Slovakia: Chicago tech scene’s best-kept secret

Chicago is one of the biggest spots for technology innovation in the U.S., with startups across the city angling to become the next Google or Groupon. As these companies work to launch new products and gain a foothold in their industries, top talent is in high demand. To source the technical skill sets they need, many are looking far beyond the Windy City to an emerging hotbed for talent: Slovakia.

With its own blossoming startup scene, highly educated workforce and attractive cost structure, Slovakia is becoming a go-to resource for highly skilled developers and designers. The rapid growth of Creatix highlights how these partnerships drive value for everyone involved. Creatix’s Slovak-based development team serves a growing global base of clients across fintech, insurtech, healthtech and other high-tech sectors. By working to establish or support development teams, improve speed to market, and enhance business value, Creatix is helping Chicago-based startups and established companies alike innovate faster.

Looking beyond U.S. borders to meet demand

Chicago’s tech community has undergone a recent renaissance, thanks to enthusiastic support from Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, flowing investor capital and a seemingly endless supply of disruptive ideas. According to CompTIA, Chicago had more than 14,000 tech businesses in 2017 based on payroll figures, which employed nearly 342,000 workers. And those workers still aren’t enough to meet demand — the number of software developer positions nationwide is expected to grow another 24 percent by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s why many Chicago tech companies are looking beyond U.S. borders to build specialized, high-functioning offshore development teams. Slovakia is quickly becoming a hub for these teams, with one-third of local startups serving clients internationally, the Slovak Challengers 2017 report found. As demand from Chicago’s business community shows no signs of slowing, high-caliber technical institutes like Slovak University of Technology and Comenius University in Bratislava are helping to produce a steady pipeline of tech talent.

Collaborating successfully across continents

For Creatix, a relentless focus on skill development and client service has helped it deliver significant value to its high-tech clientele. Chicago-based insurtech company GoHealth partnered with Creatix in 2015 to help power its private insurance shopping platform, giving the company a competitive advantage in a tight labor market and helping to improve access to coverage for millions of people.

In addition to supporting GoHealth’s growing technology platform, Creatix builds specialized captive offshore development teams to serve a range of Chicago-based clients across fintech, healthcare and other high-tech industries. Whether clients need a turnkey team to launch a new app or additional bandwidth for their in-house staff, Creatix offers a deep bench of developers and designers who can deliver high-quality work more efficiently than their U.S.-based peers. To ensure the success of these partnerships, Creatix focuses on:

  • Close collaboration. Creatix works with clients to establish clear roles for internal and client-side members as part of an integrated team, creating a continuous feedback loop that fuels productivity and innovation. During its recent development of EverMarketsExchange, an institutional-grade cryptocurrency trading platform, Creatix worked with client EMX to collaborate in real time on designs and held daily scrums to share ideas, challenges and solutions. Creatix’s Slovak-based developers are proficient in English, helping to minimize any communication barriers. The Team also makes the most of time differences, using the overlapping hours of each team’s workday to connect on milestones and questions, and leveraging the remaining time wisely for up to 16 total hours of uninterrupted productivity.
  • Wide-ranging technical expertise. Using best practices and the latest tools enables Creatix to deliver projects that meet the most exacting quality standards. For example, a product prototyping process and one-click continuous integration help the development team iterate on designs and build quickly.
  • Investing in its team. With competition for skilled developers fierce in Chicago and Slovakia, Creatix prioritizes its working culture to support employee recruitment and retention. Team members work on high-visibility projects using the latest technologies, such as JS, Kotlin and Gauge. Additional employee perks include competitive pay, mentorship from senior team leaders, a flexible work schedule, a collaborative culture, and health and wellness perks.

As Chicago’s tech scene continues to grow, so will the need for skilled developers. By offering access to quality, cost-effective talent, Slovakian teams like Creatix’s are giving high-growth tech companies a competitive edge.