The Benefits and Value of Share Options in Vinted

The Benefits and Value of Share Options in Vinted

The recent business developments around Pipedrive showed how rewarding share options can be. The company reached unicorn status, which became extremely rewarding for its longtime employees – who also happened to be the shareholders.

Imagine sharing the company’s success, as it grows bigger and its shares become more valuable. 

Is this big payday just a fairytale? How do share options work? What is the main benefit of it?

Talking about unicorns, the most successful Lithuanian start-up Vinted gladly agreed to explain how the share options function in real life. They have rather good insights on the matter, as Vinted’s employees have the opportunity to enjoy this motivational benefit. 

 

 

Let’s imagine that you have a new employee. How would you explain step-by-step how Vinted’s share options work? As simply put as possible. 

Share options give employees an opportunity to buy company shares in the future for the pre-determined and heavily discounted price. This right (to purchase company shares) is earned gradually over the period an employee is working at Vinted. 

Each option grant of our employees is reviewed on an annual basis and additional options are awarded for achieving certain milestones. 

As the company grows and matures, we expect the worth of the company to increase as well. The idea is for employees to participate on the growth journey together. Hopefully, at the end, the share price will be considerably higher than the predetermined price. This will then allow our participants to buy low and sell high.

 

 

Company’s growth does not happen overnight – the share option is a long term investment. How much could the Vinted be worth at the moment and how has that changed over time?

You are right, the growth does not happen overnight. That is why many equity compensation plans are long-term, four years and longer, to give employees an incentive to stay in a company for many years. 

However, the terms of the equity compensation plans might not be as important as company culture. In order to be able to grow the company, it is important to promote collaboration and ownership mentality. 

When people with an ownership mindset come together to co-create and work, amazing results can be achieved. For example, last year Vinted became a unicorn with 1B EUR valuation, which was celebrated by all employees and investors. 

In the future, we believe that our teams will grow the company value even more. 

 

 

As we mentioned time, please explain what vesting means? 

Vesting means that options become available to you over time, so you have to work in the company for a certain period in order to exercise earned options.

All option programs are designed with the future in mind – companies want to incentivize employees to stay longer and focus on long-term goals. 

At Vinted standard vesting schedule is four years – 25% of share options are earned on the first anniversary of the grant date, and the remaining balance is earned monthly in three years.

 

Owning shares may come with plenty of financial benefits. Where is the catch? 

With options, high risk comes with high reward. When the predetermined share price is higher than the market price, then your options are worthless. 

Vinted has been around for 10 years and is now an established player in the industry. We are in a sweet spot where there is still a lot of room for growth but, we are no longer a start up, trying to prove our product. 

 

 

How the share options are taxed?  

Taxation varies across countries, however, the truth is that more and more countries try to broaden employee financial participation, therefore, different incentives are being introduced.

For example, the Parliament of Lithuania approved the changes regarding share option taxation this year. The new incentive states that income calculated at the option exercise moment (when shares are purchased for a discounted price) is a non-taxable income if the option is held for at least 3 years. The sale of shares is still a taxable transaction, which means that income received from selling the shares is subject to taxation.

 

One thing is attracting talent, but the other thing is keeping them. Do you see that the share-based compensation package pays off in the long term?

Equity compensation in many cases is expected to lower retention and grow employee loyalty. 

At Vinted we have employees who celebrate their 9th working anniversaries, which might prove the point. 

However, the truth is, that overall satisfaction of employees and their loyalty depends on other things as well – working environment, colleagues, and most importantly – company culture. We promote an ownership mentality which helps us to keep engagement and attract the right talent. 

Share options are an extension of our culture and offer a generous way to reward our employees for their contributions to company growth. 

 

Does it all come down to money or is there another angle of the benefit?

Financial benefit is only one side of share options. For example, Vinted introduced “options for all” to strengthen our culture and show our employees that we treat them as co-owners of the business. 

We believe that our teams feel responsible for the company’s success and our collective mission to make second-hand fashion first choice worldwide. Eventually, their effort will be rewarded by having an opportunity to become shareholders and selling shares to benefit financially. 

 

Join the Vinted team and browse their job openings in MeetFrank recruitment app:

 

 

Becoming a Digital Enterprise Architect Requires Business Understanding: Interview with Jarkko Enden, Head of Technology at Nortal

Becoming a Digital Enterprise Architect Requires Business Understanding: Interview with Jarkko Enden, Head of Technology at Nortal

Developing business-driven ecosystems and enterprise architectures all have a clear objective to make clients’ lives easier and businesses more effective and functional. 

