Interview with Tomáš Řehoř, key leader for the launch of the Czech branch of successful Estonian start-up Pipedrive, in Prague

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Tomáš Řehoř is an experienced manager who is currently working on expanding Pipedrive’s team to the Czech Republic, specifically to the centre of Prague. His main tasks will be to establish a Czech branch and to set up a Czech team for the successful Estonian start-up Pipedrive, which helps sales managers and sales teams to better sell their products. Pipedrive is a tool for firms with a long sales process (the average duration is three months), when it is extremely important to properly communicate with every customer to ensure deals don’t fall through the cracks. For the price of a few cups of coffee a month, Pipedrive helps its users visualise their sales process and keep one step ahead. There is strong competition in the CRM field, but as Pipedrive’s co-founder, Martin Henk, says, “Our greatest competition is paper and a pen.”

The system evidently works. Pipedrive is used by more than 75,000 firms around the world, ranging in size from individuals to teams of hundreds. A large part of this success is due to the intuitiveness and simplicity of the system – anyone who is able to use a computer can set up and use Pipedrive, meaning it also provides savings in the area of technical support and training commonly associated with major CRM tools.

Tomáš adds: “Developing a tool that is used by so many people around the world is unbelievably fun. We already know what works, and when we want to add something new, we have people we can ask. Our customers love talking with us, so every new development is a pleasure.”

We met with Tomáš and asked him about his ideas, plans, and next steps. Where does he want to look for future Pipedrivers? Why Prague? And what has the Estonian management tasked him with? We asked him these questions and more at his office in Prague’s HubHub.

1. Tomáš, right now you’re sitting alone in HubHub and starting completely from scratch. Can you tell us how you got to this point?

Fortunately, I’m no longer completely alone here. The first three months when I was here by myself were difficult because I like to talk to people, so my wife often heard about it at home! But to answer the question – it actually began eleven years ago when I joined Skype in Prague. As it happened, I was also that company’s first employee in Prague. At Skype, I gained a lot of new acquaintances and friends from Estonia as one of their key offices was in Tallinn. At the same time, the Prague team was working very well andwe managed to put together an excellent group. The people in Estonia remembered that development in Prague is at a high level and that there is a diverse market here – Czechs and Slovaks splendidly complement every possible different nationality.

And if we go back to June 2018, I had just left Košík and posted that fact on LinkedIn. That was a great idea because, other than Sergei from Pipedrive who I knew from our days in Skype, I heard from various people and in the end I chose from several completely amazing opportunities. It was a very fast decision for Pipedrive – Sergei convinced the rest of the management that opening a branch in Prague was a great idea when you already have in place a proven person whom you can trust – me. Opening a new office in a foreign country without the firm already knowing someone there is rather difficult, so cooperation with Pipedrive has been great since the beginning – they knew me and I knew them.

2. Pipedrive has expanded throughout the world and it is known for its unrivalled approach to customers and for its corporate culture. Do you feel that difference? Is that one of the reasons that you took on this challenge? To build a one-man show into a team of 100 people?

I definitely feel the difference. Pipedrive is based on strong trust in every individual person and on openness. Everyone knows what it is about for us, the goals that we have, and we continuously update data every day in a shared channel on Slack where everyone can see how we’re doing. In practice, this means that everyone is pulling together and working as a team. It is tremendously refreshing to have that mutual trust at work.

I actually already felt it during the interviews, which is why I chose Pipedrive in the end over all other options. My main goal is to share this knowledge among people so that they know what to expect at Pipedrive and that they can engage in self-actualisation without excessive stress. After all, my favourite of Pipedrive’s seven basic values is “Don’t ruin other people’s day”.

 

3.Why the Czech Republic? And what does the Estonian management have in mind for the Prague branch?

The Czech Republic has a good location; it is close to everything and Prague is like a magnet for good people. Of course, that is all made possible by the country’s large number of technical universities and capable people.

The Estonian management’s idea is mainly to put together a good team. We will always be complete teams – product specialists, designers and developers always sit together in the same office and in one room. We have learned from the mistakes of other international firms that concentrate their product management only in London or the United States, for example, and have their development somewhere else.

These complete teams will develop new things that Pipedrive doesn’t have yet. The initial focus will be on prospecting – the first part of the business process, which Pipedrive hasn’t focused on at all so far.

 

4. Do you already know where to find key people?

I mainly want people to be aware of us. Who we are, what we do and how we do it. I believe that a globally successful product will draw people in and that a great corporate culture and an advanced and modern technical stack are a good foundation for success. Of course, we will approach people, it’s not possible today without that, but it is important for them to know about us so that they can respond.

We want to open up a community in the form of meet-ups and various events so we can show the world how we do it and they can take something away from that. It’s simply a matter of first giving people something before they decide to come to work for us.

We wish you much luck!

Tomas Rehor, key leader in the Czech Republic (in the middle)