Here is how, with the help of Proxify, they found their match made in heaven and built the best possible customized speech-to-text solutions.
Scriptix was founded in late 2019 by two co-founders. The company raised its initial investment from an informal investor in early 2020 and has since been working on developing speech recognition algorithms and machine translation.
They are exposing these models through an API interface, which can be integrated into workflows, but also through easy-to-use transcript and subtitle editors. The ideal users for their product are, for example, journalists and people who are looking to create subtitles for their content.
The Netherlands is one of the biggest tech hubs in Europe and one of the most innovative countries in the world regarding new technologies. At the same time, it struggles with a severe deficit of tech workers – the Dutch goverment reportedly, and the lack of experts only kept growing post-pandemic.
Frans Olsthoorn, CEO and Co-founder of Scriptix, and his team were not immune to this lack of skilled developers.
“It's always a struggle to find the right people at the right time. Especially in the Netherlands right now, the labor market is very crowded. There are basically no developers to be found.”
Additionally, when the pandemic hit, having an office didn't make sense for their team since they couldn't go to the office anymore due to lockdowns and other restrictions.
“We decided to forego the office and go fully remote with the business, basically, which was easy at the time because it was just three of us. But that also opened up a window of opportunity with regard to hiring new help, of course. So we started looking into hiring remote developers, and that's where we ran into Proxify.”
Looking for an independent developer to hire for the Scriptix team, Frans came across Proxify’s website, which struck him as very transparent and comprehensive in terms of what the service provides.
“Proxify is quite disruptive, but they're very clear in their proposition. Just looking over their website for a couple of minutes, you know exactly what to expect. And then when you actually start talking to people from Proxify, the experience is what you expect from what you read on the website.”
He says that it was all very clear, straightforward, and transparent in terms of the pricing process, which really moved them to work with Proxify.
The second box they ticked was the vetting process – Proxify already vets the developers he intends to hire, so he initially had a good idea of what these candidates were capable of, their level of experience, and English proficiency.
“That already would save you a lot of time, as opposed to walking through those steps yourself, which is very helpful. Then, of course, there is also the fact that normally if you work with agencies, there are large fees involved, but you don't know if it's going to be a match.”, he underlines.
Frans adds that instead of wasting money for a hire that isn’t an ideal fit, he prefers Proxify’s model because you pay a fee-per-hour for the developer, which in his view, is very fair since he had to save every cent as the CEO of a starting company.
Lastly, a final detail that made them appreciate Proxify and consider it as a hiring solution for the long term was that the dedicated client manager speaks in Frans’ native language.
“Our account manager from Proxify is also Dutch, which is very easy for me since I can also communicate with him in my own language. It helps to build a relationship easier and give a more personal feeling to it all.”
Thanks to the pre-vetted candidate pool they were offered, the transparency in pricing that could help their budgeting, and the personal contact that understand their service well, Scriptix managed to quickly find a dedicated independent developer who is not only an excellent contribution to the team but – in Frans’ words – “runs the show.”
“At the moment, the team is very small, and we work with one Proxify developer, but he basically runs the show on the development side at the moment, and we're very happy to have him.”
Their developer works on both the back and frontend, revamping the entire platform that they currently have in place and upgrading it to a V2 version. Frans believes that he’s instrumental in moving their company to the next level and is especially helpful for customers with technical questions that Frans himself can’t answer.
He further explains that one of the best things about his developer, who is proficient in English, is that he also understands how to work with customers, which makes him a good sparring partner.
“There is a lot of opportunity for me to brainstorm with him on our new products based on the feedback that we get from our customers regularly, which we can then turn into actionable issues that we work on throughout the year.”
Scriptix was also recently selected for STADIEM, an accelerator program founded by the EU Horizon 2020 initiative catering to media agencies in Europe. The aim of the program is to drive innovation in media, and their Proxify tech expert was working on a new feature under that program. He has developed that entire feature from start to finish with their machine learning engineer, who works on the speech recognition side of things.
“Thanks to his help, we have now developed a feature that customers can use to automatically train speech recognition models themselves. This greatly alleviates the pain of our machine learning engineer having to do all that work manually. This is now an automated process, to a great extent, thanks to our Proxify developer.”
He is very proud of the accelerator program Scriptix was selected for, mainly because the development process was on time.
“In development, you always have a plan, and then you say, ‘Let's do that times three.’ With our developer, it all went very smoothly. He updated me regularly on progress, he was hands-on from the start, building a completely new feature, which is exciting for everybody and new for everybody. But he was and is very professional in how he handles these things.”
The way forward
Currently, Scriptix’s customers are able to update speech recognition models themselves in a fully automated fashion. They can add vocabulary to the model. But, the next step in the company’s to-do list is to provide customers with a feature that recognizes dialect and acoustic signals in a speech that indicates different speech groups. He adds that’s a lot more difficult to automate from a machine learning perspective and would require “additional heads.”
However, thanks to Proxify, he believes that they’ll quickly find the distributed tech team they need, and the steps involved will be easy, straightforward, and at a fair price.
“Having a platform like Proxify, where you can very easily and very quickly find the right type of help, really takes away a lot of the stress that you can have as a founder, where you need hands to do the job, to get things done quickly and often.”
He adds that it is great to know that whenever they need to scale, it will be quite easy to hire additional hands through Proxify, as it alleviates his stress.