Multinational strategic change and technology company Nortal’s Partner and Head of Technology Jarkko Enden explains why digital ecosystems utilising modern CRM and ERP solutions are a hot topic in IT at the moment and how teams at Nortal embrace it. 

 

Interview

 

Hello Jarkko! Tell us a little about yourself. 

I have 20 years of experience in different areas of software and IT service development. This includes enterprise architecture, full stack development, concept and business development, agile processes, DevOps, software architectures and quality management processes. 

Healthcare is topically my strongest area, since I’ve worked as CTO in a healthcare company. I also have a long background in developing with Microsoft’s tools.  

 

Your role, Head of Technology, covers a wide range of responsibilities. When did you start at Nortal and how does your daily work look like?

My career at Nortal started about 4 years ago, after working in healthcare technology for almost 20 years. 

At that point Nortal had worked with healthcare clients mainly in the Baltics, and my role as a Lead Architect was to kick-start this business in Finland. It was quite a big risk, but during these four years we managed to grow this part of our business exponentially, and currently our teams consist of more than 60 experts. 

Currently I’m the head of our Technology & Business Solutions unit, developing our internal processes and solution portfolio, as well as overseeing the work of various development teams. I also work as an enterprise architect in large digital ecosystem projects. 

 

Nortal in Finland has 4 offices (headquarter in Helsinki), nearly 200 employees and 35 years of history! The company is providing technological solutions and consulting in all domains – healthcare, public sector, industry, enterprises etc.

 

The importance of education is a trending discussion in the computer science sector. Do you think studying is worth the effort for an IT expert? 

I have studied at Helsinki University and have a master’s degree in computer science. 

It is many times said that you really only learn once you go to work. But as a serious IT expert, it helps to have theoretical knowledge to be able to look at the big picture. 

 

At Nortal you talk a lot about ecosystem thinking. What does the notion mean and why is it a hot topic now? 

Basically, this idea comes from the fact that the whole world has gone digital. Nortal’s digital ecosystem approach initiates a shift toward viewing IT as an ecosystem, rather than a simple business function. 

As technology can change entire industries’ business models and create new business opportunities for innovators, IT must become a strategic partner to management and an enabler of business transformation.

For us at Nortal, we strive for long customer relationships. Our aim is to be the enterprise architects of the digital transformation of our customers. We are very much focused on business benefits and tailoring solutions for each customer. 

To put it very simply: IT is not a business unit anymore, but rather an enabler for the entire business ecosystem. It’s quite natural that this is a hot topic in an exponentially digitalizing society. 

 

 

No arguments there, digitalisation is far-reaching and full of potential. What tools do you use at Nortal to make this happen?

Our aim is to utilize the most modern and robust tools available. Depending on the customer case naturally. We want to make sure that our tools and architecture solutions support modern environments and are also future-proof. 

In our customer projects we aim to utilise secure, cloud-native solutions and hybrid cloud architectures. We have deep expertise in all the main cloud environments (Azure, GCP, and AWS). 

 

Nortal values cross-functional teams. How do you implement it in Nortal’s daily life? 

Especially in larger projects our teams are built around business processes instead of technologies, and they are composed of cross-functional experts. In one team you might have CRM and ERP experts, and custom software developers, all working towards the same goal. 

However, certain dedicated projects might have expert teams focused on a specific system, such as CRM. 

At Nortal, we value cross-functional know-how and learning. We have a ‘Friday Techie Show’ for all our developers and IT experts, where people get to present their work and findings to others. 

Also, our Finnish IT architects have their own group, which normally gets together quite often to discuss architecture decisions, technologies and current business topics.  

Our senior architects also typically contribute their know-how for sales activities. 

 

Give our technologically talented readers some tips. What does it take to become an IT architect? 

Generally, a senior IT architect needs to have a good understanding of enterprise architectures, business processes, data solutions, and client communication, to mention a few. Leading architects also need to develop suitable leadership skills, which in today’s working culture have to be based on merits on architectural thinking, and not top-down management. 

The role of a solution architect at Nortal is a very strong and responsible one. Architects have an important role in projects, but they also hold the torch of implementing practices around the organization.  

Nortal is a strong supporter of constant learning and education. We support our employees in applying for certifications in different areas, such as Microsoft Dynamics and cloud technologies. All Nortal group employees are also entitled to use one workday per month for education. 

