Looking back at 2017
Kiwi.com and Jiří Sauer from Deloitte assess the last season of Technology Fast 500 EMEA
Three questions for… Kiwi.com
You became the fastest growing technology company in Central Europe. In the EMEA region, you took the amazing 7th place. What is your reaction to your results in the Deloitte Technology Fast competition in 2017?
We are happy about both the awards but the last one is something else – we measured our forces against large companies from a much larger region, so naturally we are even more pleased about that. But above all it is an award for more than one thousand employees working at the Kiwi.com headquarters.
What will your next steps be?
We have a name in the tourist industry, which is a sign that we are not doing badly and that the decisions we make are the right ones. So our goals are clear: growth, more markets, expansion of our areas of activity. We no longer want to focus only on flights, but also on rail and bus transportation. We are investing in a mobile application and other technologies, customer support; in short, everything that will help us move forward.
And what about next year – how do you see your chances in the next season of the competition?
Defending such a great ranking will be more complicated for us, as will be achieving the same growth rate. In the last four years we grew by 1,000%, which is an amazing result. Next year we would like to grow at least by 100%. This result will probably not allow us to place among the top ten fastest growing companies in the EMEA region.
Gilles Karlé, Executive Consultant – Strategic Management, Kiwi.com
7th place Technology Fast 500 EMEA
1st place Technology Fast 50 CE
Three questions for… Prusa Research
You placed among the Top 10 fastest growing companies in the EMEA region and you were third in Central Europe. What do you think about your results?
We are doing well, so the result could have been even better. Unfortunately the development of our new 3D printer that everyone was waiting for got slightly delayed. We expect to multiply the speed of our growth next year as well.
We are expanding our business to the American market where we are establishing an American entity. We are planning an online marketplace for 3D models and other 3D printing technologies. Next year we won’t be producing just 3D printers, we also want to produce our own filaments, which are the feedstock used for printing. This way we will finally cover the whole ecosystem, so far we have only had our own software and hardware, so if you wanted to print using cheap, low-quality material, it wouldn’t necessarily turn out well. This is something that we understand but until now we didn’t have enough people or time for it.
You produce most of the components you use. What led you to this?
We generally try to produce as much as we can ourselves – whenever we produce something externally, we are usually disappointed in the suppliers. They promise a certain quantity at a certain time but they deliver the result late or in a different amount or quality than we need. We have a huge number of component suppliers, so it’s enough if one of them fails to delivery and the entire production comes to a standstill.
In February we will open a public space in our premises – PrusaLab, where we want to build a “makers” community: with lasers, large CNCs, everything for soldering as well as Arduino courses. Anyone will able to go there to realise their own project. As such we have a building in central Prague with 6,000 m2, where there is absolutely everything, from development and production to offices for managing company and warehouse operations.
You export worldwide, it almost looks like your 3D printers are absolutely everywhere…
That will still take some time, although we now already export to 130 countries. Unfortunately, 3D printing, where you print computer models using melted plastic, is by definition not completely user-friendly for regular users who are able to operate a 2D printer at most.
People generally have to come back to creating something themselves and not being only consumers of contents or products thrown at them by everyone around them. This is gradually starting to improve, in America, for example, people are again enjoying the actual process of creating. The possibility of assembling a 3D printer is then a logical outcome of this creative process. But I often hear about people, for example, in Africa who build a printer on their own using broken parts that are brought there from all over the world, and that gives me hope.
Josef Průša, CEO of 3D printer manufacturer Prusa Research
9th place Technology Fast 500 EMEA
3rd place Technology Fast 50 CE
Three questions for… Deloitte
Jiří Sauer, leader of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE ranking, comments on the success of Czech companies Kiwi.com and Prusa Research, which placed in the top ten of the Fast 500 EMEA competition.
Two companies in TOP 10 and another three among the 500 fastest growing companies in EMEA, these are great results for the Czech Republic.
In 2017 Czech companies actually achieved the best results in the history of the Competition. I will be very happy if this year’s success inspires other Czech companies not only to further development, but also to participate in our competition where they can compare themselves with international competitors.
How come that the companies managed to conquer Central European limits in 2017? What did they do that previous participants had not?
All the five companies that ranked appeal to customers worldwide, they are not limited by the size and specifics of the local market. In previous years, the companies that succeeded in our ranking were mostly the ones that were able to combine lower costs of the Central European region with the demand of the EU market. In the current comparison, the successful products and services were those offering a universal solution for the global market. I am convinced that they would be just as successful if they had been created in any other country.
This year’s winner, the British company Deliveroo that engages in food delivery, reached an immense growth rate of 107,117%. Do Kiwi.com and Prusa Research stand a chance of exceeding the 100,000 growth rate threshold?
The growth rate of the winner Deliveroo is almost hard to imagine, the company’s sales increased more than a thousand times in four years. It would be very difficult for Kiwi.com and Prusa Research to achieve a similar level of growth, although I believe that it is in their power, since they are both among the best in the world in their field. An equally important matter will then be handling the achieved growth in terms of management and keeping the company successful in the long term.