For example, companies might have to deal with translating all the documentation into English.

Mikhail: Seriously, the only problem is time zones. 😉 I think keeping technical documentation and comments in English is a widely adopted best practice by now. It is mauvais ton to have comments in the local language. Of course, it goes both ways, so we have also implemented a professional-level English test in our recruitment process to verify talents’ abilities.

 

🔵 If everything sounds good so far, where can you learn more about Wefind IT and how to get started? 

Ainura: The easiest way to learn more about our services is to look at our website. Additionally, you can send us an inquiry via email or LinkedIn.

Starting the process is easy and risk-free. Initially, we map the hiring requirements with the client. After we have completed the talent search, we present the client a multitude of options. We use a success fee pricing model for worry-free hiring – this means the process is entirely free of charge until the client finds and hires a suitable candidate. 

 

Bringing Silicon Valley to the Baltics with Httpool

Bringing Silicon Valley to the Baltics with Httpool

Httpool is a media company acting as an extended team for top media social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In recent years, the company has been growing at a speed that could make start-ups jealous.

We chatted with Robin Conley, Regional Marketing Manager and Oksana Adaskevica, Regional HR Manager Baltics, about their unique position in the advertising ecosystem and the many career opportunities working in a thriving global company presents.

 

Interview

🔵 How would you describe Httpool to people outside the firm?

Robin: Httpool fills the niche between advertisers and global platforms. The advertiser could be of any type: small or large business, start-up, agency. And platforms are Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other major media platforms. Httpool is between those two sides. 

On the one hand, we are partners to the major media platforms by representing their sales interests in regions where they don’t have an office. At the same time, we also consider ourselves partners for the advertisers because we help them get the most out of the platforms and grow their business.

 

🔵 So not just another media agency?

Robin: Definitely not. I can understand why it might be confusing because traditionally, agencies are middlemen. People see that Httpool is between advertiser and platform and assume we fill the agency’s role, but it’s a very different relationship.

For example, Facebook hasn’t opened an office in Tallinn, and it’s unlikely they ever will. That’s where Httpool steps in – Facebook calls us ASPs or Authorised Sales Partners. Our role is to give advertisers in the region the Facebook experience in terms of consulting them, educating them and making sure they get the most out of the platform with each campaign.

 

🔵 What’s the scale of Httpool right now in terms of territories, offices, and clients? How large are you in the Baltics region?

Robin: We have over 35 offices worldwide at the moment, but I think nobody really knows the accurate number anymore as it grows constantly. (Laughing.) However, if you look at our parent company Aleph Holding Group, which also contains IMS, Wise.Blue and Social Snack, then we are present in approximately 90 markets worldwide. So it’s quite a lot. 

Oksana: And in Baltics, we currently have 100+ employees, but the number is growing every week. So far in 2021, we have hired 50+ people just in the Baltics, and we still expect to increase this number by the end of the year.

 

 

🔵 Robin, when did you join Httpool? What attracted you to jump on board?

Robin: I’ve been here for one year, but it feels like five due to the number of projects and the sheer amount of learning.

Before joining Httpool, I had worked in a media agency for several years, and the work I was doing was fairly steady. So I just felt a need to enter a new environment that was very dynamic, fast-growing, international and exciting. Httpool certainly fits that description. The company is growing and evolving all the time, so there’s a lot of opportunities to take advantage of. You are trusted to tackle new projects with great responsibility, which makes the learning curve really steep. And that’s great!

 

🔵 Did you have any doubts regarding the company or the team? How has it worked out so far?

Robin: No, I didn’t hesitate, partly because I was already in the headspace that I wanted to take on a new challenge. But also, I met Arnis Ozols, the Regional Managing Director, before joining the company. I really liked his style and attitude – he’s got a very entrepreneurial spirit, and he’s also supportive and trusting.

 

🔵 You have worked in media for a long time – How’s Httpool different from an agency in your experience?

