Growing a team is an important stage in the development of any IT company. At the same time, working remotely has become a norm since 2020, as it enables people to work from any part of the world. The last one year, with the assistance of Hypoport Sofia, Hypoport B.V. ‘s team has increased the number of its members by establishing a team here in Bulgaria. About the cooperation between the two companies, how they’re innovating the financial world, and how they see the IT market in Bulgaria, we talked to Sven Tervoort, who is the IT Director of Hypoport B.V..
Tell us a bit more about the history of Hypoport B.V. and the platform you are developing.
Sven Tervoort: Hypoport B.V. was founded in 2002 in Amsterdam as PROMMISE B.V. by a couple of friends who met at university and thought the structured finance world needed more transparency. The initial version of our application was built by externally hired developers but soon the company started building its own development team. In 2007 after 5 years, PROMMISE B.V. became part of the Hypoport family and was renamed to Hypoport B.V. to also focus on international clients in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Your team has expanded since 2022, including the addition of a team in Bulgaria. Could you share the story of your collaboration with Hypoport Sofia?
Sven Tervoort: Honestly, we were always a bit hesitant to hire developers outside of the Netherlands who don’t speak Dutch for that matter. As it became harder and harder to find local developers who spoke the language, we dropped that 2nd requirement. With English being more prevalent in the office and Hypoport Sofia feeling closer to home than other enterprises, we thought it was time to give it try.
What is your opinion about the Bulgarian market compared to the Dutch market?
Sven Tervoort: It’s a bit difficult to get a good overview from a distance, which is why we are happy with Hypoport Sofia helping us out.
In general, I would say the hiring process is a lot quicker than in the Netherlands. Here, when we receive a resume, in best case scenario the hiring process is within a week or two and then that person starts 2 months later. In Bulgaria the initial process is a matter of days, sometimes even a singe day and the candidate starts quite quickly. This took some time to get used to. It feels like Bulgarians switch jobs a little easier than the Dutch.
What are the key skills you look for when selecting team members?
Sven Tervoort: We focus on people who like to be part of a team, especially because it takes a bit more effort to form a team as there is such a large physical distance between members. The candidates should be willing to put in that extra effort. As our software is quite complex and for a niche market within the financial world, the candidate should be willing to learn about the business as well. With constantly changing specifications the candidate should be able to adapt quickly and always ask questions to get to the root of the issue (Pro Tip: it’s “why” not “what” ). And finally, a desire to always learn new things.
What strategies do you apply to foster team cohesion when the team members are geographically dispersed – in Amsterdam and Sofia?
Sven Tervoort: We try to have either the members from Sofia over in Amsterdam or the other way around at least twice a year. Basically, we try to treat them as colleagues who are working from home, and home just happens to be a bit further away. So, if team members in Amsterdam are taking an Azure course, we offer the members in Sofia to take the same course. Even though we call it ‘our team in Sofia’ in reality each one of them is a member of at least one team in Amsterdam.
What are your plans for the team in Bulgaria and your work with it?
Sven Tervoort: With one of our local hires moving back in Bulgaria, I think size-wise we are good for now. I would like to see if we could meet physically a little bit more often, because that has a tremendously positive impact on the cohesion of the team (not to mention the productivity).
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