“Entering the Polish market should be the next step for every business out there. While Estonians have very great ideas, they should move to Poland to proceed quicker,” says Alan Turower, Division Manager at Finestmedia in Poland.
His advice to companies who are considering entering this vast land of opportunities is simple: do it. If your idea works, it will act as an accelerator for your business, and you will blossom much quicker. If it doesn’t – at least you didn’t waste any more time on it. Better sooner than later, as they say.
If it wasn’t for the pioneers at Finestmedia who made this very same decision in 2018, the article you’re reading right this second would probably not exist. A few years later the branch in Poland has grown to a 5-people team of professionals aiming to double in size by the end of the year. Turower is convinced that this will be a fully achievable goal as the talent pool is not only many times bigger than in Estonia, but also with great abilities.
“Polish developers are known for their proficient problem-solving skills. One reason for this might be that our education is largely based on math. As a result, many students become excellent at solving complicated algorithmic problems. Although this might not be the best fit for the modern world, it’s the perfect background for an IT developer,” Alan says and is convinced, that it’s also one of the reasons why Polish students are on top of the lists at the IT-Olympics each year. So if there’s a problem you need help with, starting from founding companies to finding ways to operate quickly, it’s something that the Polish excel in.
As you can't be equally good at everything, the focus for the Finestmedia team in Gdansk is on creating fintech solutions – creditworthiness checking systems, KYC and AML-processes, automated reporting solutions, self-service portals. One of their biggest clients they currently work with is a bank with Estonian roots that operates in the 48 billion EUR Baltic and Polish consumer finance markets and accepts deposits from Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Finestmedia has developed a system for checking the creditworthiness of the client.
“Focusing on fintech solutions made a lot of sense, since many of the team members have a background in banking and building tax programs,” Alan says. “Fintech industry is developing at a very rapid pace, so as the team grows, I believe we’ll have an even more comprehensive approach to our services. Today the hot topics are of course AML and KYC, since more and more companies are required to apply these rules to ensure the safety of their processes. Having a bigger team would mean, that we would not only have more knowledge in these key-topics, but we could also add on some new services for our clients.”
According to him, their strong suit is not only technical excellence but also deep business knowledge in the banking sector. So, when it comes to growing the company, one of their first goals is to add testers and business analysts to the team, so they could offer whole teams instead of single developers for their business clients. “And of course, I’d love to have an infrastructure specialist on the team to help us offer these services in the cloud,” Alan adds. Speaking more long-term – one day Alan hopes that their team will also be able to offer services connected with open banking. “Open banking is becoming a major source of innovation that is promised to reshape the banking industry.”
And it’s not only Estonian companies who are discovering the benefits of opening a branch in Gdansk – in the last few years it has become a center of attraction for many Scandinavian companies thanks to its cultural similarities to Nordic countries and a convenient location by the Baltic Sea. “You could even say it’s an extension of the Nordic countries in Central Europe. Thanks to our excellent location it creates many win-win situations for people and businesses alike. Gdansk is where people who’d like to work in an international environment and businesses looking to hire the best talents meet,” says Alan.
In his opinion, recruitment is also something that sets them apart from other IT companies: Finestmedia has an excellent eye for talent. Although the team consists of 4 developers and a sales manager, you could say that in a sense, they have their own recruitment department – Finestmedia shares office space with a recruiting company called Nord HR, which has helped to build the entire Finestmedia team in Poland. And will definitely continue to do so in the future as well.
“Compared to Estonia, there are almost 30 times more people living in Poland. We have at least a dozen very good universities across the country, where thousands of talented people graduate each year to start their professional careers. And even if we don’t usually recruit straight from school, it’s reassuring to know that we don’t need to worry about the next generation,” Alan says.
“Furthermore, last months have shown that we don’t even have to limit ourselves with the Polish borders. Yes, there are projects where we cannot involve people without language skills, but there are also projects where the international background is an advantage. Convenient location and a diverse range of air connections mean that we are carefully considering any specialist, who is willing to visit Gdansk about once a month. The only thing important is that the person is a solution-oriented IT specialist, who’s passionate about working in a team of international experts. Bonus points for a background in finance,” he adds with a twinkle in his eye.