AnitaCrnoBelo

Interview with Anita Matt

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Hello Anita, tell us something about you and your job.

My name is Anita Matt and I have been working in the IT industry since 2005. I am the Project Manager at Infora, for almost 5 years now. My job is involved in every segment of our business and product development. Because of that, I can say that I know a lot about starting and building up a startup company in Serbia.

Describe the beginnings of Infora.  What was the motive for running a startup company?

The founder of the company, Nebojša Gvozdenović, is a mathematician and he studied mathematical optimization for his Master thesis where he tried to connect abstract mathematical knowledge and business. He got interested in applying academic knowledge in resolving everyday problems that people have and he decided to start his own company. Infora was founded in 2010 and we are working on route optimization products ever since. Nebojša has continued developing his academic career. He is an associate professor on the Faculty of Economics of the University of Novi Sad. Together we are leading the team toward making a great software.

Software you develop is Route Horizon. What problem does it solve? How exactly it works? Who are your customer? What makes you different from your market competitors?

Yes, our software is named Route Horizon. This is a simple application for route optimization, transport planning and fleet management. Route Horizon makes optimal distribution of daily tasks on all available vehicles and considers many constraints involved (vehicle capacity, driver’s workday, desired delivery time, etc.). This enables our customers to have optimal routes, simple and easy planning with minimal expenses. Our customers are all companies who are working some sort of delivery and distribution, have field representatives, or provide some kind of services and maintenance. The main feature that makes us different from similar solutions is a set of manual corrections. We have introduced this option because we are aware that an algorithm, no matter how sophisticated, is not capable of replacing a humane completely. I would also like to mention that we have developed the entire solution – the user interface and the algorithm in the background. This enables us to modify our solution according to specific client’s requirements, but also to improve it by collecting their feedback.

How did you came up with the idea to make such a software? What was the “Eureka” moment for you?

We have been working on similar projects with partners from Denmark and France before we have decided to get into the game ourselves. We had the knowledge and experience to develop a new solution that would be intuitive, simple and suitable for wide range of industries. On top of that, we have managed to join forces with Mercata company. They are the first users of Route Horizon. We have learned that one can not develop a software without user’s feedback and this is where Mercata helped us a lot. We have been analyzing all of their activities, from receiving orders to delivery of goods, and it enabled us to create a market ready platform.

Who is making the Infora team? How have you started working together?

There are eight of us at the moment with two full time employees and six associates. Founder of the company Nebojša Gvozdenović has started working with Karlo Bala in 2009 while Infora was still part of TIAC, a Novi Sad based IT company. Dejan Bracanov and myself have joined in 2011. Other team members: Žarko Milovanović, Srđan Terei, Vesna Terei Rudinski and Nenad Mirkov have started working with us a bit latter. Our collaboration was spontaneous at first and then we got more serious and joined our forces in Infora. Nebojša has great ideas and he managed to find people who can help him make them real.

In your opinion, what is a better choice – working in a startup company or in some big corporation. What is more interesting for you and why?

Working in a startup is not a conventional “work”. There are few rules and regulations and working conditions are quite relaxed. Team members know each other quite well and can simply click together. On the other hand, working in a startup sometimes means working on weekends and holidays. When there is a job to be done we all work, no matter what time or day in the week it is. Startup is a way of life, especially for people who are in the management. We are thinking about the work all the time. It is not something that you can forget about as soon as you close the office door. There are no advantages of working for a big corporation. :-)

What is your advice to all the people who would like to run a startup company?

First, you need to collect as much info as possible about what running a startup actually means. Talk to people who have done it, read some related books and especially a book called “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. If you still wish to run your startup, just go for it!

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