This is a follow up story for Wolfpack Digital. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 4 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi, I am Georgina (Gina) Lupu Florian, and I am the founder and CEO of Wolfpack Digital, a start-to-end web platform and mobile app development company based in Cluj, Transylvania, Romania. We work with startups, scale-ups, and large corporations to design, develop, and scale web platforms and mobile apps in the fintech, healthtech, transportation, entertainment, education, and beauty tech spaces. We’re called “Wolfpack Digital” because my surname means “Wolf” in Romanian and this gave me the idea for the naming, and we are inspired by the noble characteristics of the Wolf, in its symbolism, in everything that we do.
In terms of more recent news, we’ve just won the European Technology Awards in the App Development category in a ceremony held at the Ritz in Paris at the end of 2021, while our team has grown to almost 80 people.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Wolfpack Digital has indeed grown since we last talked, and some of the web projects and mobile apps we had started working on before for clients in the startup world have scaled beautifully in the past year, meaning that we now have larger teams working on those digital products. Also, we started some new, exciting projects, and have included Walgreens Boots Alliance, or the National University of Ireland, Galway to our portfolio. Most of the new collaborations came through referrals from existing clients. Our marketing effort also brings in some interesting prospects. Since we first talked around 2 years ago, our revenue has doubled.
In the past year, we’ve publicly launched Voxa, which we built from the ground up together with our Romanian client. This is an edtech web platform and mobile app focusing on audiobooks and ebooks, and it’s the first app of its kind for the Romanian market! Other important launches we had last year included Everon, an asset management platform from Switzerland, and ecoXpress, a sustainable delivery platform for the Irish eco-warrior market, including everything needed in terms of software for the couriering service.
Meanwhile, it has become increasingly difficult to hire top talent for web development and mobile development especially, however, we managed to build a solid employer brand, and our team has grown by almost 25% in the past year. It helped that we organized some internships and this made it possible to hire people with the right attitude.
In parallel, we became involved in multiple communities and PR projects, which raised national awareness of our brand. To give some examples, we became partners with Code for Romania, the Romanian Fencing Federation, and we also sponsored Techsylvania, the target tech conference in Central-Eastern Europe, again. This allowed us to have an online booth, but also to organize an on-site physical event at our office in Cluj in September, called “Wine Evening for Mobile App Enthusiasts”. We had a blast and it was a great experience for attendees, we’ve been told!
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
In the past year I re-learned my lesson about wartime and peacetime leadership, and how the team needs to be functional at all times, so although some people shine in tough times while others in growth times, you need leaders who deliver and support teams at a minimum level regardless of the times you are facing.
On the positive side, last year for me was all about learning to scale our business, as we went beyond the 50-60 people threshold, which means the company needed some organizational updates. Given that I had never worked in such a big company before, I had to learn a lot about how to overcome the challenges involved - by making responsibilities more clear for everyone, for instance. The lean mindset also needs adaptation at this stage, as change management becomes more challenging.
An aspect I failed to consider properly at the end of last year was how interconnected today’s economy is, and how even a company in a domain that is currently flourishing (such as ours, in software development), can become affected because of this and get hit by a stroke of bad luck. What happened is that, at the end of last year, two of our clients, who had been affected by the chip crisis, abruptly went into liquidation. This taught me never to take anything for granted and never to rely too much on projections. Your plan B needs to be ready to plug in all the time, as bad luck might come. Due to our coordinated effort, we managed to quickly fill in most of the availability of the team following these two unfortunate events. But you should never say never, for sure.
On a personal level, I started using journaling more, and I think this method of self-reflection is both soothing and valuable.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
In short, I am looking to expand our healthtech & fintech portfolio in the next year, and working on increasing our revenue every year. Speaking of health tech, I am hyped about the holistic approach seen in more and more health tech digital products, which look at our health (disease & prevention) by including the mental health factor too, for example.
You need leaders who deliver and support teams at a minimum level regardless of the times you are facing.
I am also excited to see all the wonderful businesses founded by women I’ve had the chance to meet more and more in the past few months. When I started in 2015 I remember there were very few fellow female tech entrepreneurs out there and it felt a bit lonely, so it’s awesome to see how this diversity will change the tech space in the upcoming months and years, and I am glad to be part of the “movement” (without going into any extreme feminism).
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I loved “Radical Candor” for its motivational take on feedback and on how to tell the truth (or your version of it, at least).
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
If you have a chicken and egg problem and you just feel that you’re going crazy trying to take care of both sides of the story, just pick one and focus on that. For example, if your business is focused on connecting two different target audiences, focus on developing one of the first to a certain degree, while acknowledging that you’ll have to take care of the other one later. It helps with mental sanity and it also has a higher chance of bringing results than being all over the place simultaneously.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes! At the moment, we’re looking for QA Testers, Android developers, a Talent Acquisition Specialist, and a Product Owner. You can apply by sending your resume to [email protected]. The list of available positions gets updated continuously, so you can always check our careers page. We like to say that website, but you shouldn’t worry!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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