 

 

What’s hot in the talent market and what sort of specialised expertise are you currently looking for?

CRM is a hot topic right now, especially as part of a comprehensive IT architecture renewal program. CRM, customer relationship management, is traditionally viewed as a standalone sales tool. In the modern world it is actually a lot more than that. CRM (or XRM) is an essential part of a modern enterprise ecosystem. 

Nortal is currently looking for CRM specialists/architects to take part in these ecosystem projects. 

 

Do examples inspire you? Who is your role model or guru if you can say so? 

This is easy! Martin Fowler, who is perhaps the best-known software architecture expert in the world. Among other things, he is considered to be the father of microservice architectures. He introduced innovative solutions already as a young IT guru in the 1990s. He is still a visionary in his own field of designing software.      

 

It’s evident that joy is built into your profession! But how do you take your mind off business? 

I have a passion for music, and I tend to joke that I’m another failed rock star. Back in the day our band was close to making it, at least we thought so. 

I still play guitar in a few bands. Together with Nortal’s Chief Legal Council we have a group, which you can see as the house band at Nortal’s parties.

 

 

Join Nortal’s amazing team! Check out their active job openings:

 

 

The Latvian Startup Ecosystem: A Hidden Gem in the Baltics

The Latvian Startup Ecosystem: A Hidden Gem in the Baltics

Not everyone knows that Latvia is the birthplace of many ‘firsts’ from the first ‘spy camera’ used during the Second World War to the first drone with the “follow me” option. ✅

This Baltic country located between Estonia and Lithuania seems to have picked up its neighbours’ passions for innovation, pioneering ideas, and technology. Recently, its growing startup scene has been attracting more and more attention from entrepreneurs worldwide. 

Latvia became a member of the EU in 2004 and also joined the Eurozone in 2014. Since then, the country has flourished with its well-educated and smart talent pool, vibrant startup ecosystem and low cost of doing business. 🚀

Before diving into what makes Latvia a great place for startups and entrepreneurs of any expertise, let’s have a look at the country’s startup ecosystem. 🕵️‍♀️

 

Introduction to Latvia’s startup ecosystem 

Let’s rewind to 2008 when the economic crisis was shaking the whole world. Latvia is one of the rare countries which recovered from the crisis through entering the startup world. 

According to EU-Startups magazine, “the slump was a turning point for many Latvians to plunge into new ventures and ever since then startups haven’t stopped emerging over the country”.

🥁 Here are 7 facts about Latvia’s vibrant business environment: 

✅ Riga, Latvia’s capital, hosts the majority of the country’s startups. Recently, it has become more popular on an international level as well.

Jūrmala, which is one of the biggest city in the country, attracts startups too.

✅ Daugavpils, a city in southeastern Latvia, is popular in terms of coworking spaces and events. 

✅ The Latvian startup infrastructure consists of 400+ registered startups

✅ Who would not love a fast internet? Latvia ranked as the 10th country with the fastest internet worldwide. Moreover, you can find free wi-fi almost everywhere in the Riga city centre! 

Startup Latvia shares a very interesting insight about why Latvia is a great choice for startups which we will also mention in the following section: as the startup market is unsaturated, you don’t have to be a genius like in Silicon Valley… you just need to be very good. 

✅ Deep tech, fintech, and SaaS products make up the majority of the Latvia-based products (for now!).

 

What makes Latvia a great country for startups?

Before starting this section, we assure you that this will not be a short one! There are many reasons why many startups have emerged in Latvia over the years and why its popularity is ever-growing . 

Christmas in Latvia Latvia in Christmas time – Photo by Daniels Joffe on Unsplash

👉 If you are a startup founder or planning to start one in the near future, you probably know how much it matters to have access to business incubation programmes and support from the government. Well, it seems Latvia has already nailed it! 

In this Baltic country, if you are a startup owner, you can easily have access to one of the diverse range of modern co-working spaces along with many business incubators – which are supported by not only the government but also the academic and private sectors. 

👉 One of the factors that makes Riga’s business scene even more vibrant is that the city hosts a high number of tech conferences such as TechChillDigital Freedom Festival, iNovuss, and Deep Tech Atelier

👉 So, what’s out there for citizens of non-EU countries? If you are one of them, start packing now – Latvia has thought of you too! 

Did you know that a Startup Law has been passed and now, you and your spouse and children can officially apply for a Startup Visa? The goal is to make the country’s startup ecosystem more productive with the arrival of creative entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds and mindsets.

You can find more information about the Startup Visa from Startup Latvia!

