They started as a usual startup in parents apartment back in 2003. That time their product was content aggregators for travel, furniture, and construction. Later, a web studio has been opened, guys made their own CMS for websites and online stores. Life was a pleasant routine, customer portfolio has been growing to hundreds and they might never be featured in this article if a major disruption to their business would not occur in 2008.
2008 was a year of economic crisis that hit the country severely, sales pipeline froze, the city was empty, and web design spending was cut to zero. Looking at the web design industry, it was time, when the majority of the companies have bankrupted and the rest went hibernating for a year or two. What did these guys do to survive? Founder moved abroad and was doing cold calls to web agencies offering their web development services. It was the time when Scandiweb name emerged.
Scandiweb’s Magento beginnings
In one cold call, a potential customer asked, if they work with Magento and that was the moment they discovered the platform.
“Nobody heard about Magento in our country and documentation and training videos became available only years later, so we were learning it by trial-and-error”, recalls Antons.
At first, the team was skeptical (read scared) to work with Magento platform containing 10,000 files and hundreds of SQL tables without documentation, while their own CMS was lightweight and written from scratch by themselves.
Developers still remember, when adding a section in customer account or extending contact form took few days instead of an hour of effort. What an exciting time it was — when days of hopeless attempts culminated with “Eureka! I found it!”. Sometimes they were not leaving the office till a task was completed, that time their homes and office were in the same building, actually.
And here came another challenge — once you learned Magento, how do you validate your skills to customers, who are 10,000 km from your office? Even in our connected world — meeting turned out to be important. And the team was and still is working in Riga, Latvia — a country with a population of 2 million, which is located far from technology centers. The solution for this challenge came from Magento itself, in 2012 they introduced Magento Developers Certification — any developer across the world could pass the exam and be listed in Magento Certification Directory. This exam was created by Magento practitioners, so it was nothing easy to pass without having a few years of hands-on experience with the platform.
“I was the first in Scandiweb to receive Magento certificate. My motivation? To show everyone, that Scandiweb can become the best in the Magento world” tells Viesturs, one of Magento pioneers in Scandiweb.
Team agrees that it was relatively easy to get certified. Sometimes the absence of documentation helps — if you do not have documentation, you need to learn the system inside-out and know every corner of it to be able to navigate there yourself and help fellow colleagues.
The reward came in forms of exciting projects for New York Times, Thomson Reuters, JYSK, Jaguar and LandRover. Scandiweb admits that being on top of Magento Certified Developers directory helped them to win these customers while being located in another country. This year they celebrate a milestone of becoming number one agency worldwide by number of Magento certificates awarded— these are 134 in their team of 150 people, the largest Magento Development team in Europe and US.
Learning Magento inside out and welcoming Magento 2 release made Scandiweb realize how they can improve the eCommerce ecosystem. Now Scandiweb moved to the new unknown — blockchain since it is the most disruptive invention since TCP/IP and WWW. Scandiweb truly believes — what will emerge from blockchain is yet to be seen.
You can learn more about Scandiweb walking in their office and joining a pair programming session with any of their developers, they have “open architecture” approach, walk-ins are welcome! You can also join Junior Academy sessions in their office or one of the Practice Workshops in universities and colleges.
These guys are also known for having legendary parties, check their “Work Hard. Party Harder” gallery on Flickr and follow upcoming news on Facebook. Fun fact about Scandiweb founder to conclude this story — his father made the first dial-up “Internet” connection in the country back in 1986 to avoid carrying perfocards from one datacenter to another.
General Meeting 2015
General Meeting 2017
If you wish to find out more about Scandiweb feel free to drop us a line at [email protected]
On behalf of Antons, CEO and Founder of Scandiweb