Kamen Bochev, CEO of Beetroot Bulgaria, on sustainability as a way of life and business, and the benefits of it
Many young companies want to make the world a better place – Beetroot is the IT company that helps them to achieve this goal. Established 10 years ago by visionary Andreas Flodström, it has created software solutions for clients that aim to improve workplace mental health, empower women, develop new solar technologies, and more. In the spring of 2022, a Bulgarian company, South Gate Tech, joined Beetroot's team. We talked to its founder, and Beetroot Bulgaria's CEO Kamen Bochev, to learn more about the company's core philosophy and the importance of not just code, but creating a positive impact in the modern world.
Beetroot’s philosophy is all about sustainability. How do you materialise it in reality?
Beetroot's sustainability has several dimensions, starting with our coding standards. Each line that our programmers write should be the right one from the very beginning as our clients should get the right end result from the first try. Sustainable code is code that does not need to be rewritten and amended.
Sustainability at Beetroot also means being carbon neutral. The company achieved this goal in 2021. We count all the energy that our computers, phones, offices and business trips consume and plant trees to compensate for it.
Everything in our offices is renewable, sustainable or recyclable, even the synthetic items and our T-shirts. We are also considering starting making our own energy.
What else makes working at Beetroot an experience like no other?
Beetroot works on projects that impact our living environment and partners with startups that are disruptors in fields such as telemedicine and health-tech, fin-tech, and education. All the projects we work on seek to positively change something and leave a mark. Still, although the company now has 550+ people, it keeps its startup mindset. We, at Beetroot, are free people. We do not follow corporate policies or dress-code. We work remotely. Beetroot has offices in 4 countries, but we have colleagues in 30-40 countries around the world. We believe that everyone should bring all of themselves to work where they could meet other people sharing the same principle and as a consequence, to grow personally and to enrich our environment.
What kind of people would feel at their place as a part of Beetroot's team?
We work with programmers who are above average as our clients and projects are very demanding. When you innovate you need not only experience, but also the mindset to experiment, to seek new paths and use new technologies. Beetroot uses almost entirely new technologies. Our clients expect us to be their consultants and to help them achieve their goals.
How did South Gate Tech become a part of Beetroot?
I established South Gate Tech in 2018 after about a decade as a project manager in a large corporation convinced me that I wanted to do more impactful work. South Gate Tech was successful and then a mutual acquaintance introduced me to Andreas Flodström, who was thinking about opening an office in Sofia, possibly by acquiring an already existing small company. He needed advice. We talked for over an hour about opening a business in Bulgaria and that was it. A month later, my life was at a crossroads and I contacted Andreas, as I already knew that we were thinking in the same direction. Beetroot had the marketing structure that South Gate Tech was lacking. And South Gate Tech had valuable project expertise. Soon afterwards we were already working together.
What has changed for you and your team since then?
The core team that started South Tech Gate are now in Beetroot, and this summer we hired new engineers and built a good management team. For us, the challenge was to adjust to Beetroot's work style, processes and structures. Beetroot for its part had to learn how to operate as an international organisation. But as we have 100% cultural fit, the transformation was easy and we worked on bigger, more complex and valuable projects.
What are the most exciting projects Bulgarian Beetroot talents have worked on?
Currently we are working on our own development, the Eshmun Telenursing App. We used our rich experience with working with health-tech companies to create a solution that will help health providers and family caregivers monitor ageing patients' health by collecting and displaying real-time telemetry data in a user-friendly digital dashboard. In a nutshell, this is a nursing home on a smartphone. The platform can collect data, such as blood pressure and oxygen saturation, from different devices and send alerts to caregivers if something is wrong.
Another interesting product is a portal that helps US citizens choose the best health insurance for them.
What do you want to achieve in the future as a part of Beetroot's team?
We want to continue doing the same work but at a broader scale. We want to expand our experience and to have better clients. We also want to improve education. Another member of the Beetroot ecosystem is Beetroot Academy, an EdTech company helping people have great careers in the digital economy. In 2021 alone, the Beetroot Academy retrained over 4,000 people, mainly in Ukraine. About 70% of them started jobs in IT. This is part of our social cause to make the world a better place.
Do you sometimes need to educate your clients as well?
As we are also consultants, often, especially with startups, clients come to us with great ideas on how they will change the world. We are the people who need to explain to them the realities and to keep them focused on the particular steps they have to take in order to have a viable product. Currently we have over 220 active clients, 600 companies have already worked with us. Most of them were small startups in their seed stage. We helped them to turn their idea into an MVP that proved their potential to investors.
Beetroot's main added value is that we have seen what works and what does not and that we can consult our clients and help them walk the road to success.
Curiously, some of our clients have over 5 years of history and 350+ employees, but still think of themselves as startups. Beetroot itself does. We are the same people with the same mindset as if the company is still made of 50 people, not of over 550. Beetroot is built on idealism and dreams, but it operates perfectly well.