Wondering about the Startup Law and the financial support for startups? Here is a couple of points that could encourage you to consider Latvia as your new country of residence: 

➡️ Did you know that Latvia is one of the first countries in the world to pass a Startup Law? Well, now you do! This also indicates that the country has the mindset and openness that every entrepreneur is looking for these days. 

The Law proposes a more entrepreneur-friendly taxation system for startups. So, instead of carrying a heavy tax burden on your shoulders, you can enjoy the advantages of the system in Latvia and put more focus on developing your business.

➡️ There are lots of financial opportunities for startups as well. For instance, Latvia’s Innovation Voucher programme offers up to €25K of financial support to startups. The goal is to facilitate the development of new technologies. 

➡️ You think that’s it, right? But there’s more! The LIAA (the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia) has 15 incubators that support the startups as well as the ecosystem, offering mentor support, development grants and more.

“In the Latvian startup ecosystem, we can see the drive and energy to break through to international markets to be recognized as innovators. Lots of great deep tech, fintech, and SaaS products are built here. We are expecting to see larger investment rounds, exits, and accomplishments as the existing companies mature”.

 Janis Rozenblats

Chairman of the Latvian Startup Association and CEO of Mailigen

 

5 Promising Latvian startups

In this section, we will get to know more about up and coming Latvian startups. 🎊

Founded in 2016, Nordigen offers free banking data and premium insights for banks, financial institutions and lenders. The company works with over 50 global banks and lenders, operating across 13 countries. 

If your expertise is Finance, keep an eye on this promising company and their job openings on the MeetFrank app! 💰

Latvian companies on MeetFrank

Lokalise is a localisation and translation management system that was founded in 2016. 

The company’s expertise ranges from content translation from websites to mobile apps and games. 📱

🎶 Founded in 2015, Gamechanger Audio produces pedals for musicians, which engineers would also love. In their own words, the company is founded by “four friends committed to exploring the uncharted territories of music electronics and creating devices that provide real value while stretching the imagination of both musicians and engineers.” 

Sound like your kind of mindset? Mark their name on your potential-companies-to-apply-to list for 2021!

Vialet was founded in 2017 and is a comprehensive financial management tool

The things you can do with Vialet are numerous, from opening an account to managing your finances anytime and transferring funds. 🤑

Founded in 2015, Atlas Dynamics UAVs is a highly innovative technology company that produces drones with an award-winning aerodynamic design. 💪

The design generates lift and enables increased endurance, speed and weather resistance. If you totally get what that means, you may be a good fit for Atlas Dynamics UAVs!

 

Last but not least

If you want to start and run your business in an EU country, are looking for efficiency and productivity along with a vibrant startup ecosystem, are fond of nature and experiencing 4 seasons, Latvia is waiting for you. 😊

Download the MeetFrank app today and have a look at the openings now!

Good luck in your job hunt! 🍀

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Finland’s capital – the stronghold of innovative business

Finland’s capital – the stronghold of innovative business

No doubt the best known startup hub is Silicon Valley – the place is as famous as Michael Schumacher in Formula 1. Just like plenty of Finnish drivers competed with Schumacher (and won!), Finland’s capital Helsinki is on the top of the game in the startup world and successfully challenges the status quo.

In the sink or swim business environment, the region has quite an opposite reputation. When talking about Finnish startup life, the key elements are supportive ecosystem and attitude of wanting to help each other.

Too good to be true? To find out how Helsinki has grown into an innovative stronghold, we contacted Helsinki Business Hub representatives – the people whose daily task is to support acceleration of business growth in the area. 

 

A lot of cities are telling us that they are the most amazing destinations. However, Helsinki Business Hub is stepping up the game with actually providing a FREE 90-day relocation package, so talent can come and see themselves what Helsinki is all about. How does this opportunity work in real life? Who is the 90 day Finn targetgroup?

Thanks for bringing this up! It’s a fun campaign we launched especially the founders, investors and techtalent in the US-Silicon Valley in our mind. For years, the Finnish worklife has had a strong focus on empowering the employees. This means flexibility with combining work and family, working hours and remote work for example. This model has worked really well for us in Finland. The pandemic was the last push that encouraged us to take this thinking even further. Perhaps work from home could mean work from anywhere?

The 90-day relocation package is limited to max. 15 chosen applicants, but there is a lot of support we can offer to founders and tech talent planning to relocate, starting from meaningful connections and industry specific information all the way to introductions to ecosystem partners. And do note, this offer is available for everyone, with or without application. 

