Although innovation and building custom technology was never an issue for them, staffing in a niche, cutting-edge industry wasn’t a simple task. Here’s how they overcame their hiring challenges with Proxify.
Fibbl creates augmented reality and virtual try-on experiences for retailers and brands online by turning physical products into digital twins.
“How it works is that we receive products to our studio, we scan, process them, and create 3D models. From those 3D models, we create the possibility to digitally place the product in your space or try the product on digitally.”
The technology to create the experience for the end user is as simple as a copy/paste of a script. Hosting and distribution of 3D/AR/VTO data are also managed by Fibbl.
The real uniqueness is that Fibbl offers a complete solution – they produce the models for their clients bundled with the technology to create an almost real-life experience.
Given the nature of Fibbl’s product and how specific it is, it was hard for them to find developers with the right skills. Cutting-edge tech, augmented reality and virtual try-on are not characteristics easy to find in a resumé.
“This kind of competence is mostly found in gaming, and it's really hard to find. We also need the really, really best ones [in their field] to do this, and to find those developers; it's always a gamble”, underlines CTO Christian Kaunissaar.
He explains the process of creating a digital twin in detail: from receiving a real-life product through scanning and creating 3D imagery in approximately 600 images, all the way to designing a truthful and realistic model that makes AR possible in all sorts of devices.
“It's a quite long process of stuff that adds up to the final product,” adds Kaunissaar.
The final implementation done on the web shops of their clients is also made by their team’s developers. Fibbl has its own admin system, client portal, and implementation, which is an embedded script used by its clients.
Seeing that it’s a one-stop-shop for building a new technology that is easy for clients to use from scratch, the hiring and onboarding process would take Fibbl a long time.
When Christian joined Fibbl as their new CTO, the company already had some independent developers from Proxify in their A-team, mainly because they wanted to keep costs under control.
“Given the start-up nature, I think the first and main reason why Fibbl chose to work with Proxify was to cut cost.”
He had already done a lot of recruitment in his previous job positions, and from his experience, he estimated it would take six months to fill a position and spend some time with the new hire to ensure they’re the right fit.
“It's about six months from where you start because if you’re working with recruiters, then you also have to be really picky. And you don't want to sign someone that is not the right match. So you want to be very thorough when you do that kind of recruitment. I think around six months is a good estimation of recruitment doing it without Proxify.", he underlines.
With Proxify, they were able to get developers really fast.
“With Proxify, I think the fastest one has been two weeks. We talked to Proxify about what kind of skills and competence we need, and I think it was like two or three weeks until that person started working with us.”
On average, he says, a month is the average period they manage to hire someone from the Proxify network. They have a dedicated client manager from Proxify who works closely with them and understands their product and technology. Christian works hand-in-hand with his team to decide what profile they need when hiring and what they will be working on in the coming period, and then liaise with their Proxify client manager to find a suitable fit.
“They start scanning their network, and I receive a lot of resumés, which I go through. Usually, I have a couple of interviews with some candidates and, pick a few of them, go through to the next step. Then we do a deeper interview, a little bit more challenging. Then eventually, we select the best fit. It's much easier for me to search for specific competencies. And if it doesn't work out in the end, we can just end that kind of collaboration and try to find something else. So that's also a very good point of this recruitment thing for a startup.”
Currently, their team consists of developers all over the world who paint a “vast cultural landscape,” as Christian calls it. He adds that even though it is a challenge because they all have different backgrounds and ways of doing things, it is interesting to be the leader of a diverse team.
Currently, the entire team of independent developers comes from Proxify. Everything Fibbl builds, from the system that the production team used to organize the 3D models to the experience that Fibbl’s customers are using, is made by developers from Proxify, says Kaunissaar.
“Proxify has given us the possibility to find developers throughout the world really fast and made us ready to scale.”
He adds that the time for building a team has been very short, which has been super important for them:
“We can act fast because we are in a start-up world, and it goes really fast here. We want to try stuff, and we want to fail fast. So that has been the biggest value, I would say.”
The way forward
What Christian is more excited about now is to scale.
“We have built a really good foundation. We have cutting-edge technology; we can produce 3D models in AR in order to try on content like no other, I believe. So I'm looking forward to scale and work with that kind of challenges.”