Robin: It’s a lot different. Httpool is in a very neutral position in the advertising ecosystem as we partner with the platforms, agencies, and advertisers all at once, allowing us to search for win-win-win solutions.

We don’t have a separate fee for advertisers to use our services – If a client uses Facebook ads and signs up for Httpool’s consulting and expert opinion, they are still only paying for their ad spend. So we can be very open and transparent about what’s best for advertisers.

 

 

🔵 How much do you get to collaborate with Httpool’s different regions around the world?

Robin: I am working with different countries and regions every single day. The marketing team is considered a centralised unit in Httpool, so my colleagues are in Austria, Slovenia, Dubai, Russia and India. Many of our meetings are online, but when COVID passes, there will be travelling involved too. For example, I have weekly calls with our group’s CMO from New York, but next month I’m finally meeting her in person.

Some jobs are more local, of course. People who consult local agencies and advertisers are still mostly working on the local level. Internally, however, Httpool is very much a global environment.

 

🔵 What new challenges and opportunities does the company’s striking growth trajectory present to you personally?

Robin: By working in Httpool, you are always part of the building process. We are growing so quickly, still building our teams, expanding and restructuring all the time, which means you get to create many of the processes as you go. You’re not just riding the rocket ship but also building it as it’s flying up into space. It’s challenging at times, but mostly really exciting because it’s not very often you get to put your opinion into building a major company. 

Another cool thing is the relative importance of the Baltics inside the company. On a world level, our region is quite small, so usually, the Baltics are not prioritised strategically by global companies. Or somebody from a head office somewhere forgets to budget your country’s media spend because it simply didn’t enter their mind. (Laughing.)

In Httpool, it’s the opposite – The Baltics are a significant part of the business, and we are setting up global teams right here in the Riga office. So you have the opportunity to spearhead global processes from here.

Oksana: Baltics is indeed one of the strongest and biggest regions in the whole Httpool, and we’ve had the privilege to establish a hub here in Riga for several global teams. And I agree with Robin that every employee has the opportunity to contribute to building the processes at Httpool. I think it’s a great opportunity and challenge for everyone to be part of building something from scratch.

 

 

🔵 How is the vibe inside the company with fresh team members joining and projects steadily getting bigger?

Oksana: There are very positive vibes in the team, and it’s really a lot of fun. We love what we do and do what we love. Everyone is very passionate – this is something that unites us.

Robin: I don’t know if that’s part of Oksana’s hiring process, but she’s managed to hire people that are not stiff corporate types but are very personable and easy to get on with. 

But I think that in general, people who enter advertising and marketing really tend to want to work in this area. Additionally, working in Httpool is a deliberate decision as people want to collaborate with the big platforms. People don’t end up here just by chance. So you get very enthusiastic personalities, which leads to a lot of productivity and new ideas. For people that want to achieve something, it’s a very fulfilling environment.

 

🔵 Do you plan to slow down your hiring rate any time soon?

Oksana: No, no way! (Laughing)

 

🔵 What are your hiring goals for the next 12 months?

Oksana: We don’t have an exact number yet, but I expect to expand our Baltics workforce next year by at least 30% as we are expanding all our teams.

 

Check out Httpool’s open positions on MeetFrank:

 

🔵 Who would you encourage to apply to work at Httpool?

Oksana: People who are bright, smart, passionate, keen to learn and develop, positive, full of energy, creative. People who are ready to work with top digital experts, learn from them and become top experts themselves.

Robin: People who have a deep interest in digital marketing, and also some experience and success in this area, would love to work in Httpool because you’ll be challenged. And you’ll be working on a global scale. And you’ll be at the forefront of innovation, working with some of the most influential platforms on the planet. If you’re interested in digital marketing and think global, you can certainly go global with Httpool.

 

Top 10 Most-Read MeetFrank Interviews (2021)

Top 10 Most-Read MeetFrank Interviews (2021)

We have interviewed a lot of great companies & people over the past year. Companies ranging from consultancies and corporations to unicorns, each of which has its unique story to tell. There has been an equally diverse set of interviewees, from CEOs to CTOs, and, of course, many people from Human Resources. ✌️

Which interview has been the most interesting? It’s hard to tell definitively, but here are the top 10 most popular articles, ranked by the number of readers.

