Vaclav Muchna, CEO and co-founder, Y Soft, an enterprise office solution provider launched in the Czech Republic speaks to Zoya Malik about the growth of Y Soft and the business challenges for a tech entrepreneur of expanding into other European and emerging markets
Zoya: What problem is your company solving?
Vaclav: Our aim at Y Soft has always been to develop intelligent enterprise office solutions that help build more intelligent businesses, while empowering employees to be more productive and creative. We do this by offering a variety of products that help businesses run better. We’re solving several business issues; the main areas are increased document security, improved productivity and reduced costs.
For example, the YSoft SafeQ workflow platform offers a set of integrated features for print management and advanced document capture. Our software solution also increases document security in several ways one of which is through user identity authentication. Gone are the days when a document is left at the printer for everyone to read. With our solutions, people can print their document on any printer in the office without the risk of it being forgotten or picked up by the wrong person.
Zoya: How has your company grown?
Vaclav: My vision from the beginning was to create a global business from the Czech Republic. At the early stages of Y Soft’s history, I took on many projects linked to customer software development – as I knew this would give the company exposure. One such project turned into what is today YSoft SafeQ and the business grew from just three employees in the early 2000’s to hundreds now.
I believe that in order to grow as a company, you need to constantly evolve and not become stagnant; it’s so easy for any business in this sector to get left behind. To constantly stay in the market and develop new ideas we came up with YSoft Labs, which focuses on developing new technology for future enterprise office solutions. This is in addition to our R&D team who make up 30+% of our employees. We always think ahead and plan for the future.
During my journey, my team and I found that many customers require optional hardware components such as card readers but found that many competitors require customers to source these components from other suppliers themselves. To differentiate ourselves, we design, test and manufactures hardware components ourselves. By doing this we remove an unnecessary headache for customers.
Zoya: How long has your company been operational?
Vaclav: I first started Y Soft in August 2000 with co-founder and friend, Martin de Martini. Now Y Soft is operational in 16 countries across the globe. This means if something happens in our subsidiary in Japan it gets taken care of locally, rather than being put on the phone to an IT technician halfway across the world. Like with all ambitious organisations, we plan on growing and becoming stronger, to provide the best possible service for our customers.
Zoya: How has your company been funded?
Vaclav: Y Soft is privately funded. Our revenue makes its way back into the company. We have a commitment to reinvesting half of our profits into R&D-related activities, enabling us to continue innovating and refining our current products while investigating innovative technology areas.
Zoya: What are points of differentiation for your company?
Vaclav: We offer an integrated platform that offers both print management and document capture. The platform also extends to offer 3D printers and print management for 3D printers. Initially, our 3D printers are focused exclusively in the education sector. For all of our products, customers can work with one vendor with the assurance that both software and hardware work well together. We are also the only supplier that offers print management and document capture as a fully integrated solution and with a subscription model.
We also have an investment arm, Y Soft Ventures, where we invest in start-ups by sharing our business and technical knowledge with them, as well as providing management, marketing and production support. We also provide businesses with experts to help build pricing strategies, company branding and partner network programmes. Working closely with them enables us to have access to interesting technology that our R&D teams and YSoft Labs can experiment with.
Zoya: What do you see as new trends for your industry and investor potential?
Vaclav: One trend we expect to see in the future is the role of AI for enhanced document security and security of the overall print infrastructure. AI combined with machine learning will enable strong network level analytics with increased security detection.
Our decision to provide a platform has set off a trend where competitors are starting to do something similar. The advantages are clear, and the platform approach is desired by customers.
Zoya: How is Y Soft helping SMEs in the UK market across business lines and to grow outwards to emerging markets?
Vaclav: YSoft SafeQ is an extremely flexible and robust solution. Flexible ‘per device’ licensing or subscription, supports easy and cost-effective growth, whilst the flexible architecture – which can be cloud based, on-premise or a combined configuration – allows SME’s to rollout to new emerging markets, whilst keeping the administration and management layers central to the UK. In addition, the hardware, software and services are all available under one roof, meaning a full print management and document capture offering with a single SLA support level.