Are you one of those people who think that Czech Republic and the USA are so distant from one another not only geographically but also in terms of technological improvement, quality services, first-class products and modern working environment? What if we tell you that there is one company which was first set up in the Czech Republic, then “rocked” Silicon Valley and currently is a leader on the US market in its product category?
Meet STRV – the bridge between the Czech Republic and Silicon Valley! Thanks to this one-stop mobile app development shop, the two locations are practically one and the same. Sure, there is an ocean in-between, but the Atlantic’s no match for them!
Who are they?
They are David Semerad (CEO), Lubo Smid (COO), Martin Stava (CTO) and Pavel Zeifart (Chief Creative Director), they are the founding team of STRV – the fastest way to build software. They are four young and resourceful people who gathered together gradually, to set up what is now one of the leading mobile app development shops on the US market and in Europe. The company develops first-class products for top-tier startups and it is a preferred partner because of the high-quality code, sleek designs and super fast turnaround.
STRV is a one-stop mobile, web and backend app development shop which means that when a client approaches the company, they are able to deliver everything at once: the idea, the concept, the design, the development and so on, the whole process in-house without the need of any outside companies’ involvement.
Since 2004, when STRV was established in Prague, they have developed hundreds of mobile apps for iOS and Android. Currently, almost 150 developers and designers on STRV team are situated in the five company offices – in Prague, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Brno.
Are you already interested in this more than successful Czech company? Wait to hear the engaging story of its beginning!
Every beginning is hard
We all have read about the fascinating stories behind the establishment of the world’s most powerful companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and thanks to that we perfectly know that every beginning is hard and good results take time. STRV also had its hard and interesting beginning.
In 2004, in the Czech capital Prague, David Semerad and Martin Stava started developing small web projects for local clients. Gradually, Pavel Zeifart and Lubo Smid joined the other two to form the founding team of uLikeIT, as STRV was named at the beginning.
“Today, when we look back and think about the start, it is really funny for us because we have seen the whole process how we grew and how the work itself changed since then”, says Lubo Smid. “It was never the idea to create something like STRV but we were always trying to do the best at the time, and this led us to the situation in which we are now – that we have a company of almost 150 people working for some of the top startups in Silicon Valley, and we are also running our own startups here in the Czech Republic.”, continues Lubo.
The key point for the company was when Apple opened the App store. Then the team developed one of the first Czech mobile applications. At that time, nearly everyone who had an iPhone in his pocket, downloaded it for a dollar. They also created a mobile banking application for Fio bank. Regardless, negotiations about next orders were too slow and the small company began to understand that this is not the right way. As they were struggling with finding clients in CZ, the team started to look for other opportunities outside the country. They wanted to build better products and go further so they were also thinking whether they should continue this consulting business or they could start something on their own.
All these factors, made the team to apply for participation in the project called CzechAccelator, developed by CzechInvest, the investment and business development agency in the Czech Republic. uLikeIT (STRV) was fortunate enough to be one of the two companies which have been selected for participation in that project. The project send them to Silicon Valley and sponsored half a year of operations of the company there. The new office of the company in San Francisco was ready, the huge opportunities were all around and that’s how the American fairytale of the Czech company has started its own life.
Living the American dream
Many people around the world dream of living the American dream but only a few really have the chance to do it. That’s the case with David, Lubo, Martin and Pavel. Well, of course, the American beginning was as hard as the Czech one, but the end result pays off all the efforts and struggles. “First we tried to achieve success with our own product – a dating application, which unfortunately didn’t pan out”, remembers Lubo. Although they were not successful with their own product, they had to fight to survive as the team was not so small anymore, it was about 20-30 people. STRV started looking for Western clients to offer their services to but it was really difficult being from Czech Republic and having no references and testimonials to get someone to agree on a deal with them.
It took the company a year and a half to build some decent presence on the Western market of mobile application development, to start going to business meetings and to persuade the potential clients that they are legit, that they provide qualitative services. Since then, the company has been growing and expanding. STRV has been focusing mostly on cooperation with startups because that’s where they feel they can bring most of the value. Despite the good cooperation with top startups, STRV is not a startup itself.
The hard beginning is only a past memory for STRV. Today, the company’s team consists of almost 150 developers and designers, working in five offices in the USA and the Czech Republic. Lubo Smid admits that the cooperation between the different teams is not super smooth as if they were situated in one office sitting next to each other, but STRV focuses on easing the cooperation, they set up the best tools and they are constantly searching for the best approach to keep the team productive, although it is spread across the world. They plan to expand the team in Prague and Brno (to attract the best developers), to open new offices so that they can accommodate the increasing demand and expand US sales.
Why companies hire STRV?
Which are the main reasons why companies hire STRV? Well, it is simple. Companies hire them to shorten the development timeline, eliminate recruiting people, leverage the knowledge of an experienced team, to get a bigger bang for a buck. The main thing that differentiates STRV from its competitors is the process, how they get things done, followed by how they communicate with their clients and how they set the cooperation with a particular client.
“We are really passionate about speed, we try to do the products as simple as possible and to get them out of the doors soon, so we don’t like building complicated stuff then putting it on the market and realizing that it is not working out, we much rather develop something very little, then test it out, this is how it works”, says Lubo Smid.
What services does STRV provide?
STRV is the fastest way to build software! The services which they provide are: iOS Development, Android Development, Website Development and Backend Development.
STRV has a rich portfolio of mobile apps. It includes well-known applications like ClassDojo, Caviar, Eaze, Surge, FLIP etc. You can view their projects on the company’s website: https://www.strv.com/
STRV in Brno
Following their expansion strategy, STRV has not only started expanding their Prague office, but they have recently opened a brand new office in Brno. It attracts both clients and potential employees because of the high quality services and the modern and international working environment.
Author: Nadya Dyakova, PR intern of Foreigners.cz Brno