 

Considering relocation or curious about Helsinki job life? MeetFrank recruitment app has now collected all the insightful data and highlighted it on the front page. Still have unanswered questions? Join the community and get advice from fellow users.

 

Now we just have to jump straight to the main question: why should innovative entrepreneurs and curious talent choose Helsinki?

The quality of life is something I can’t emphasize enough.

The winter is slushy, dark and long, and can sometimes get overwhelming, I get that, but click your day light on and listen to the positives: Four different seasons, each with distinct attributes. Clean nature on your doorstep. Fresh air. Safety and trust – for the society, democracy, business environment. 

Friendships that start slowly but are for life. Work-life balance, you can pick-up your kid from daycare at 4pm. In addition to these come the secondary aspects: innovation-savvy society, closely-knit startup ecosystem, strong public support, lack of hierarchies.

 

 

We would gladly avoid talking about C-19 altogether, unfortunately it disturbs our life significantly. How has the pandemic situation affected the HBH? 

There’s a C-19 joke of Finns having difficulties keeping the newly advised 2 meter distance from each other as the distance we are accustomed to is 4 meters…. 

Well, jokes aside, the pandemic has hit Finland as it has every other country in the world. HBH was no exception, we closed our office and have mostly been working remotely since March. As the gravity of the situation became clear to us, we had to rethink ways to support our clients and owners through this period. The usual way of working was out of question, so we have done test runs with different virtual event concepts ranging from Q&A sessions to pitching events. 

The reception has been good. Our highlight of the year, Slush, has in the past years secured its position as the international meeting point for tech innovation and growth capital. So, this year was definitely different with no actual, physical event taking place, but Slush once again was able to nurture the connection between the founders and the investors through their NODE platform.

 

 

It is said that Finland has the most helpful ecosystem for scaling business. What role has Helsinki Business Hub in this notion? 

One of the reasons why Helsinki is great for testing new innovations and scaling up is its size: it’s a modern European capital city, but it’s not too big, just the right size. Finns are tech savvy and interested in trying new things, a nation of early adopters and society built on trust, respect. transparency and low corruption. 

Helsinki region has the most locally connected startup and innovation ecosystem in the world (according to Startup Genome report). Decision makers are relatively easy to approach and open for a dialog, there is low hierarchy and power distance. 

HBH connects foreign investors and tech companies with the key ecosystem players, helps to efficiently launch business in the Finnish capital area and provides quality deal flow from Finland for venture investors.

 

What is the most significant success story of HBH that pops in mind first?

Our work is to promote Finland and the Helsinki region as an investment location, tech hub and a great place to work. Every year for six years in a row Helsinki has attracted most investment projects in the whole Nordics. 

Also positive response and enormous amount  of applications, which we have received for the 90 Days Finn program show that Helsinki is no longer seen as a remote corner of Europe, but is interesting, relevant and appealing to tech talent. 

Our success is defined by the success of our clients. There are many interesting cases, all of them significant in their own way, but probably Muji and Zalando are the names well known to everybody. It’s great to see how Zalando’s office in Helsinki has grown over the years from a small team to the tech hub with more than 100 employees. HBH has been supporting Japanese design company Muji in their flagship store project in Helsinki and in collaboration with the Finnish tech company Sensible4 on the first self-driving all weather bus shuttle Gacha. This was very exciting! 

 

Insightful comments from Helsinki Business Hub experts:

 

You have a pretty detailed insight of what talent needs and companies have to offer. Do the majority of companies prefer remote work (working from abroad) or talent relocation to Finland? 

Panu Maula: This depends on the needs of the company and the situation of the talent. Traditionally companies have tried to relocate the talent but remote working has been around for a while already, especially within startup companies.

Remote work has become the latest trend which comes with its own advantages as well as challenges when the company needs to be aware of the laws and legislations of the country where the person is hired.

 

 

One of Finland’s uniqueness is being the global seafaring hotspot. How is smart maritime and Helsinki connected? What are the growing possibilities in that field? 

Maria Hartikainen: Helsinki region is one of the leading marine technology and maritime innovation hubs in the world. The ecosystem is diverse and well connected – from headquarters of large tech companies like Wärtsilä, ABB Marine, Cargotec and Helsinki Shipyard to growth companies like Norsepower, Iceye, Fleetrange, Seaber and many others. 

