How to construct business of the company “Initium”, which produces terminals and to navigate malls, and plans to participate in the preparation of urban spaces to the world Cup. In 1998 Sergey Gudkov graduated from Moscow state pedagogical University. He studied at the graphic art faculty, and curiosity started to learn HTML, which enabled him soon to get a teacher of web design in one of the first of the capitals design schools.
While the interface design was in its infancy, and many developers of digital products or refuse the design, or used it without considering the interests and behavior of users. “If only it was beautiful,” — says Gudkov.
He decided to find a good balance between attractiveness and functionality of the interface — how easy to navigate the page of superfluous elements, the number of operations necessary to make the user to move from section A to section B, and so on. In 1999 he graduated from the University.
First job as a senior designer digital division edition of “Extra M”, and then moved to the position of UI designer at CNET Networks, and for several years became a project Manager and usability expert at the company, interacting with teams from America, Switzerland, Germany and France. Over time, Gudkov has noticed that the developers of Russian companies lacked experience and expertise for developing functional design beautiful products with easy UX.
At that time there were several companies who were only usability services. After receiving the layout, the customer was forced to give it to third-party designers, and this joint has a lot of problems. Comfortable is not always wanted to become beautiful. Before University Sergey Gudkov graduated from art school.
There he met his future business partner Nicholas Goslawski. Together they began to think about creating their own business. They came up with the idea. To unite in one team UX professionals and designers.
First, the partners worked together. Then they rented an office and hired designers. The co-founders decided to name the company “Initium”. In Latin this word means “beginning” or “good initiative”. “Sounds better than some “interactive solution”,” — says the entrepreneur.
Partners suggested that the companys services will be in demand, but they needed to find first customers. Nicholas goslawski in the past headed the projects “alpha Bank”. Knowing the specifics of the banking sector, he knew how to offer banks a new service — usability and interface design.
The first major customer of the company became members of — the organization was required to develop interface applications to work with debtors. Then worked the word of mouth, and the chain began to address the representatives of other banks. In the mid 2000-ies “Entium” developed interfaces for ATMs, “VTB 24”, “NOMOS-Bank” and “KIT Finance”.
The development of the company slowed the crisis of 2007-2009, which went bankrupt or were on the verge of bankruptcy of key customers — for example, “KIT Finance”. The founders of the company tried to attract investment to scale the business in 2008, but crisis has prevented the plans, and they had to develop on their own funds.
Hooters blames Russian investors in the early two thousandth unwillingness to take risks. They invested the money only if the idea / product already exist in the West and makes a profit.
So the company had to adapt to the changing economic environment and look for ways to survive market instability. Partners have seen that when sags one segment, “sink” all focused contractors. They decided to cover several areas of the state and the private sector, commercial real estate and retail trade.
Partners needed to find a new source of income. They began to look for a niche where they could apply the experience gained. Their attention was drawn to the navigation problem. Appeared the first modern business centers and malls with a large number of tenants and visitors feel inconvenient to look for their location.
Then they had the idea. To develop a navigation terminal. Using the touch screen, users could enter a company name or look her on an interactive map, and the system indicated her location.
To do this, “Initium” has developed its own software Directorix and began to look for a project where I can apply. By 2009, in St. Petersburg it was planned to open Presidential library, which was going to equip the modern variety of multimedia systems.
The implementation of the project were the British company PBDS. He suggested the creation of the navigation system, and the British turned to the “Initium”. The Russian company introduced software for vertical and horizontal touch screens with a diagonal of 24 and 65 inches.
“At that time, it was definitely the biggest touch screen in Russia. In addition to navigation, we have made the interface for the opening ceremony, which was attended by President Medvedev. According to the script he pressed a button on the terminal and on the screen behind him cut the tape,” — says Gudkov. The yard was in 2008-2010.
When we say “touch terminal”, people represented the payment terminal QIWI. Then in Russia the first “grey” iPhone. And we explained to the buyers that our terminal — how the smartphone from Apple, only in human growth. According to estimates Gudkov, the cost of the project amounted to several tens of thousands of dollars.
The companys financial position has improved, and the partners began to look for new ideas for business development. They drew attention to the retail trade. In early 2010-ies in this field are still lacking digital solutions that can improve the quality of service or increase sales.
The shop owners are having similar with the owners of shopping centers the problem. The range of products increased, sellers were becoming more difficult to remember technical specifications, and customers — to navigate the items.
Many people came into the store, only to hold the product in your hands, and then order it cheaper online competitors with home delivery. Then the founders “Initium” began to think about how to catch this audience.
They came up with the idea of the touch terminal with access to the database store. First, the device facilitated the process of purchase. The client to enter a name or a product category, studied characteristics and can compare with the other position. Second, it helped to purchase “here and now”. The buyer has checked the availability of goods in stock and purchased it at the price the online store.
If the product was not in stock, it was delivered the next day to the store or for a house buyer. This allowed the store to lose customers. We didnt do a deep analysis of the market. We had a good experience.
He was allowed to grasp the General trends and to understand what is happening. At that time it was a “blue ocean”. Similar products or concepts was not. At least in Russia.
Co-founders called the system Know2buy. They offered to act as the supplier of the equipment manufacturer for the automation systems business, “Shtrikh-M”. The company was interested and agreed to develop a prototype device for free — drawing and design “Initium”. In 2010, the largest screens of the terminals does not exceed 17 inches, and for a project with Svyaznoy “Shtrikh-M” made the device a 26-inch.
