94: Wrike Brings Project Management Software Into The 21st century
I recently came across a company called Wrike. They have a simple aim of helping every team perform their best across the hall or across the globe. No matter the workflow Wrike enhances communication, transparency, and accountability to achieve results. That’s right across marketing teams, writing teams, and more traditional project management teams. In fact, in their words, all teams.
I invited their CEO and founder, Andrew Filev, onto the show. He’s got an amazing story of growing up in St. Petersburg Russia craving technology and dreaming of one day making his way to Silicon Valley. We’ve all had similar dreams, but Andrew actually made it happen. By the time they even reached Series B funding in 2015 they had six million in the bank already. Wrike’s revenue has grown 120 percent in the last year alone.
Can you tell the listeners a little about yourself and what you do?
My name is Andrew Filev. I’m the founder and CEO of Wrike. That’s where I spend most of my time and outside of work I’ve got a beautiful wife and a couple of kids.
Can you tell us a little about your personal background and where you’re from?
I am originally from St Petersburg Russia, which is not your typical place for a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. When I was growing up, I was probably the furthest away from technology. I spent my summers near the sea mostly reading books because there was nothing else to do. At the same time, I was craving technology. I first became interested in computers when I was seven years old, I couldn’t get enough of it. When I grew older, I started saving all the money I could to buy used computer parts, and by the age of 12 or 13 I had assembled my own computer and taught myself to program.
Do you think that craving for technology made you strive for the success you have today?
It did partially. It built perseverance to some degree. I remember needing to access the internet because I wanted to learn programming and the only way to get it was to set the alarm for 5 AM to get a free hour of dial-up.
For anyone who has never heard of Wrike can you tell us what it is and about your journey?
It is a product that helps teams work much more efficiently. This is a problem that’s dear to my heart. I faced it myself personally when I was running the first company I created. It started with a couple guys in a room and grew super fast. The next thing we knew in a couple years we had 100 people spread over three countries. We created a product that allows teams to work together and move much faster.
Who are your typical customers and what makes it different from other project management or productivity software?
I’ve always worked in software, but I was looking for a solution that would be helpful for business users and basically everyone in the company. It wasn’t just created to manage an engineering team, marketing team or design team, it was created as a product that would glue all of those together and help them interact with each other. That’s one fundamental difference. Another key difference is there are a lot of products on the market that are super simple and a lot that is super powerful. I wanted both. I knew I could build simple, I knew I could build powerful, but wouldn’t it be fun to build something simple and powerful? So regular business folks could use it and understand it every day and at the same time get the same benefits.
What’s next for you guys?
I talk to my team about how right now we have more than 10,000 customers. This is amazing when we think back to the day when we had our first customer sign up. I also talk to my team about the fact that literally millions of companies need a tool like this. How do we get from here to there? It’s an important question. Right now we’re working on two major fronts. One is we continue to make the overall platform more simple and powerful. That’s the same basic concept we started with. We don’t feel like we’re at the end stage, we feel like we’re just starting. There are so many great things we can bring to the market and to the customers. The second area is going after specific audiences as well. If you’re a marketer, we want you to have something amazing. We will gradually add more audiences so if you’re an engineer or are in business operations you would go into the product and feel like it’s your product like it’s a product created specifically for you.
If anyone is listening who wants more information what’s the best way to reach out?
Our website is www.wrike.com. You can sign up for a free trial or contact our friendly support team.