BLACKPIN was founded by CEO Sandra Jörg six years ago in South Germany. After living in Israel for seven years, she discovered inventive ways of using messaging apps like WhatsApp in the B2B sector for business needs as far as 15 years ago. That lead her to an idea for a secure and intuitive messaging and collaboration app for businesses. She calls it an app for the new work of tomorrow.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Jörg says, every business realized the value of a well-organized and safe messaging system. Everything had to move online, so the timing for them was perfect.
According to Jörg, apart from the usual challenges in the IT and software development sector – finding the best people with the right skills for the job in a state of deficits – they are also met with a different obstacle. They need developers who can stick to the new Matrix chat protocol, as well as know the regulations of the medical sector in Germany, in which their app is being used.
“But the problem is that nobody really has this knowledge in the market. So it's very rare, or you need to build it from scratch.”, she adds.
They have also searched for Flutter developers, which after the Covid outbreak, were even less available on the hiring market.
“We tried a few [solutions]. We tried hiring teams in India. Then we tried in Europe, in Serbia. We had a team, but we didn't like the quality they produced. It was sometimes spaghetti code, we call it, and not really [according to] the German quality standards we expect.”
They needed a trustworthy and skilled distributed tech team that could build not just an app but an ecosystem. They also needed to produce an administration center, a CRM system, a database, and an intuitive frontend. And all of that with the highest level of security and compliance according to GDPR.
“I really searched for people who understood our vision to be in control of our data and that our clients have control of their users and data. This is the capital of tomorrow, and I want that they really burn for that idea.”
She especially valued developers who aren’t shying away from tackling the legal details and who have previous experience in a similar field. All of these factors accounted to rather hard-to-fill positions in the development team.
BLACKPIN decided to try and find a solution by collaborating with Proxify. Luckily, our company has a formidable team of client managers who understand German laws and regulations and the local labor market.
“We were very happy to get in touch with Proxify, because they understood exactly our needs,” says Jörg.
She says they were happy to find the developers that were suggested not only had the needed tech stack but were also really interested in digging into the regulations and delivering a safe app that respects all legal requirements.
She was also thrilled to see that the team at Proxify really understood their needs. She found that her dedicated client managers took the time to talk and understand their values and find developers who fully understand their vision and mission and fit their employee values.
“Many companies don't understand that. They just hire and fire, look at the skills and the hard facts. What I really love about Proxify is that they also look at the soft facts, which is, for me, much more important than the hard facts. It's the most important.”
Currently, their team includes five independent developers from Proxify’s network.
“We are very happy because they fit 100% into our values. They understand that, and they understand us as a company, how we function, and what is very important to us.”
After accepting that they would have to build anew and form the team of their dreams, BLACKPIN deleted the existing code and started from scratch two years ago.
Around 18 months later, they finished a huge engagement built exclusively by Proxify developers.
“It was a really short time, one and a half years, to create something so big. It's much more than only messaging – it's a full collaboration app with an ecosystem behind with IoT connections.”
Besides covering person-to-person communication, the app can also enable communication between two machines or a machine with a person.
They primarily launched in Germany and now work with three startups in the medical sector, which is a great milestone for them.
Jörg underlines that they are proud of the success they achieved with the help of Proxify. Their team is spread in eight countries, even though it is still only 22 people.
“So, eight countries, 22 people is a lot. We are very agile and international, but it works amazingly. So we are very thankful for the patience [client managers] have and for their professional spirit”.
She adds that their Proxify independent developers are “some of the great leaders in the team,” and they are very experienced and professional. She’s also ecstatic to add that they became not only coworkers but friends, even though they work remotely.
“When we have a Christmas party, we fly them over because they are really one of us.”
The way forward
With a better code and a close-knit team, BLACKPIN is ready to reach new milestones and collaborate with more companies that need their safe collaboration app.
We asked Jörg what the immediate plan is and if they are sticking with Proxify.
“First of all, I want to keep all the developers forever,” she says. “And second, we want to grow. We want to build up the team”.
Apart from their offices in Berlin and Munich, they are also soon opening an office in Switzerland. They plan on moving to South Europe, and along with their existing team, they want to hire new people to help them reach greater heights.