DevSkiller: Discovering hidden potential – A Forbes feature article
This text was originally written in Polish by Forbes Polska and has been translated into English by DevSkiller. Full credit to Forbes Polska – original text found here.
Jakub Kubrynski – DevSkiller CEO & CoFounder
DevSkiller is a business that not only provides companies worldwide with solutions for mapping employee skills but also outlines tailored development paths for employees within organizations, allowing the company itself to implement an operational model based on skills.
Complicated? Perhaps. But it makes sense and is profitable.
Jakub Kubryński, the founder and CEO of DevSkiller, is eager to talk about the early days of conceiving the business concept, which now generates nearly a million złotys in monthly revenue for his company.
“Several years ago, I worked for the Allegro Group as a software development manager at PayU. I built a team there, and was responsible for architecture and development,” he recalls.
In 2012, Allegro had offices in Poznań and Toruń, and programmers were divided into those who had previously worked at Allegro and those who still worked there. There was no third group – developers who would work there in the future.
“After relocating to Warsaw, the situation changed dramatically. We were overwhelmed with candidates, receiving 200 CVs per week. We couldn’t handle so many recruitments, and there were no effective procedures for verifying whether the skills listed in resumes were accurate.” We didn’t have tools for meaningful candidate filtering. I never trusted CVs because many mediocre programmers have excellent PR skills. Besides, excellent professionals often struggle to market themselves,” explains Kubryński, who is an engineer by education and has been professionally involved in programming from the beginning of his career.
Where others saw a problem, he saw an opportunity.
“We decided to build a tool capable of screening out candidates who didn’t meet the organization’s needs, not based on what they said about themselves but on their actual, very specific skills,” he explains the idea that inspired him to create his own business.
That’s when Kubryński and Marek Kałużny, with whom he founded DevSkiller, came into the picture. Initially, the two tried to combine building the company with part-time jobs, but just one year after conceiving the concept, in 2014, the business became demanding enough that they decided to devote themselves entirely to it.
Today, 90% of DevSkiller’s revenue comes from abroad (the company has customers everywhere except Antarctica) and is growing rapidly. Kubryński is confident that their revenue will double in 2023 alone. Such dynamics are mainly driven by proprietary tools that, in short, allow you to test, describe and catalog the skills, even the smallest ones, of candidates Over the seven years of DevSkiller’s existence, they have tested more than 800,000 people from 180 countries.
“All the clients we talked to about skill mapping implemented our solution,” says the CEO of DevSkiller. This is significant in a rapidly evolving job market, where changes could result in the global economy losing $10 trillion due to skill gaps among workers by 2030.
“This is several times more than Poland’s GDP and 400 times more than Google’s revenue,” Kubryński outlines the size of the problem, as presented in the McKinsey Global Institute report. “By that time, nearly one and a half billion people will need to acquire new skills, i.e., ‘reskill’,” he adds, citing the latest World Economic Forum analysis.
DevSkiller is doing everything it can to capitalize on these changes. Therefore, the tool they offer today is significantly different from what they started with. It no longer serves only in recruitment processes but, thanks to developed technology that aids in upskilling and reskilling, it has become an integral part of strategies in companies opting for a skills-based organization model. And such companies are multiplying at an express pace.
“Just five years ago, only 40% of organizations were interested in this model. Today, 75% of companies want to transform into it,” says Kubryński, quoting data from Deloitte, the CEO of DevSkiller.
In the United States alone, more than 80 million workers need new skills – those they need to learn to meet the demands of the job market (according to the Pew Research Center). The global HR Tech market is worth $170 billion (according to Statista), with $50 billion (around 200 billion złotys) of it related to re- and upskilling, growing at a 20% annual rate according to Gartner data.
“The numbers confirm that the market DevSkiller operates in is one of the most promising in the world today,” says Maciej Kraus, a partner at the investment fund Movens Capital. He and other business angels recently decided to invest 5 million złotys in DevSkiller.
“In earlier stages of the company’s development, Kubryński managed to raise about 10 million złotys, half of which came from SpeedUp Energy Innovation and 2 million złotys from the business angel Robert Dziubłowski. Kraus believes that the innovative platform based on AI and the founders’ 20 years of experience perfectly align with today’s HR Tech market trends.
“With the development of new technologies, more and more companies need employees with new ‘yesterday’ skills,” the investor observes.
“Customers started asking if this tool could be used, for example, before and after training, for evaluating employees,” Kubryński recalls.
The company started developing the product towards knowledge and skills mapping not only in the founders’ industry. “Have you read a book? Show whether you understood it. Have you completed training? Reinforce your knowledge by doing homework. That’s how it started to work,” the CEO of DevSkiller says.
In the process, it turned out that many employees were tired and bored of their jobs. They wanted to develop themselves but didn’t have the opportunity. “So, they quit, and the company has to look for new employees to replace them,” says Kubryński.
However, sometimes all it takes is a little learning to acquire new skills and fit the company’s needs where you work. “We created a tool that precisely shows someone’s skills, how they build competencies, what they lack to achieve others, and what they need to learn. Today, in many companies, especially large ones, we see a pathology: an accountant could quickly take care of other documents, often even capable, but no one in the corporation knows about it. So, they continue to focus solely on leasing, for example, and nobody comes to them with other documents,” explains the CEO of DevSkiller.
“Companies often fail to realize how much potential their employees have because they attach too much importance to labeling them rather than focusing on what they can actually do. We help uncover these hidden employee skills and, at the same time, save on specialist acquisition costs,” he adds.
Employees reportedly willingly complete tasks prepared by DevSkiller because, in return, they receive detailed descriptions of their skills, see how much they need to learn to perform another job or advance.
‘We thought it would be nice to give these people a hint about how they can develop careers within companies that spend large sums on hiring professionals from the market because they don’t even know they have proven people who would gladly change their profession (reskilling) or improve their qualifications (upskilling) and stay in the organization,” says Jakub Kubryński.
Orange Poland recently decided to purchase a tool for implementing a skills-based operational model (skills-based organizations). They have no regrets about the deal with Kubryński’s company. Thanks to the tool provided by DevSkiller, over 3,000 employees have a defined competence profile and can map their skills. By the end of the year, we will cover all employees in the process, announces Jacek Kowalski, member of the management board for Human Capital at Orange.
Jacek Kowalski – Member of the management board for Human Capital at Orange
The average time it takes for Orange employees to perform self-assessment is approximately 21 minutes. That’s enough for the tool to show them development opportunities within the company. And for those who manage it, it provides invaluable information for business development planning.
DevSkiller’s software also allows for the deconstruction of all the skills, even the smallest ones, necessary for a specific position – this takes eight hours. The entire process of implementing the solution in a company takes three months. “In the end, we will know exactly what skills our employees have and what initiatives we can invite them to. This includes new projects, internal mobility, internal job market development, and the possibility of changing roles. From an employee’s perspective, it’s also a tailored development path and developmental offer, and for the company, a clear direction for developmental investments – there is no doubt,” says Jacek Kowalski.
This is also profitable for DevSkiller. The company’s revenue in 2022 amounted to 10 million złotys. According to the management’s expectations, it is set to increase throughout the current year to 20 million złotys. Kubryński doesn’t want to discuss profits, but it’s no secret that profit margins in this market are high – reaching 90 percent.