Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.
This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor Andrey Kudievskiy as he talks about “Startup Teams & Tech.”
IT executive, Serial entrepreneur, CEO and Founder at Distillery.com, and named one of the 25 Inspiring Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017 by Inc. Magazine. Andrey Kudievskiy started his career in tech at the age of 19 while working on his degree in computer science. Within five years Andrey had established his first company and played a key role in creating a successful cloud synchronization startup that was sold to a Fortune 500 company. A serial entrepreneur and talented developer in his own right, he is currently focused on enabling other entrepreneurs to build businesses and continuing Distillery’s expansion in the U.S. and international markets.
Speaker: Andrey Kudievskiy
Moderator: Heidi Hubbeling
Startup Superhero Series Featuring Andrey Kudievskiy on “Startup Teams & Tech”
Heidi: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background and a little bit about Distillery.
Andrey: Absolutely! Distillery is a full-service software development company located here in Santa Monica. We like working with startups as well as enterprise clients. Now we are focusing on stack technology design and development. A little bit about myself, you can tell by my accent, that I came from Russia. Just a few years ago, not knowing anyone here in the States, I had a burning desire to build a business and to help other companies succeed in the area where I have a lot of knowledge and assist in technology. That’s how Distillery started – and so far, we have been successful. This year we got on the Inc. 5000 list for the fastest growing companies in North America. I hope that we position ourselves for the next year as well.
Heidi: Congratulations on that, that’s a huge honor! You are one of the mentors of the program and Distillery, in the Los Angeles tech scene, is one of the premier agencies for startups. What do you like most of working with startups? I know you are one of the mentors of program. Distillery is one of the most well-respected agencies in Los Angeles and you work with a lot of entrepreneurs. What do you like most?
Andrey: Sure, I like working with startups because you can quickly see the value of the work you do. You can see the results of your work. When you meet someone, let’s say your friend on the street and you ask them to “hey can you show me your phone” and see the application I have developed and you can say “wow!” That is just pure happiness. That is when I feel my life is accomplished. Versus working with enterprises when you can work with them for years and years for one of the projects. When it’s released its just a small part of something huge, you don’t really feel like you’ve contributed enough.
Heidi: It doesn’t feel as impactful. When you work with younger stage startup you feel like you become part of their team. On that note, some of the advice that you give with startups. What advice do you give them when they are selecting a stack? What kind of stack do they need to select to be most successful?
Andrey: For technology stack as startups, what I like to say is that they don’t need to overthink it. All the companies who try to build something big in the beginning they go all in. They don’t test the market. They don’t really know what it is. It’s rather important to release something, test the market, see if people use it and then adjust as needed. When people do something enterprise scale for a startup, they spend months and months for development and end up being behind the time curve. So, they are late to the market. We try to build something at a scale you need right now. Something small, go to the market test it. Do the alpha version, the beta version do the public release later. Then at the end when you see that your idea is valuable, its fine to go and rebuild some of the parts. You will lose 50% of your time on building something with the right technology stack, but then this product will do better in the market.
Heidi: What are some of the pros and cons of hiring an internal vertical team versus hiring a team like Distillery, an outside tech team?
Andrey: I think the ideal scenario is when there is a combination. A tech team that will help you on stuff and you have an extension. A company like Distillery who would just help you move faster. When you don’t have enough resources, you cannot move fast enough or maybe some parts of the projects are simply outside of your core expertise. That’s when bringing an agency would be meaningful. It would help you. Outsourcing everything and giving control to an agency doesn’t seem right to me.
Heidi: I think so, because when you outsource without having a technical strategist that is overseeing development internally. If you don’t have that person that is vested in your idea and you fully outsource then you just have somebody whose just project-based developing it. When they’re done, they walk away from the project and walk away from your idea.
Andrey: You must have a vision. You must be able to provide a clear direction. Of course, the digital part of it that you choose. They need to be comfortable adding something to your idea. Advising, according to their expertise what to do and what not to do. At the same time, I feel that getting a technical co-founder for the team really does miracles.
Heidi: Absolutely, so let’s go back to the Preccelerator a little bit. Not to be self-serving, but we really appreciate you as a mentor and you’ve provided great value thus far with your mentorship. What are some of your favorite things about working with the Preccelerator and working with our companies.
Andrey: Well, first thank you so much for having me. The Preccelerator is an amazing group of people and amazing group of potentially big startups and companies, that I see will really grow. To me the value is talking to those young entrepreneurs, seeing them to be in my shoes 5 years ago maybe three years ago depends on how fast they will grow. And exchange knowledge, bounce some ideas around. I also like helping people. That keeps me motivated. When I see that I prevented one person from making the same mistake that I made 5 years ago. That’s the best I can do.
Heidi: I think that’s the definition of true wisdom. When companies take advice from somebody that has already been through that cycle, through that path. Rather than making those mistakes on their own. That’s very valuable. Appreciate you being here and we will see you all at the next startup superhero series.
To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at firstname.lastname@example.org.