Success Stories From the Baltic HR&ED Tech Accelerator: Vectorly
Baltic HR&ED Tech Accelerator continues the acceleration program for HR-Tech and Ed-Tech talents. Throughout the 8-week program period, we will be sharing the interviews with participating startups that not only present their concept but also share the ambitious plans for the future.
The product-market fit & value proposition week is highlighted with an incredible story of Vectorly that makes learning processes as a part of your workflow. Find out more in the interview with the Co-founder & Growth lead of Vectorly — Chongkal Seng.
What is Vectorly?
The name of Vectorly comes out from the word Vector because we help all people in a company to move in one direction and feel a personal impact on team growth.
How did we come with this idea?
As a team, we worked for five years together, starting from building the simplest WordPress websites to complex enterprise software. Historically, we worked on EdTech products of different kinds, and in 2017–2019 we were working on HiPo: a gamification-enabled HR system as a technological partner of a well-known retail HR expert used by Russian subsidiaries of Samsung, Philips, and Coty.
The beginning of Vectorly concept
By the end of 2019, we thought that the idea of systematically developing skills of IT teams is even more important today due to the market overheating and developers mindset, who value impact over money. So we started researching how teams around the world manage learning and growth of development teams, and this is how Vectorly was born.
The idea of Vectorly came to us in August 2019 when I and Irina were in Lisbon. We were exhausted by developing HiPo, which seemed cumbersome and hard to use because of many features building one after another at a crazy pace of non-stop development.
However, we still loved the idea of learning and growth, and suddenly we started to discuss user experience, which we have embodied in the prototype interface.
For half a year, the idea laid on a table waiting for the whole team to be ready for the challenge. By the end of 2019, we decided to give Vectorly a shot.
A brief summary of market you work in
Vectorly works on a competitive corporate EdTech market that got serious attention due to existing mobility and social distancing issues caused by the COVID-19. We primarily focus on IT teams because it’s unique in terms of speed of knowledge and skill change of employees, and we want to differentiate from competitors who position themselves more generally.
There is a great proverb: If you want to go fast — go alone and if you want to go far — go together. Education is a sphere to go far together, it is complex and long-money compared to other markets, but that has much more impact on the quality of life of every person.
All our founders are life-learning practitioners: Irina and Me were political science students with analytical careers, who then switched to design and programming. Alisa, our Design Director, was a chemist, who switched to design. Also, Alexey, our CTO, came from robotics to software development.
It turns out that the main problem of Education is a huge gap between market needs for skills and the ability of the education system to adapt fast, and considering the IT-sphere the problem is more dramatic because of the speed at which skills and knowledge get outdated.
Competitive advantages of Vectorly
We cover the whole process of team learning and growth as career paths, skill management, knowledge management, reviews, action plans, and performance tracking.
This is how easy and simple it is to use Vectorly: 1) Select a skill board template or create your own from scratch, then 2) invite people, 3) make a review, 4) analyze results, 5) create an action plan & repeat!
It takes 3 to 14 days to deploy Vectorly at a team of 30 people. Compared to HR software of that complexity it usually takes months to deploy.
The idea behind Vectorly is to adapt to any company stage. If you are a startup of a 30-people team, it is unnecessary to have a grading system. However, when your team grows from 30 to 150 people in 2 years, you need grading and more complex reviews. Currently, teams have to switch from different platforms as the peopleOps change, we build Vectorly so It can adapt with the company.
Knowing that complex HR software doesn’t work without extensive consulting and setup procedures, we’re unique with our flexibility and modular structure.
Meet the team of Vectorly and their story
It is actually a long story how we have met but starting from the very beginning, I met Alex at high school when I and a couple of my friends rallied for his school president campaign “Integration for all.”
At university, I met Irina, who is now our CEO. After two years, when we had graduated, we decided to start Picasel, a design agency of that time, and I found out from Facebook that Alex was looking for a part-time job. We reunited again!
In the three years, we grew to 20 people in the software shop, which has seriously upgraded from design agency to product development production. During that time, Alisa and Askhat, Arthur, Yana, and Mikhail joined us.
Alisa Smelkova |Design Director
Irina Seng |CEO
Alexey Olkhovoy |CTO
Askhat Bilyalov | Backend Architect
Mikhail Kucherov | Front-end Dev
Arthur Dzhimiev | Front-end Dev
Yana Maliakina | Product Designer
Chongkal Seng |Growth Lead
We have worked together for 5 years since university and we’re working on our lifetime challenge — Vectorly.
Share the craziest story related to your customers
The very first crazy and memorable customer story happened with Yuri Vetrov, the ex-design director at Mail.ru, the current design director at Raiffeisen Bank, and a well-known design manager from Russia.
I remember writing the first cold message to Yuri about Vectorly, and I asked him about the possibility of having an interview with me. Surely, we were very nervous before the meeting, so our team even had a discussion on how to ask Yuri to try Vectorly.
The big day came, we entered the meeting room and presented Vectorly. At the end of the presentation, we asked Yuri what he thinks about Vectorly. He suddenly said — cool, how can I purchase Vectorly?
That meeting became a moment of crazy luck because Yuri’s support gave us real credibility in the design community. Of course, Yuri became one of our early adopters.
Where do you see Vectorly in five years?
During my work experience, I learned that success is when you are ready for a coming opportunity. 5-year vision helps to decide whether the coming opportunity is worth chasing or not. Opportunity usually lasts for 6 months to follow. Currently, we have a strategy for a 6 months period.
Our vision: We want to make Vectorly a standard for any IT сompany to manage a team as Jira becomes for managing projects and Gitlab for managing code.
The main challenge is building trust around Vectorly. It helps teams to become more effective and transparent. We need more cases of companies who use Vectorly and share how we help them at conferences, meetups, blogs. After building this initial trust, the next step is to scale this trust as fast as we can.
What are the biggest struggles at the moment?
Now, we’re figuring out ways to make Vectorly:
Easy to start for any size team: we need ready to go templates and more use cases on our website. We need to keep explaining the flexibility and ease of use of Vectorly by showing it from many sides. Currently most of the text we wrote ourselves, but we want to hire a staff writer and community manager to help us make it more effective.
Easy to scale: currently the biggest teams that use Vectorly are around 100–200 people, to scale it across the whole companies we need to ease up the integration with client systems like ADRF or server Jira. We plan to hire a backend developer at least one, who will build 3rd party integrations.
Higher user engagement frequency: We work to make Vectorly continuously used system, that people engage with on a daily basis, that’s the only way to make Vectorly a real part of team workflow. We plan to deploy Slack, Microsoft teams and Telegram, Discord Integrations till the end of the year, so part of the user experience keeps happening during work. We deploy new profiles in several future sprints with features like Achievements, internal CV, Activity strikes to drive more engagement to Vectorly.
Thank you, Chongkal!
Interviewer: Kristina Kirkliauskaite, the Communication Manager at Baltic Sandbox.