Interview with Jan Lukacs (Paymo)
Paymo is a suite of online tools that allows businesses and freelancers to manage projects, timesheets and billing. I interviewed Jan Lukacs, Paymo co-founder to find out more. This interview is the fifty fifth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Jan for the interview!
Describe Paymo in under 50 words.
Paymo is a cloud app that allows teams and individuals to track their time, manage projects and invoice their clients easily.
What made you decide to start working on Paymo?
We needed an online cross-platform time tracking tool for our web development agency that was easy enough to be actually used by the team. After trying a bunch of options we found out that none of them suited our needs so we decided to build one internally. After showing it to a couple of people who really liked it we decided to make it public and Paymo was born.
How did you come up with the name?
The name was born out of a simple concept – getting paid more = Paymo. We wanted our customers to be compensated for all the work they do for their clients. It happens very often that projects end up taking way more time than initially estimated. Instead of generating profits these projects end up generating losses for the company. All this happens because the initial estimates are not backed up by real data or because hourly projects are not accounted for accurately. Paymo helps solve these problems.
What technologies have you used to build Paymo?
Paymo it’s built on a LAMP stack.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Paymo?
Scaling was probably the most challenging part.
How long did it take to put together Paymo?
The initial version took close to six months. Since then the whole app was rewritten once and the process of building/expanding it is continuous.
You are responsible for marketing and business development. How have you promoted Paymo?
Our main focus is building a quality product that people love to use and recommend. I truly believe this is the best marketing strategy a company can have. In addition to this we also use traditional marketing techniques like display advertising, SEO, giveaways and social marketing.
What’s your background? How did you get to where you are today?
I studied math and computer science at university. Right after finishing I started a company with two friends and colleagues from the university, a small web consultancy agency. Over the years we’ve grown the businesses and in 2008 we decided to focus on Paymo.
Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
Yes, we’re working on a lot of new things at the moment that we believe will benefit our current and future users. The goal is to integrate and unify certain tools under the same platform.
What do you wish you’d have known 5 years ago that you know now?
That would be quite an extensive list, because I initially come from a technical background. I wish I had known more about online marketing, SEO and business development.
Has Paymo got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
Yes, the feedback has been overwhelming and we’re grateful to our customers. A lot of the feedback we’ve received has been baked into the product along with our own ideas.
In our first year growth was quite slow, however after this it picked up and now Paymo is used all over the world.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Being a European startup sometimes makes it a bit more difficult to get featured by the tech press, they tend to ignore this region. Usually US based startups get most of the attention and eyeballs.
What one piece of advice would you give to startup founders?
To be fully focused and dedicated to their startup, otherwise the risk of failing will be much higher.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
We’ve just finished a “mini-project”, our server status page which incorporates a real time activity map that shows Paymo usage around the world. You can check it out at status.paymo.biz.
Can you convince the reader to start using Paymo in under 50 words?
Have you or your business ever “approximated” the amount of time allocated to projects when billing clients – yet you always seem to work for more hours than you are paid? You need Paymo!
Finished reading? Check out Paymo!