 

#10 – Evolution


We kick off the list with one of the most technical interviews we’ve ever done – a conversation with Juris Krikis, Scala and JavaScript Department Lead. 🛠

If you are into software engineering, then the interview is a blast: We discuss the main benefits of using Scala, transitioning the codebase into a new language while the system remains in production, and the best way to learn a new programming language.

👉 Read the full interview

 

“Scala leads to better code and happier developers” – Interview with Juris Krikis, Scala and JavaScript Department Lead at Evolution

 

 

#9 – Supermetrics


We chatted with Supermetrics in the autumn of 2020, right after they announced a blockbuster €40M Series B funding round. 💰

The interview with Viivi Marttinen, People Operations Manager, went deep into their recruiting process, including how they find the best candidates & convince them to join the company. Also, we touched on the set-up of the HR team and how remote work has changed the way they operate.

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview with Viivi Marttinen, People Operations Manager at Supermetrics

 

 

#8 – Kevin


kevin. is a fast-growing fin-tech from Lithuania with the utmost flexibility in terms of working time and place. 🌍

Agnė Meškaitė, their Chief People Officer, explained how kevin. focuses on results, not on hours spent working, and how they set up their organization to fit every employee’s individual flow and peak productivity hours.

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview with Agnė Meškaitė, Chief People Officer at kevin.

 

 

#7 – Fleet Complete

 

Jüri Tarkpea shared his 20-year career with us, culminating with the opening of brand new development centres in Tallinn and Tartu.

From using a soviet military map to track off-road vehicles to selling his company to Fleet Complete and becoming a Global VP of Engineering, this has been quite a ride. 🚗

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Jüri Tarkpea, the VP of Platform Engineering at Fleet Complete

 

 

#6 – Brella

 

A candid conversation with Hanna Kontinen, Head of Talent & Culture at Brella, about their progress in diversity and inclusion. 👣

By creating a diverse environment, they aim to unlock innovation and allow for more unique ideas. But what KPI-s to track? How to include these ideas in the hiring process? And why should companies stay humble while discussing D&I issues?

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Hanna Kontinen, Head of Talent & Culture at Brella

 

 

#5 – Nord Security

 

Nord Security began inside the Tesonet accelerator back in 2012. Now the company has nearly 700 employees and 15 million users worldwide. 🔥

In 2021, Nord Security stepped outside of Tesonet and started building separate company culture and employer brand. Karina Dirvonskienė, Head of HR, talked about the opportunities and challenges that followed this decision.

👉 Read the full interview

 

Nord Security – Building a leading cybersecurity company

 

 

#4 – Smart Brands Lab

 

Tomas Unikauskis, CEO of Smart Brands Lab, opens the world of micro-brands for us. 🔎

We talk about their proprietary niche brand scoring algorithm that identifies the new target products and how they manage their five existing niche brands. Also, can a micro-brand sometimes be too micro?

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Tomas Unikauskis, CEO at Smart Brands Laboratory

 

 

#3 – Fortumo

 

In the summer of 2020, the news broke that Boku will acquire Fortumo for up to 40M euros. 🤝

Fortumo’s excellent team was mentioned as the main reason for the deal, so we naturally wanted to talk with their Head of HR, Signe Virolainen. How do you create a culture that is worth tens of millions?

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Signe Virolainen, Head of HR at Fortumo

 

 

#2 – Vinted

 

The 2nd most popular interview is about something boring that just might make you a millionaire one day – share options. 💸

Vinted helped to explain it once and for all: How do they grant the options to the employees? How long is the vesting period? What is the potential upside? Are there any risks?

