Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are your passions, hobbies and where would we find you on a Friday after work?
My name is Anya Ozmen. I’m the founder and CEO of Redko, an LA based Dev Shop. More importantly I am a female data scientist/ programmer. When I first started, there were only 10 of us in LA (!) Thankfully now that I mentor at incubators and accelerators I see many more females. I am extremely passionate about making a structural change in the world. I wake up everyday and tell myself “Today I will help bring people’s dreams into life, tomorrow I will make a change in the world that will bring happiness to people’s lives long after I’m gone.” Some of my other hobbies and passions include cars, cooking, hiking, working out finance, math, physics and neuroscience. I am very hyper and can do a lot of things at the same time. I think my most prominent signature place I will be at on a Friday after work is the gym. But with a kick, I will be working with my laptop on the treadmill. After that is usually a big dinner with my close friends.
What is the meaning of Redko? How did you start your own business?
Redko’s origin is a funny story actually. I basically decided to start my own business in the middle of the first month of lockdown. I had a week to do it. I knew it had to be short. I wanted to be big one day and most big brands have short names, like Nike, Apple and . I sat down and went through pinterest for interesting words. Redko was great because it is easy to pronounce and has the name of a color in it. The name brands itself. There aren’t many big brands for tech solution umbrella companies and I want Redko to be one in the near future.
Why should someone use a dev shop vs employing their own engineer?
Dev shops have 3 major advantages over hiring employees. 1. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY! Let’s do the math if you hire an engineer in the US, it’s anywhere between 70K-300K+ a year. You will need multiple to get things built and a project manager so multiply that by 3. You are looking at 200K to nearly 1M a year for full product development. Versus a dev shop is often less than hiring just one person. 2 One person can’t often do all the work as I mentioned. They usually have expertise in only a couple fields also maybe they are great at frontend or backend. Dev shops often have a lot of developers with different types of expertise. So they can build much more holistic solutions for you. 3. You don’t need to have an extra person to manage your engineers. Mostly, engineers are tech oriented and User Experience isn’t their strong suit, you need a designer and a Project Manager to make sure your product is the best when it lands in the hands of users. Dev shops have all these people usually included in their services.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
START NOW! We help people from 0 to 100 all the time. I have people come to me with one line of an idea and we turn them into apps and software. I advise strongly to do research, meanwhile don’t lose time, have a prototype and go out there and raise. We built many prototypes that went on to raise $100,000s, some raised Millions.
Where should entrepreneurs get started?
I’d mainly recommend that they talk to a dev shop. Most have free consultations, you can ask questions, get a much better idea of what to expect and what you need to do.
What are the biggest challenges bigger companies that approach you with?
Two big challenges, either they have a technology that is outdated or they need an integration. First challenge is caused by a lot of different decisions made in the past. Overseas teams often mess up their product, or they just don’t have the technology, using something from the 2000s looks like a tamagotchi. These big companies will shock you. Second one, Rather than hiring a fulltime to do a temporary integration of databases, CRMs, or SaaS, they come to us.
What do you think existing companies need to do to stay on top of a highly competitive market?
As I mentioned before, outdated technology is not a good look both on your brand, your own employees or company value. Building your own SaaS or CRM for your own business can up your companies’ value. You might also be losing sales and revenue because you aren’t aware that a major email campaign or an inventory system that forecasts how much you will sell in a month can triple your revenue. One of our first clients would get $100,000 in one day and they were running short. We built a forecasting system for them and their shortages went down to 0.
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