Beeps and goslawski decided to go new for that time, SaaS model, selling equipment and supplying FOR as a service for the monthly fee. However, it had problems again. Entrepreneurs do not know how to position a completely new product.
The founders of “Initium” understood that without customization and deep integration with business processes customer their product will be useless. They were lucky with the first client. Know2buy interested in the co-founder of the network of stores “Svyaznoy” and the adviser of the General Director “the WHALE of Finans” Maxim Nogotkov.
He was personally involved in the process. Beeps and goslawski discussed with him and the business and technical nuances — which way will the user during interaction with the terminal should look like the device that will be on the screen at the moment, when no one is using, and so on.
“Initium” and equipped with terminals 240 points of “Coherent”. Assessment of Gudkov, the volume of sales through retail outlets, equipped Know2buy increased on average by 15%. “It was a very interesting project, which confirmed that the system not only has the right to life, and really brings a significant profit.”.
The companys founders realized that if they want to continue to develop POS terminals and navigation systems, then sooner or later they will have to open its own production. They could not influence the quality of products from other manufacturers and quickly make changes in the hardware. In addition, they understood that working in such a field, which can significantly increase profit by offering customers customized solutions tailored directly to their business.
The company opened in Moscow, Assembly shop and design office. Specialists in industrial design, develop the appearance of the terminals and navigational panels, engineering layout, and the designers and programmers — software. Just “Initium” works 23 people, including developers, managers and designers.
In Moscow the production workshop employs 10 people. Employees collect the finished device from components. Metal cutting and painting the body produces the CPI plant in Tatarstan, LG and Samsung touch screens, Intel embedded computers, Microsoft Windows operating system IoT, for Internet of things.
“Initium” concluded with the affiliate agreement, and they sell parts at a discount. According to estimates Gudkov, in 2017 turnover “Initium” will amount to 60-70 million rubles. In a month the company produces several dozens of devices. Her customers were “Daughter and son”, LUKOIL, Mars, Miller, Samsung, as well as shopping centers such as “Okhotny Ryad”, “Central childrens store on Lubyanka”, “seasons”, “Oceania” and other.
“There are plans for development but they are “neat” in current conditions of Russian reality,” says the co — owner of “Initium”. The cost of the device depends on the configuration. For example, weatherproof outdoor terminal with the ability to accept Bank cards, a device for printing checks, a camera, a climate control system and a screen with a brightness of more than 2.5 thousand Candelas worth of one million rubles.
Terminal with the “simple” computer, infrared touch frame and TV to 250 thousand rubles. Gudkovs difficult to name average cost of the device, since most terminals (and shopping, and navigation) are made to order. None of the manufacturers will not do street terminal, to engage in research and development of some specific equipment, if the delivery is 10-12 pieces.
Producers process equipment built for volume. Minimal cost — a large amount. Any customization is causing a lot of problems, because it does not fit into their business and technology processes.
Small batch production of complex and exclusive items becomes a challenge for them, and we are instead — this spetsializiruetsya. According to Gudkov, in Russia the company has competitors only for individual products. For example, in the segment of terminal navigation is a French company Viadirect. Or the Russian “Milk”, but the number of projects does not exceed ten.
In the future, the businessman plans to enter the European market — products “Initium” has already received prizes for the best digital solutions from POPAI, the International Association of marketing in retail. 2015 “Initium” develops custom mobile applications for shopping centres, with which the user can find a particular shop and use a loyalty program.
In modern shopping centres with a large number of sensors to track the number of visitors. Using this information, data from applications and external triggers, “Initium” can display on terminals and digital signs situational advertising.
“For example, if we know that near the shopping center tube of 9 points, the system will launch the trailer of the new film and show the theater is located in the shopping center. “The road is congested, it is better to go to a movie session in 10 minutes”,” — says Gudkov.
According to the businessman, the future is issued in the form of tips and tricks for optimizing time. Moreover, with the development of mobile Analytics, advertisers will be able to offer more targeted and usecasecontrollers solutions. Terminals that are installed in the lobby of shopping centers also collect data in real time available to the management company or the marketing Department of the shopping centre.
The system Directorix installed in more than fifty malls and it is used monthly by about one and a half million people. Tenants and landlords can find out what key words users are looking for the company how much time is spent on search, with what frequency are looking for, how often we return. Also they can view routes of users. All this can be used to improve service and attract new customers.
Use the navigation terminals store owners can configure scripts for performance marketing. Determining the users location using Wi-Fi and mobile applications, identificeret user terminal MAC address and “remembers” the ID and search query.
Seeing the interest of the buyer, the brand can “catch” it and enable Omni-channel advertising campaign. Show ads of various types on different devices and analyze the behavior with the help “Yandex.Metrics” or Google Analytics. In 2017-2018, the system “Intsum” will appear on the public venues of Moscow — for example in the Park “charge” that is created near the Kremlin on the site of the demolished hotel “Russia”.
The company plans to install weatherproof outdoor terminals, through which you can learn the location information, find a Park, buy tickets for attractions — including using the card “Troika”. “The project is crazy.
There occupied a great part of our resources, because in a very short time plan to get to the city Day, but I dont know if it will work — there is involved a large number of contractors.”. In addition, the company hopes to take part in the preparations for the world Cup, which will be held in 2018. Now the representatives are in talks with the capitals airports and road services on the development of navigation systems for tourists.