sat down with Georgina Lupu, CEO and Founder of Wolfpack Digital, a team of web and mobile developers specialized in digital products launch, to discuss the company’s origins, its evolution, and how it differs from similar companies before getting their expert insights on the current and future trends in the industry.
Please Present Wolfpack Digital To Our Audience. What Services And Products Do You Offer?
Wolfpack Digital is an award-winning web and mobile app development company with offices in Cluj (Transylvania, Romania), and Dublin (Ireland). With a team of 85+ people and an internal product division, we’ve won numerous accolades for our work in fintech, healthtech, beauty, IoT, mobility etc., and have been featured in TechCrunch, Forbes, the App Store, etc. We also enjoy giving back to the community quite a lot, as we believe in paying it forward and making the world a better place, “byte by byte”.
We build digital products start-to-end, and our team is inspired by the values of the Wolf: agile, performant, communicative, inclusive, playful, and dedicated.
In the past couple of years, the company was certified for its security management, quality management, and won multiple awards such as the European Technology Awards for App Development, Best UI Design, Best UX Design,and Best Innovation by CSS Design, it was included in the Clutch 1000 list, it was featured by Brainspotting as a top employer, and it was a winner of the Alpha Hub competition for product strategy.
We are one of the few female-founded and female-led software development companies of this size in Europe.
In terms of services, we offer everything needed to go all the way from the ideation to design & software development, launching, and scaling digital products: product strategy, UX/UI design, web front-end and back-end development, mobile development, project management, and quality assurance & maintenance services.
What’s Your Story? What Sparked The Idea, And How Has It Evolved So Far?
I founded the company back in 2015 with the intention to work on a diverse palette of business cases in an end-to-end manner, covering a wide range of industries: from recruitment to entertainment to financial and health apps.
I am an iOS developer at base, but I’ve always had multiple interests and I have a multidisciplinary educational background (in engineering, business management, psychology, and PR), so this really sparked my entrepreneurial interest – being an entrepreneur is all about covering multiple areas and skills. All the dots connected for me when I realized I love having an impact on all aspects involved in developing a mobile app and/or a web platform, combined with connecting that to product strategy, while coming into contact with multiple innovative ideas. That’s when I went on and founded the company and it has been a beautiful journey ever since!
So far we’ve worked on more than 100 web and mobile apps, and our team has grown sustainably since we started and we are ending 2022 with 85+ people in our team: UX/UI designers, QA testers, web developers, iOS developers, Android developers, Product Owners etc.
We’ve won multiple awards and got recognition both for the work with our clients (such as the European Technology Awards for App Development in 2021), and for being a great employer.
The websites and apps we’ve built have millions of users, and have 4.5+/5 star average ratings.
What Is The Mission Of Wolfpack Digital?
Our mission is to bring performance and beauty to the world through technology, and we do that by creating and growing powerful web and mobile apps start-to-end, for businesses and people in healthtech, beautytech, fintech, IoT, transportation, and entertainment/education.
Who Are Your Typical Customers’ And What Are The Pain Points That You Help Them Solve?
Our customers come from all over the world, but especially from the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Ireland, and also from other countries in the EU. More recently we started working for clients in Asia too. We work with startups, scaleups, and corporations alike (Walgreens Boots Alliance, Musgrave, and Sephora are a few examples of this). We either work directly with founders (technical or non-technical), or with Product Owners from our customer’s side, or with Heads of Innovation in the corporate environment.
The projects we work on range from B2B platforms to B2B2C or B2C platforms, and everything else. Because of that, UX is an essential part of what we do, as is solid backend development. Business cases covered go all the way from a new social media app, to telemedicine platforms connecting patients to doctors, full-platform software development for a brand new eco couriering service, banking platforms, or productivity tools.
Typically, we build the digital products we work on from scratch, from defining requirements to design, backend and frontend development, testing, soft-launching, launching, scaling, and maintaining the web platforms or mobile apps. However, we also enter more flexible collaborations and we are used to working closely with our customer’s technical team, or to covering parts of the software development lifecycle.
