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  • Paulius

LupaHistory: Random talks are crucial for growing business

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Let’s talk about the very beginning of LupaSearch. Since I really like stories, I'll start with a short tale that will take our time machine back to 2014. I promise, like in every good story, there is a moral at the end. It’s a story about what’s most important in starting a new business and why you always need to have some time for random banter.

Ideas need the right space to grow

Almost a decade ago, the Adeo Web team of 15 ecommerce developers felt that they had outgrown their office space in Kaunas University of Technology premises. It was time to think about a Class A office. I browsed the classifieds every night until I quickly realized that it was not going to be easy. At that time, class A offices were opening in the capital Vilnius, not in Kaunas.

Looking for compromises, I got into a conversation with the owners of a big space in Savanoriu street. Everything sounded nice, but there was a little catch. It was a furniture store. We had to turn it into an office ourselves.

The space was way bigger than we could handle at that time, so I started talking to those who could be interested in sharing it. Algirdas Stonys from software development company TeleSoftas raised his hand high. He also invited his friend Liudas Ubarevičius with a game development studio SneakyBox and the joint construction project began.

Three of us signed the contract, sat down on the bare floor of our future office, and started brainstorming what kind of space this could be. Clearly, it was not the office of one company, it was not an incubator, it was not a co-working space... It was something unique that we had to invent ourselves at the time. And this is how Blaster space was born.

Space for positive punk rock

Blaster had a lot of space, a lot of colors, a lot of noise, and a lot of room for creativity. Here we all grew, learned and got stronger as individual people and as businesses.

The walls were there, but they were transparent and paper thin, so you could hear everything happening around. It meant that companies that seemed to have little in common (game development, software development and ecommerce) were bound to communicate and get to know each other better.

Today I realize that it goes against all good productivity practices and ISO safety standards, but this colorful open-space was something at the time that allowed us to create a solid foundation for learning to collaborate and trust each other. It was a space of positive punk rock where we could all jam along.

The first fruits of being together - LupaSearch

During those years, my "roommates" and I became friends and good partners who often worked together and sometimes even pulled each other out of tricky situations. Liudas and I used to meet during the coffee breaks to get a little random talk about pretty much anything business-related.

During one such conversation, my colleague Vaidas got excited about product search software: during COVID, the search numbers increased tenfold, but most of the results were below expectations. The clients were not happy and the retailers were not using this opportunity.

Wait, we know e-commerce, we have the talent for quality development, we are full of ideas... Why not do it better ourselves?

This is where the engine of collective thinking started. We gradually started investing both finances and part of our time. With experience in IT services, we quickly realized that a product alone will not be enough to satisfy the demanding nature of ecommerce. We also need a high level of customization, adaptability, consulting and a general vision of how to further expand our client’s ecommerce projects.

And here we have LupaSearch - an internal search software solving search challenges for ecommerce products and internal systems.

The LupaSearch project is turning two years old in December, and we are doing really well today. During these two years, we have developed our tool and implemented a number of integrations with some big players in the Baltic region. We have already proven in the local market that we can rub shoulders with the established leaders of this sector.

There’s time for play and time for serious work

No matter how fun it is to hang out with colleagues bouncing new ideas off each other, a sense of reality eventually kicks in - we cannot suddenly abandon our previous responsibilities and businesses and plunge into new projects.

Good ideas need to be delegated to talented people who would take them to the next level. About a year ago the stars aligned and we met Rasa, who has now taken over the Lupa CEO flag and is carrying it high to see the entire field of brutal online competition.

This is how we formed a unique team: Rasa had extensive experience working with large-scale enterprise businesses, SneakyBox team members have been developing software solutions for almost a decade, and us, Adeo Web, seasoned experts in eCommerce knew how to successfully sell online. An explosive cocktail, surely.

We all perfectly understand that big projects are not built in a year. Sometimes you have to be prepared for the journey to be long, winding and unpredictable.

I believe that’s the reality of any new initiative: a personal physical challenge, learning a language, growing a new business, or instilling another habit into your daily rituals. No matter what you do, there won't be an elevator that immediately takes you to the top.

Instead, you will find a lot of stairs that can look like piano keys. Make the music you love and eventually you will play your own symphony at the Albert Hall. Or not. But you shouldn't regret starting the journey, because every day has been a new discovery along the way.

A moral about trust and partners

And now it's time for the promised moral. With every major project, sooner or later you realize that you can't do it all alone. You need people you can trust. How to find them? How to know who you can really trust?

In my search for answers I follow these guidelines:

  1. It is impossible not to make mistakes if you are doing something for the first time. A sustainable partnership doesn't just come out of the blue. It requires spending time and working together. Mutual respect and understanding that not everything will go according to plan is a good starting ground.

  2. In order to be able to trust people, you have to go over bumps on the road first. This is the only way to see the true colors of a character. Great teams look at these bumps more like an adventure than a defeat.

  3. Above all, the long-term process wins. Too many VCs gloss over this part and say that speed is the most important ingredient. Here’s the investment: go and achieve all your goals within a year. Yes, speed is important, but long term grind is even more crucial for success.

In the last paragraph I just want to wish you to find such partners with whom you can grow and whom you can trust. Common spaces and common activities, even if born simply from random banter at the office, are one of the easiest ways to do it. It's too early to tell if LupaSearch will be a big success story of this, but I promise you will definitely hear about us again. And if you're wondering how such a search solution can benefit your business, let's talk.

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