Aalto University is one of the best engineering schools in Europe and it has a major input in Finland’s exceptional engineering talent pool. And I’m especially pleased to see more and more women studying engineering, Finland offers great opportunities to build a successful career in tech. 

Speaking about future drivers of technological development in the maritime industry I think biggest opportunities are in digitalisation and sustainability

 

 

It is rather rare that such a company like Helsinki Business Hub is owned by the city of Helsinki. What are the main benefits and goals of that ownership? 

Sonja Malin: There are a lot of cities in Europe that provide support for companies planning to invest in that particular region, however what separates Helsinki from the others, is that the city has a strong vision of becoming the most functional city in the world. Sounds grand, doesn’t it? 

The plan includes a lot of tech, sure, but more importantly it’s about enabling people, the citizens, to influence decisions that improve their everyday lives. This mindset is something that can also be seen in the way the city of Helsinki works with founders. For us working at HBH this is a huge benefit and means we are able to provide our clients an easy access to testing their gear or service, as the whole city acts as an urban platform. A great example is Testbed Helsinki.

 

 

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The secret behind exceptional growth of Teltonika

The secret behind exceptional growth of Teltonika

Teltonika IoT Group accelerates the technological progress in Lithuania by developing unique Internet of Things solutions. With the headquarters located in Vilnius, Teltonika IoT Group has local offices spanning from Mexico to Singapore (27 offices in 18 different countries).

If unaware of the term Internet of Things (IoT), you might imagine it as cat 🐱 videos and memes on the Web. Instead, let’s think about wearable health monitors, pet tracking collars, or any other appliances that are connected to the Internet to make our life easier. 

Basically, the IoT is all around us! It is part of revolutionary Industry 4.0, and it is predicted that half of new businesses in 2020 will run on the Internet of Things. 🔥

Despite the tough competition in the IoT field, the past two years were extraordinary for Teltonika IoT Group, as their workforce grew from 750 employees to 1300. What are the obstacles this growth comes with? How does the company find the top talents and which HR problems they face?

 

Interview with Julius Svagzdys, Chief Corporate Marketer

 

Congratulations on the amazing growth! What does this expansion mean to Teltonika?

The people in the Teltonika company group are the most important business asset. And it is not surprising that workforce expansion, first of all, stands for business acceleration. 

We are very proud of our HR department team who always seek the maximum result and can find the most talented employees in more than 18 operating countries. For us, this first stage of global expansion means that soon we will be recognized as a worldwide leader in IoT technology development. 

Furthermore, we do not intend to stop at this milestone, but we’ll be continuously expanding our team. This is why we have more than 50 open vacancies from engineering to management spheres. It is also a great challenge for our HR development department.

 

What are the main challenges HR department has to face? How have they tackled the growth problems?

Challenges always come together with problems. It means that when your organization is continuously expanding, it opens more business opportunities, but at the same time it brings more problems related to new talents’ acquisition, training, leadership development, integration into the organizational culture, and much more.

The Teltonika company group is always looking for new methods to attract talents through social media, postings on job boards, special advertising, and even other traditional methods, such as recommendations from our current employees. We even have a dedicated team that is working on talent acquisition campaigns on social media.

Another opportunity vs challenge is employee growth and professional development. In every Teltonika company, we offer constant trainings that will reflect career advancement opportunities in the future. In our case, the organization is expanding very quickly, so it is a big challenge to provide every employee with professional trainings. Today we are proud to say that more than 90 percent of our managers started their vertical career paths inside the company.

From our long-term company experience, I can ensure you that the culture of organization influences the performance of new talents. Today in the Teltonika company group we are working in a mutual trust and respect culture. We are not only investing in new employees’ understanding of our organizational culture processes but also doing our best to show how effective it is. Every organization is performing by following a certain internal culture, so it is a huge challenge to show our organization’s cultural path to every employee.

Great workplaces with great culture are more effective and successful compared with an organization without it.

 

 

How has C-19 affected the IoT field?

Covid-19 continues to make an unprecedented impact on our society and the global economy. As a result, the Internet of Things industry was also involved in the consequences of the pandemic. However, this industry is full of undiscovered use case opportunities that Teltonika companies have taken up during the pandemic period. 

First of all, we started our new business niche called Teltonika Telemedic which is now responsible for professional telemedicine devices development. It gave us a chance to start developing professional artificial lung ventilators, proximity solutions, and other useful devices that can help people during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Following this period, we demonstrated that by focusing on the possibilities, we were able to reach more than 30 percent yearly growth and hire more than 300 employees only in Lithuania. And of course, those achievements are the reflection of a great team spirit and significant effort from our employees.

