Tappointment has evolved from offering a smartphone-based appointment reservation system to delivering customized, creative IT services to clients, and is looking to break into international elite of the industry. The Budapest Business Journal asks CEO Zoltán Lukács about the startupʼs journey and transformation.
BBJ: How did your journey begin?
Zoltán Lukács: One of my dear friends had a brilliant idea, a mobile phone-based appointment reservation system, in which I saw an idea to create something new. In 2013, we begun development with our own team. We managed to involve a very experienced CTO, Gábor Barta, with whom I have had a great relationship since high school. Thanks to a Hungarian angel investor, we received investment, and we were also successful in involving venture capital from PBG FMC Venture Capital Fund Management Ltd. in 2014, followed by another round in 2015. Meanwhile, we began doing roadshows in America, having realized that Hungarian service providers were not yet ready for digital transformation.
BBJ: The company now operates with a different profile. What’s the underlying reason, what prompted the adjustments?
ZL: Ours is a typical startup story, in the sense that we failed to get another round of investment at the end of 2015, bringing us to a crossroads. We had to decide between closing this chapter in our lives for good, or keeping the team together while transforming our operations, and supplying our partners with services: custom developments and software solutions. We chose the second option, and I believe it was the right decision. We reacted quickly to the changed circumstances, managing to get orders relatively soon, which became larger as time went by.
BBJ: How does your service-based development model work?
ZL: The specialty of our business model is that we do more for our clients than only develop and build a system based on their end-to-end specifications. Our clients trust in us, which is why we are usually involved in the process from the kick-off brainstorming discussions to market introduction of the product. This means that our business and technical experiences and ideas are also incorporated in the product. We think together with our partners, understand their vision and problems, and strive to come up with the best possible solution. Our opinion counts, and our clients give us creative freedom to bring their ideas into life. The best thing is that we can create, and come up with new and exciting solutions.
BBJ: How did the transformation affect the startup’s operations?
ZL: We wanted to preserve the basic features of the startup model in a more refined form. The Silicon Valley startup culture made a great impression on me during my first visit to Google in Mountain View in 2010, which was a defining moment in my life. I envisioned that something similar could also be possible in Hungary. We are working on enhancing the image of the company, and the internal organizational culture, showing our employees why it is worth being a member of Tappointment, and why it is good to work here. We are not doing it because we have to, but because we care about it. We want them to love and enjoy what they are doing, instead of considering the company “just a workplace”.
BBJ: What are the startup’s plans for the future?
ZL: Fundamentally, I am a perfectionist. We want Tappointment to reach the international league of elite developers in three years. We want to build an organization where everybody does what they know how to do, what they do best, and that allows them to fulfill themselves. Currently, we have 21 employees, but we also have multiple open positions for developers. We imagine working with a team of 40 within five years.