We strongly believe in creating value for our customers based on where their needs are! We are here to help customers in need of:
- A reliable software development partner with subject-matter expertise (be it finance, healthcare, mobility etc. – in our 8 years of the market we’ve accumulated extensive knowledge)
- Advanced technical expertise (for various integrations etc.)
- Optimal tech and product solutions to meet their business objectives
- Prototyping and support with idea and MVP validation
- Good & honest communication with their development team
- Efficient cost-management in their digital platform development
- A holistic and both user-centric and business logic-centric approach to design
- A lean approach in product development, to quickly respond to user feedback and adapt to reach product-market fit
What Makes You Stand Out From The Competition?
We really do deliver on what we promise, and we focus on making our journey together to reach the common goals we have with our customers as enjoyable as possible.
We’ve had great feedback from our customers on transparent communication, quality, really caring about the end result, and on finding creative solutions to challenges.
I also believe what makes us different is that we truly stick to our values, and that we are who we say we are – and being out-of-the-box in our approaches, while being reliable, is a big part of our DNA.
We are inspired by the values of the Wolf (the name of the company, Wolfpack Digital, stems from my surname, “Lupu” – meaning “Wolf” in Romanian) in everything that we do – so being agile, dedicated, performant, and working really well in a team are all characteristics that define us, as they define any wolf pack.
In Your Experience, What Are The Most Common Errors Business Make When Planning Their Digital Products?
Probably the most common error is planning to include too many features in the first version of the digital app. Validating your business assumptions as early as possible, and being able to distinguish between the assumptions when measuring results, make all the difference in the world. The earlier we confront the digital product with the realities of the market, the better it is for everyone involved – early adopters, the startup/innovation department developing the product, and the technical team included.
A second common error is spending too little time in the design phase, which is when the earliest validation can actually happen. Avoiding this error can save you huge amounts of cash as you move on, as it’s easier to make changes in this phase than it is later on.
A third error is not following closely enough, on a regular basis, the progress of the product development, so as to give feedback and welcome changes.
And then finally, not spending time really listening and asking the right questions to the end users is an error that can make one fall in love with the idea they have, and not adapt quickly enough to the information they have the opportunity of getting from the market.
Although budgeting is of course super important, so is allowing the space for being agile and adapting to whatever it is we learn from user testing and intermediate launches.
What Trends Are Going To Shape The Future Of Your Industry?
There is definitely interest in encompassing a sustainable dimension in all tech businesses and products getting developed – be it carbon footprint calculation or something else. I believe Greentech is going to grow massively in the next few years, and there is also strategic backing for it doing so from governments, the EU etc..
Additionally, AI is officially stepping out of the buzzword area and is already here to massively disrupt the way we work, live, and play. ChatGPT is an example of how extended the capabilities have become, and it’s definitely going to leave a mark on all human activities, as will other AI and ML-based applications.
I also believe that all businesses developing digital platforms will focus more on creating value, and less on aggressive growth, which means that features chosen for implementation will be more carefully selected, and the lean approach with more focus on results, and less focus on volume, will be more closely followed. Quality, combined with agility, are starting to matter more and more, and this is something that I feel very happy about – knowing that this is also something we deliver well at Wolfpack Digital. Sometimes you can build so much more with a smaller, performant team, than with a large team of average performers burdened by inertia. This also translates into better return-on-investment for your web application or mobile app.
Lastly, Any Exciting News Or Developments That You Would Like To Share About Wolfpack Digital?
We are happy to have been featured in TechCrunch this year, and also in Clutch’s Top 100 Companies with Sustained Growth list. Another great recognition for us this year was being included in Bucharest Stock Exchange’s top 50 Romanian companies in the “Made in Romania” project.
We are starting 2023 with 45% women in our team, and we look forward to continuing innovating next year by bringing digitalization in healthcare, finance, beauty, mobility and other fields!
Also, we look forward to expanding our operations in Ireland, where we’ve opened a branch in 2022.
The apps we have been working on are truly exciting, a few examples being the fintech platform Everon from Switzerland, the “No7 Pro Derm” skin scanning app for Walgreens Boots, or BrainCapture – a healthcare app democratizing access to EEG scans around the world.