 

 

What is that special something that Teltonika offers to its team members?

Many companies are concerned about the side environment or activities that help to integrate the organization internally. All of this is really important, but during the COVID-19 pandemic period, most employees are working remotely, which requires a new employee integration strategy. 

As we all know, a good team spirit and the environment that promotes well-being are the key elements for employee engagement with a company. However, another necessary element that builds integrity within a company and increases employee engagement is exceptional challenges.

Let’s imagine that everything you are doing is about innovation and different ways of helping people. I personally believe that such exceptional challenges are definitely one of the most convincing arguments for choosing the Teltonika company group. Today we are performing in 5 different technology spheres, and you can become a part of various projects such as e-scooter sharing devices, insurance telematics, development of medical gadgets, and professional networking device programming.

 

Teltonika seems to be very good at educating the community as you are investing into, not one, but two educational programs. Could you please tell us more about the Teltonika IoT and B2B Academy?

We believe that professionalism is the main criterion of building exceptional IoT devices and directing them to the right client. This is why we are taking care of our employees’ education from the very first days. 

As a result, we have successfully launched IoT and B2B academies that are taking care of our youngest employees who are learning about IoT technologies and professional B2B sales. 

Right now, we have 5 operating academies in Kaunas and Vilnius which have successfully trained more than 500 students. 

The IoT academy offers 8 different technical programs that help students to obtain more knowledge about IoT devices programming, supporting, designing, and more. 

Whereas the B2B academy is an exceptional project for students who would like to challenge themselves in professional sales. Our main value is to help the people and by supporting our academies, we are helping students to make their first career step.

 

You mentioned that Teltonika has plenty of open vacancies. Where could one reach out to you if they wish to join your team?

Now we have open positions for PHP and front-end developers in our brand awareness department. If You are looking for an opportunity to show your programming superpowers, just let me know!

 

 

And finally, what is the most useful IoT gadget that you use in your daily life? What IoT appliance (that is not made yet) would you like to use in the future?

Nowadays I cannot imagine flexible connectivity without Teltonika Networks equipment which is traveling together with me and keeping all my gadgets online wherever I go, from home office to the holidays on a boat. In the future, I will definitely use one of our upcoming smartwatches detecting atrial fibrillation.😄

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

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

Just 20 years ago Jüri Tarkpea, now the VP of Platform Engineering at Fleet Complete, had a software company in a small Estonian town called Tartu. Their one-of-a-kind GPS tracker first caught the eye of Skype founder Toivo Annus and just 3 years ago the whole business was acquired by a huge global player Fleet Complete. Talk about a success story! 📈

Fleet Complete is the global leader in providing IoT solutions with the goal to reduce waste around anything that involves vehicles 🚚.. As their product falls on the B2B side, the wider audience might not be aware of all the Fleet Complete devices that surround us. But be well assured, they make our daily life a lot easier. 

According to Jüri, Fleet Complete is like a fox 🦊  agile and adaptive to every situation. Small enough to be flexible and fast. Big enough to serve huge global partners.

Read the interview to find out how the team gets stuff done and how they work with influential clients like Ford, AT&T and many more.

 

Interview

 

No mission statement is better than an insider giving us the overview of the company. Please tell us what does Fleet Complete do? Where could one find your product?

Essentially, we have two core values that we provide to our customers. 

Firstly, reducing waste around everything that involves vehicles and other assets of a company. In addition to that, we also try to maximize the benefits that come out of these assets. Usually, it involves location tracking. 

Location visibility is the cornerstone of our service, because once you get to the location, you can do business calculations, maintenance reminders and all sorts of reporting about anything related to the vehicles and assets. So, what we really do is help fleets thrive. 

 

What exactly do you mean by “fleets”?

In our case they are bicycles, cars, heavy trucks, helicopters, boats and everything in between. If one knew where to look, this is exactly where our products are to be found — attached to all sorts of vehicles. Of course, in reality there are few who know where to search. 

In fact, as we operate on the B2B side of the business world, the knowledge about us in general public is not high at all so that sometimes even the employees of the companies that use our products don’t know about all the systems we are providing them. They might know that some devices are being used but not if they are provided by Fleet Complete or somebody else. 

We look at it as a good thing, after all, one of our ideals is that we take away the problems, not replace them with new ones. In that sense, being unknown is a really good thing — because everybody remembers troublemakers.

 

What is your career story in the company? How did you find Fleet Complete or how did Fleet Complete find you? 

