Kristo Ovaska

Top 3 Things that Have Made our First 3 Years Possible

By Kristo Ovaska on August 8, 2016

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Earlier this summer, we celebrated the 3rd anniversary of Smartly.io together with the whole team, our families and close friends. In three years, we’ve grown from just two founders into a team of almost 90 professionals. We owe our healthy growth to three things: our amazing team, our great customers and partners at Facebook, and our ethos of maximizing learning at all times.

 

Our customers are at the core of our business

The guiding principle of building Smartly.io has been, since the very beginning,  about listening to our customers’ problems, understanding them deeply and solving them in close cooperation with the customers. Back in the very early days, my cofounder Tuomo single-handedly coded the first version of the tool, while at the same time running around in customer meetings with me, demoing and collecting feedback. In these meetings, we were able to lock down many of the key features that still are core pieces of the Smartly.io tool.

We want to thank our customers for all their valuable input and help in developing Smartly.io over the years. We continue to work very closely with our customers - developing features based on their needs and iterating our product based on their feedback. All of the close to 90 present-day Smartlies are unified by the common interest towards truly helping and adding value to our customers - even our developers attend client meetings regularly, to maintain a good grasp of what they really need and appreciate in the tool.

In addition, we thank Facebook for helping us grow during our 3-year journey. As a Facebook Marketing Partner we have been able to work closely with Facebook in product development as well as sales and marketing. Facebook also has an active partner ecosystem that helped us to get started in the early days.

 

Our growing family of Smartlies makes it all happen

There are two things me and Tuomo are most proud of at Smartly.io. The first is our team of brilliant, resourceful and hungry Smartlies. We always hire to elevate, never just to delegate, and we have been lucky to hire tech-savvy, smart and quick learners, who have brought new ideas to the table, and who constantly surprise us with how great, out-of-the-box solutions they come up with in developing the product and tackling our bottlenecks.

The second thing we’re proudest of at Smartly.io is the amazing company culture we’ve been able to create together with the whole team. At Smartly.io, everyone is an owner and has stock options, which we see translating into everyone being committed, responsible, and truly interested in the company’s success in the long run. A healthy work life balance, flat hierarchy and insane transparency in vision and context allow teams to have full autonomy in resolving problems the way they think is best, which builds ownership and a happier team.

 

And that third thing - it’s all about learning

Working close to the customers and nurturing the team’s motivation and potential are accompanied by a third highly essential building block, which is encoded in the DNA of every Smartly. We maximize learning at all times, and it can be seen in all the decisions we make as a team and as a company.

Since the very early days, we’ve always gone for the most challenging option. We’ve chosen the most demanding clients. We haven’t settled for being big just in Europe, but have gone for the biggest performance advertisers in the US and Asia, too. Similarly, we haven’t been satisfied with the current level of customer support in the industry. We want ours to be the best in the industry, and that’s why everyone is doing it. Including me and Tuomo.

The success of Smartly.io depends on how we can, as individuals, as a team and as a company, learn and develop quickly. Learning quickly is about taking challenges head on, and not going for the easy way out. But it’s also about being very humble and aware of how we can be even better in what we do, which means asking for feedback and taking actions based on it.

 

Smartly.io Vital Stats

  • Team is 87 strong.
  • HQ in Helsinki, offices in San Francisco, Berlin, Singapore and New York.
  • 24/5 live support operated by the entire team on all time zones.
  • Nationalities on board include Finnish, Ukrainian, German, Austrian, Lebanese, Australian, British, French, Spanish, Italian, Lithuanian, Indian, Russian, Iranian and Chilean.
  • Average age is 29 years, 10 months and 29 days.

Where will we head next?

On the business side, Smartly.io will continue taking online advertising automation to the next level. It should be way easier and quicker for customers to create, manage, optimize and track ad campaigns, get results and grow their business in Facebook. We’re constantly accelerating our product development speed, which is one of the competitive values of our business. We've opened offices in San Francisco, Berlin, New York and Singapore, which means we're now operating in all time zones and we see great potential in global expansion.

In the future, the Smartly.io family will continue to grow, especially in terms of our engineering, US and Asia teams. This means that we have to pay extra attention to cultivating the great culture we’ve hosted so far, still remaining a flat organization with strong, autonomous teams. Even though we’re under pressure to hire quickly, we’ll stick to our high standards in recruiting, and make sure that Smartly.io is the best place to learn and develop for the smartest, nicest and most ambitious people.

In just 3 years, Smartly.io has grown to a recognized player in the global online advertising business, but as the saying goes: “We’re only 1% ready”. We have an astounding potential to learn and develop, and we’re still in the very beginning of our journey of helping online businesses grow and acquire customers worldwide.

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