👉 Read the full interview

 

The Benefits and Value of Share Options in Vinted

 

 

#1 – Bolt

 

The most popular interview of the past year was written right when dark clouds caused by the pandemic started to clear for Bolt. ☀️

In addition to the insight into the company, Nikolai Kabatsikov, Head of Talent at Bolt, also offers timeless advice on building a LinkedIn profile and getting hired to a fast-growing tech company.

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Nikolai Kabatsikov, Head of Talent at Bolt

 

Interview with Mindaugas Šipelis, Head of R&D at Ovoko

Interview with Mindaugas Šipelis, Head of R&D at Ovoko

As the economy’s strain on the climate has become unsustainable, new business models emerge with the emphasis of producing less and reusing more. Take Vinted, for example, a second-hand clothing marketplace with over 45 million users. Ovoko brings this revolution to the most unexpected of places – the used car parts industry. In Lithuania, they operate under the brand RRR.LT.

The industry has its unique challenges but is no less significant in bringing the world closer to the circular economy and ultimately tackling the pressing environmental challenges. To move their industry forward, RRR.LT develops advanced technology, including AI, computer vision, automation and analytics solutions. Their Head of R&D, Mindaugas Šipelis, talked to us about how they streamline the scrapyards’ workflow and raise the customer experience with tech.

 

The Interview

🔵 To start at the very beginning, what business problem does RRR.LT solve? Who are your customers?

RRR.LT is an online marketplace for used car parts, serving customers all across the European Union and beyond. 

We innovate on a historically very undigitized industry, illustrated by the fact that 90% of used parts for sale are not available online. Our goal is to provide a frictionless purchasing experience for customers and open new market opportunities for our suppliers.

As a marketplace, we connect both sides: sellers and buyers. We currently have 780 suppliers on our platform – scrapyards, dismantlers, recyclers. They are crucial to us because the marketplace wouldn’t have any inventory without them. And the buyers are both regular car owners and car repair workshops.

 

 

🔵 So basically, RRR.LT takes a very undigitized industry into the 21st century?

Buying a used spare part before RRR.LT was complicated, even if the part itself was as good as the new one. The customer had to find the correct scrapyard, book an appointment via phone, physically drive there and figure out if the spare part fits your car. It might take multiple days to get the component you need.

On RRR.LT, you simply have to insert your car model, and we show you the complete list of available spare parts from our sellers with photos, descriptions, quality information, etc. You can order the spare part in a matter of clicks, and if it doesn’t fit, return it free of charge. So yes, in short, we are trying to offer this service as it should be in the 21st century.

 

🔵 You talked about how you make buyers’ life easier, but how does RRR.LT benefit the suppliers?

Historically, selling used car parts has been a very local business, but our marketplace allows suppliers to reach more potential customers and create more value. Sellers benefit from better service and customer support that boosts buyers’ confidence. Finally, they also gain access to market data to make informed business decisions about what cars to buy and dismantle.

 

 

🔵 Great, let’s move on to the innovative technical solutions. How have you applied computer vision in your business?

We have over 3 million different spare parts on the platform, each uploaded individually by our sellers. To list a new item, they have to pick it up on the scrapyard, recognize what part it is, inspect it, write a description and take photos. This process is quite time-consuming and requires a fair amount of detailed knowledge of the spare parts.

Our computer vision product is one way to speed up the process. When you open the camera inside our app, our technology recognises the spare part and prefills as much information about it as possible.

 

🔵 How did you design the product from a technical standpoint?

Reading the spare part number could seem like an easy task, but there are some tricky elements. At first, we had to build an enormous database of images of spare parts and information about them. Our advanced artificial intelligence model trains the computer vision product based on this dataset.

Also, we had to solve some challenges that are more specific to car parts. Sometimes, there might be a lot of technical information on the label of a spare part, so you have to find the correct number. Or in the case of plastic spare parts, the part number is usually imprinted, which makes identifying it with computer vision very difficult, as there could be lighting issues or unexpected shadows. Our model is already advanced enough to recognize these cases.

 

🔵 What’s the accuracy rate for recognizing the part number? 

