When you think about the biggest technology companies in the world, it seems like everything revolves around the US. While it’s true for giants like Apple or Facebook, Europe has its own hall of fame. Skype, for example. And… Well, yeah, what else?
More and more awesome products are founded and/or developed in Europe, and there’s a bunch of great products that have hit the market a while back and they made their first steps in Europe. No wonder CEE is a popular destination for outsourcing software development since the products launched and built-in this area often turn out to be a success. There’s a lot of talented developers here, and they build awesome products, too. So what are some of the coolest products built-in CEE?
Let’s start with the obvious. Skype may be one of the first companies that come to mind when you think about what products were built in Europe. Skype was founded by Niklas Zennstom (Sweden) and Janus Friis (Denmark), and built-in Estonia.
I’m pretty sure everyone’s well aware of what Skype is, but just in case: it’s an application allowing video chats and voice calls between users all around the globe. It’s easy to use, it’s reliable, and you can use it for free (there are also subscription models for businesses and international mobile phone/landline calls). Skype was first released in 2003 and in 2011, it was acquired by Microsoft for 8.5 billion dollars.
Zalando is a German online retailer offering clothes and accessories from more than 2000 brands. Zalando operates in Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the UK, Poland, and many other European countries. Their revenue in 2018 was 5.388 billion EUR.
Even though we primarily see Zalando as a company that sells clothes, the technology behind it can’t be underestimated. Zalando serves thousands of users, handles countless transactions, recommends other products. It’s a complex application, available both via browser and for mobile devices, and frankly, it rocks. Shopping in Zalando is easy and problem-free. You just choose your stuff, pay for it, and in a couple of days, you’ve got your purchase delivered.
SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform and music sharing website. SoundCloud was founded in 2007 in Sweden and developed in Germany, where it has its headquarters. It started off as an indie platform for people who wanted to discover the newest music and it grew pretty quickly, soon challenging the dominance of MySpace as a platform for musicians. In 2010, SoundCloud announced they hit 1 million users.
Over the years, SoundCloud has gone through some major ups and downs: being in business talks with Twitter over an integrated music app, then with Spotify over acquisition plans – none of these happened in the end. In 2017, SoundCloud made the news when they closed their San Francisco and London offices, firing 173 out of 420 employees. That same year, Alex Ljung, SoundCloud’s co-founder, stepped down from the role of the CEO, with former Vimeo CEO, Kerry Trainor, replacing him. Despite the situation being rather serious at that time, the company is still alive and kicking.
GetResponse is a Polish email marketing and online campaign management platform with more than 350,000 customers worldwide. They have their headquarters in Gdańsk, Poland, but operate globally, with offices in the US, Canada, Malaysia, Russia, and Brazil. GetResponse offers a variety of products, including email marketing, landing pages, marketing automation, CRM, and autoresponders.
Prezi is a presentation software company founded in 2009 in Hungary. According to the company, as of April 2018, Prezi had more than 100 million users who had created more than 325 million public presentations that have been viewed over 3.5 billion times.
Prezi leaves the traditional slide-based presentations behind as their flagship platform is a visual storytelling platform. When you see a presentation made in Prezi, you can easily tell it apart from a PowerPoint one. Prezi presentations feature a map-like overview that lets users pan between topics, zoom in on details – all of that contributes to an interesting alternative to slides.
Brand24 is a social media monitoring tool founded in Poland. The tool lets business discover what people say about their brand and take action in real-time, identify changes in discussion volume, and get a better understanding of who’s talking about your brand and what the customers’ attitudes are thanks to mention analytics and sentiment analysis. Brand24 is used by both startups and enterprises, and their clients include, among others: IKEA, H&M, Intel, Vichy, and GlaxoSmithKline.
InvisibleCRM, also known as Invisible.io, is a technology provider of tools engineered to increase user adoption and ROI of enterprise applications. The company was founded in 2006 in Ukraine, and they now have their offices there, as well as in the US.
Invisible partners with companies such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Deltek. Isn’t that an impressive list? Invisible works within sales automation, marketing automation, social collaboration, service desk and field services, and in other industries.
TransferWise was founded by two friends from Estonia, Taavet Hinrikus and Tristo Kaarmann, in 2010. Taavet was an employee at Skype and was paid in euros, but he lived in London, so he needed pounds to pay rent. Tristo worked and lived in London and got paid in pounds, but he had a mortgage in Estonia, which he needed euros to pay for. They were tired of moving their money the old way and came up with an idea that turned into a billion-dollar business.
TransferWise is now used by more than 4 million users who transfer over 4 billion dollars every month. They’ve opened 11 offices with over 1300 employees across 4 continents.
2checkout, previously known as Avangate, is a Romanian payment platform that allows sellers to accept global payments and was founded in 2006.
The platform currently offers a few products: 2sell, which enables sellers to accept mobile and online payments from buyers worldwide, 2subscribe, which is a subscription management solution to maximize recurring revenue, 2monetize, which is a full commerce solution built for digital goods sales, and additional services to boost online sales. Avangate was acquired by a US-based private equity firm. Today, 2checkout has more than 17000 clients and 4 global offices: 2 in the USA and 2 in Europe.
We’ve covered some of the business apps, now it’s time for fun. Tenor is a GIF keyboard that allows users to search a vast collection of GIFs and insert them into the conversation. Sometimes a GIF speaks more than plain words, it can express an emotion, or give a clever response for you. Plus, exchanging GIFs can be a lot of fun. Tenor was founded in the USA, but the Android app development was outsourced to a company in Romania.
CEE is not “a new Silicon Valley” (and may never be) but it’s surely an important spot on the tech & innovation maps of the world. With a huge pool of talented developers who are experienced in building software products, no wonder CEE is a popular destination for outsourcing software development. What other products built in CEE do you know? Share them in comments!