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Written by Christian Trummer, CTO and Co-Founder
Six years after I coded the first version of what would become Bitpanda, I am now very excited to give you some insights into why we are opening a Technology & Innovation Hub in Krakow, Poland. Long story short, is that we have very ambitious plans and need as many talented engineers as possible who will be able to bring our ideas to life. With Krzysztof Raś, who is joining Bitpanda as VP of Engineering, we have found a great manager to hire and lead 300 world-class engineers in Poland. In doing so, we plan to grow the Bitpanda team substantially in Vienna and Krakow over the next few years.
2020 has been a rough year for many. Luckily, we as a company and team were mostly unaffected by the pandemic. In fact, we doubled our team size to 280 in 2020 and were able to secure the largest Series A funding round in Europe this year. For this, I would like to sincerely thank the whole team and all our users who support us. Now, to accelerate scaling, we will invest €10M in Poland over the next few years to establish a world-class Technology & Innovation Hub in Krakow, in the heart of the Malopolska region and plan to employ a team of 300.
The challenge: Scaling, scaling, scaling
Today, we are building something that has not yet existed in this form. We are building a neobroker that can hold a lot of different asset classes beyond cryptocurrencies and precious metals and that should be as easy to use as possible for our rapidly-growing user base. While our goal is to lower complexity for our users as much as possible, the tech side for allowing exactly this is getting trickier with the more users that we onboard and the more assets that we add. Our core challenge is scalability - the ultimate goal is to have a product that scales seamlessly for millions of users during a bull run. Our task is to build a system that can scale faster than our user base.
To pull this off, we decided to tap into the vibrant Polish tech scene. There, we want to attract and hire the most skilled professionals from the whole region, running from Backend Developers, Web and Mobile Developers, Machine Learning and QA Engineers, DevOps and Blockchain Engineers, Product Owners and Scrum Masters. We are not really looking for engineers who are good in a certain programming language. We are looking for problem solvers in a scale up environment that are good fits to our company culture.
It’s important to note that the Bitpanda Tech Hub will house full product teams that will be able to deliver end-to-end. This means that teams in Krakow as well as in Vienna will build entire products and features, from beginning to end and will then also maintain and improve them on an ongoing basis. We are not just outsourcing things, but we are building fully-fledged teams with everything from Frontend, Backend, Scrum Masters, QA and so on. This is very exciting from an employee perspective. As a team member, you will have full ownership and not just code a tiny fraction of a project handled by others in Vienna.
Hiring top-notch talent in Poland
I truly believe that Poland is the right place for our ambitious plans. It has shown that it is home to skilled, top-notch and qualified tech talent. Placing Bitpanda’s first Technology & Innovation Hub in Krakow, with its globally-renowned developers, an exciting local tech scene and geographical proximity to Vienna, was a pretty clear and, in the end, easy choice for us. Keep in mind that the engineers we will hire will also work from home while the COVID-19 situation is still ongoing.
Both the Vienna and Krakow offices will work closely together. Krakow’s proximity to Vienna was one of the reasons why we decided to open the Tech Hub there, which will allow teams to also meet in person after Corona is under control. As mentioned previously, we will have fully-fledged teams in Poland and also in Vienna that will both work on their own products. Besides that, we will have so-called Chapters, that will, for example, include all our Android developers, that will also be able to exchange ideas no matter where they are working. The goal is that they learn from each other.
More countries, more asset classes
Our plans for 2021 and beyond are ambitious to say the least. We’re not only pushing heavily into new markets like Turkey, France, Italy and Poland, but are working hard on improving and expanding our existing product offerings. Our roadmap is full of amazing stuff, the addition of stocks and ETFs is only one big project out of many others. In order to pull this off, you need proper funding - which we were able to secure through a $52 million Series A financial round, led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and other high-profile fintech investors including Speedinvest in September 2020. But most importantly, you have to invest this money in a clever and efficient way. The whole team and I are extremely excited about this and I’m looking forward to (at least virtually for now) meeting the top talent we will hire over the coming months.
By the way: this week we rolled out Polish language versions across all our services, making it easier for local users to invest with the platform. This reflects once more Bitpanda’s growing international footprint after entering new markets in France, Spain, Turkey and Italy earlier this year.
I’m really looking forward to working with the new product teams who are going to help deliver awesome products and features.