My career started almost 20 years ago as a developer with two friends. At the time we had a little software company in Tartu with a few map applications. There was one specific app that allowed one to see one’s location on an old soviet military map, using GPS trackers. At that time, it was a unique offering. 

What is maybe interesting to mention is that Toivo Annus, the founder of Skype and one of the first business leaders in technology, used to have a hobby for off-road vehicles’ orientation back in 2004-2005. People who drove those vehicles started buying the software to know where the bogs and trenches are and this is how Toivo found out about us. 

One of the companies he had invested in was Oskando which was focusing on GPS trackers´ hardware, so at one point it was only natural that he came to us and made an offer to merge.

Following that, we expanded to Baltics and found the first resellers in Eastern Europe and Nordics. Then we merged with a Danish company and we started growing bigger than just a Baltics’ company. 

Three years ago, this whole thing was acquired by Fleet Complete and today I serve as the Global VP of Engineering. I think that most of the people working in the Estonian office today are on the same trajectory of one day contributing to this company and team at the highest possible level. 

 

Wow, that’s one interesting journey you had! What is the common value that connects different international experts in the team? 

“Getting stuff done”. In the corporate environment it can be really hard to maintain our own face and the personal style of communication. 

Luckily, I believe that we have managed to do that. We are not afraid to express our opinions and we all bring our best to the table for the mutual goal of getting stuff done. So, I guess it is the common mindset that most connects us. 

 

During these unprecedented times, how are things going with Fleet Complete?

When the first wave of COVID hit, very soon after, we started breaking many monthly records in sales. Our products and services proved to be extra valuable during these unprecedented times when life needed to become more digitalized in order to minimize physical contact between people. 

So, the year has turned out quite well. In fact, so well that we have started a new hiring cycle to keep up with the customer demands. 

At the same time internally, we switched to remote work mode from day 1 without any impact on the business. So, we are very flexible and allow everyone to decide what is the best working setup for them. Also, during that time we were offering virtual workout sessions with coaches on wellbeing as well as physical exercise. 

While the company’s headquarter is in Toronto, Fleet Complete has 12 offices all around the world. Picture from Tartu office opening.

 

The company is rapidly expanding and Fleet Complete just opened a new office in Tallinn. Congratulations! Who are you looking for to join the team?

Indeed, thank you! 

As I mentioned earlier, “getting stuff done” mindset plays a big role in our company. Therefore, we are first and foremost looking for people who align with that mindset. 

In addition to that I want to say that we have seen too many success stories over the years of people who on the paper should have not been hired but aligned with the mindset, had grit and have now achieved great things. 

Working in a company that is growing that fast is not always easy. It means that we also look for people who are searching for professional challenges. We do not have the luxury to decide everything for our employees, on the contrary, we are counting on them to make up their own mind and in case of urgency have the confidence to make the decision on their own.

If you are looking for professional challenges, share the “getting stuff done” mindset and are ready to take the lead when needed, we are a perfect match.

Specifically, we are looking at the moment: mobile developers, QA engineers, full-stack developers, UX lead and many more. Feel free to join the team:

 

 

You said that switching to remote work happened rather smoothly. Do you have any secrets on how you did that?

We support productivity. You should work where you are the most productive, be it the office, home or remote office — it doesn’t matter. 

In addition to that I believe we are a supportive bunch that want to achieve great things and to have fun along the way. 

Also, the self-development aspect is worth mentioning. During a short period of time you can see the strengths of each employee and we try to play on their strengths, we try to encourage their personal growth. From a materialistic perspective, our employees can choose their work equipment. We don’t offer golden laptops, but we’ll do as much as possible to help our employees to be more productive.

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! To end the interview, we’ve got 5 rapid-fire questions to you.

 

If Fleet Complete would be an animal, what animal would it be? 

A fox, because of agility and ability to find solutions. Adaptive to every situation. 

 

What is the best thing that happened to the whole team this month? 

Excellent question! We just launched our next generation web platform product for retail customers of AT&T of US.  

 

Who is Fleet Complete’s biggest client in the world, in Estonia?

AT&T globally and Eesti Energia in Estonia.

 

What’s your favourite part of your current job? 

Never had a boring day.

 

What do you believe is the biggest strength of your company right now? 

Small enough to be agile and be able to execute rapidly. We are also big enough that we serve as partners for world’s biggest car manufacturers (Ford, General Motors, Daimler, Mitsubishi) and telecom companies.