Accuracy is quite satisfying already – about 80 to 90%. We count the accuracy with all the edge cases where even humans can’t read the part number because it’s worn, dusty or rusty. Our model is sometimes still able to detect the number, so I think we have great accuracy.

Of course, the more popular cars have higher accuracy rates than the less popular ones. Also, it depends on the quality of the image and the specific spare part.

 

🔵 How far have you developed the computer vision product? When can customers start using it?

We currently run applications in the testing environment, but we’ll make them publicly available soon. Initially, it will enable our suppliers to list the spare parts on the marketplace faster, as discussed earlier. In the future, we would like to make it available to the buyers as well. If some part of your car breaks, identifying the correct component without technical knowledge is strenuous. Our computer vision product can help with that. 

 

 

🔵 I understand that in addition to computer vision, you have engineered a semi-automated photo booth. How does it work exactly?

Computer vision product solves one step of the identification and listing process, but we are thinking about our suppliers’ entire workflow. There might be hundreds of thousands of spare parts in the warehouse, but as long as they sit on the shelf, the chances of someone buying them is very low. 

Our conveyor project helps to speed up another step of the listing process. We custom built a machine that, in addition to identifying the spare part with computer vision, also automatically weights it and takes photos and measurements. We developed this product to be very user friendly, even if you are not very familiar with spare parts. As a supplier, you merely have to print out the label for the product and wait until someone purchases it online.

 

🔵 And this also aims to solve the supply problem, to get more inventory to the platform?

We currently see that uploading new products is a bottleneck for us: Although you can already sell spare parts internationally with our platform, the uploading process still relies heavily on manual labour. We try to provide our suppliers with the technology to make it faster. Another benefit for us is that we get way higher quality images and more structured data.

 

🔵 How much quicker can a person upload the products to RRR.LT with the conveyor?

If we compare it to the suppliers with the quickest upload speed today, this solution will be at least 3-5 times faster. But for those who are uploading the products at a slower pace, this might be up to 10 times faster.

But actually, we are doing two things at once. As mentioned previously, considerably higher data quality is an additional benefit on top of the faster process. The photos will have a higher resolution and better lighting, and the item’s description is always correct and structured.

 

 

🔵 And finally, analytics! I assume that before RRR.LT, the data about the used car parts market was challenging to find or maybe didn’t exist at all?

Yes, data and analytics are essential for us. Without the data, we couldn’t be so confident in what we are building. Currently, the scrapyards are working from their experience, but we have the data to detect trends in the car market. For example, if some car brand’s sales rise, then we know that some years down the line, the demand for spare parts will also grow. 

Another example would be unmet demand in the market for some car brands. We can find those opportunities from the data and point them out to our suppliers, who can fill the gap and make good margins. The opposite also might be true – if there is already a lot of inventory for some models, then we can tell the suppliers that it’s not realistic to sell that many items.

 

🔵 What’s the long-term vision that you are building towards with all these new products?

Excellent question! We could change the customer experience for both sides in only a few years by bringing advanced digital technology to an industry that has never had it before.

The big vision for the future is that we will conserve resources by producing fewer new car parts. Instead, we can increasingly learn to reuse things. It will be even more crucial in the future, considering the environmental challenges we face. I think that reusing car parts will become the new normal and the customer’s first choice. By extending the usable life of the vehicle parts, we step closer to the circular economy.

 

🔵 Let’s jump to another subject for the very last question. You simultaneously develop both physical and digital products, including AI solutions. Does it get difficult to cover all these technical areas at once?

Yes, it’s actually very challenging to combine the different technologies. We need very high competencies on all fronts. For instance, developing hardware could look straightforward at a surface level. But when you start analyzing your specific use cases, drawbacks in the existing solutions become apparent, and you have to rethink and redesign everything.

So it is very challenging at times, but then again, we are the R&D team, so complex technical challenges are our bread and butter. Of course, it’s only possible if you have a highly competent team.

Check out Ovoko’s open positions on their career page.