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Made in Belarus

Sometimes in our blog posts we mention that StiltSoft company locates in Belarus. Recently we’ve asked ourselves, ‘What do our readers know about our country?’ Apparently, not much. And we want to change this situation. (smile)

After reading this article, you will understand why Belarus has gained global recognition for its IT and software development achievements.

Maybe some of you will be surprised to learn that such world-known companies as EPAM, Wargaming, Viber, MAPS.MEMasquerade (MSQRD live filters app), IBA Group, and Apalon originate in Belarus.

Our today’s blog post highlights the most popular stories of success.

EPAM

EPAM Systems, Inc. is a global provider of software engineering and IT consulting services headquartered in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Today EPAM is one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the world. Last year it took the 8th place in the Forbes Fast Tech 25 and almost entered the Top-100 of Software 500.

Google, Adidas, UBS, and Expedia are the loyal customers of EPAM.

Slide from A. Dobkin's presentation

This company was founded in Minsk in 1993 by the Belarusian businessman Arkadiy Dobkin (EPAM CEO & President) together with a small team of enthusiasts who wanted to show that Russian-speaking developers were good at software engineering.

Just imagine they managed to find customers without Internet access, when one phone call cost $5-7, and the only way to send something to somebody was to fax it!

Thanks to their hard work they developed a sales automation tool adopted by the Colgate-Palmolive Company in 15 countries in 1996. After that they made a revolutionary software product for the SAP Company. These successful projects helped EPAM to become the focus of attention in the sphere of software engineering in the post-Soviet space.

Wargaming

Wargaming is a major publisher and developer of free-to-play multiplayer online games from Belarus which created the world famous World of Tanks.

This story of success started in Minsk with no strategy, money, or business plan. The Wargaming’s founder, Victor Kislyi, recalls, ‘There were 6 of us in 1998, we were students passionate about computer games and for a couple of years we had nothing but enthusiasm.’

World-of-Tanks-logo.png

However, they were tenacious enough to keep up and try harder. And in a few years they’ve released DBA Online (2000) and Massive Assault (2003) that became very popular among gamers all over the world.

When they decided to create a game about tanks, nobody in the game industry supported them because ‘no one would relate to a tank’. And much to everyone’s surprise 40,000 gamers almost crashed Wargaming servers after a closed beta testing of the new game about tanks in 2010!

Today 150+ million people are avid fans of the game. Moreover, World of Tanks has been awarded two Guinness World Records for the most players online simultaneously on one MOG Server.

Viber

Viber, also known as ‘The Skype KIller of Belarus’, recently reached a major milestone – 800 million registered users.

Talmon Marco (Israel) & Igor Magazinnik (Belarus) started Viber in 2010. Though the founders registered the company in Cyprus, the application developers work in Israel and in Belarus.

Viber.png

Interestingly, this start-up had never received a single penny of venture capital until the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten acquired Viber for $900 million in 2013.

Today Viber is not just a messenger. It has turned into the service delivery platform that erases barriers between users and companies. There are more than 1000 public accounts that can satisfy almost all your needs without verbal communication: you can book a table in your favorite restaurant, buy a movie ticket, or receive a beauty hack from a famous makeup blogger.

Of course, Viber also offers free text, voice and video calling, and extra private chats that self-destruct after a specific period of time.

MAPS.ME

MAPS.ME is a free mobile app that is a choice of over 40 million people today.

It includes detailed offline maps of all countries, as well as search, geolocation, and routing features based on OpenStreetMap data (Wikipedia-like model when users can edit and create maps on daily basis). So the idea of travelers collaborating on map accuracy to improve this app makes it better day by day.

MAPS.ME.png

Being a keen traveler, Yury Melnichek knew everything about the challenges of any journey abroad: strong desire to save money on roaming charges and constant loss of Internet connection. He started this project in 2011 to better the existing maps, make them work faster, and make them offline.

Soon this app gained popularity among travelers because all the features were available offline. It was listed among Google Play Best Apps of 2014 even with 5-dollar price.

In 2014, MAPS.ME was acquired by the Russian web giant Mail.ru Group and became available for free after that, but the terms of the deal were not disclosed.

MSQRD

The mobile app we bet most of you have tried at least once is MSQRD. This app uses face recognition technologies to produce masks, face-swap images, and funny videos.

Minsk-based Masquerade Technologies Inc. released a mobile app that made a splash in social media in 2016 and has enlisted a rollcall of celebrity fans. For example, a world-known top model Cara Delevingne was totally obsessed with MSQRD posting funny videos every day and helped it go viral.

MSQRD App.png

Due to the unbelievable popularity among people all over the world, MSQRD was acquired by Facebook after 3 months since the app launch in 2016! The price of the deal wasn’t disclosed, but according to some rumors from insiders it might have been in the ballpark of over $100 million.

Masquerade became the first company acquired so soon after its appearance in the IT world. That is why this story of success is so inspirational for other ambitious startups.

StiltSoft

We hope that there must be at least one company from Belarus you might know about (smile)

StiltSoft was founded by Maxim Kuzmich and Alexander Kuznetsov in 2010. Two huge fans of Atlassian products wanted to improve everyday life of Atlassian users with the help of handy tools.

StiltSoft add-ons.png

Today being an Atlassian Expert (Atlassian Solution Partner) and Atlassian Verified Vendor, we have 3,400+ customers from more than 80 countries worldwide and more than 15 add-ons on the Atlassian Marketplace.

Table Filter and Charts for Confluence became our 1st public plugin released in 2010. The same year we developed two more add-ons for Confluence: InPlace Editor and Talk. These solutions are still available on the Marketplace and are popular with our users.

We believe that competition drives innovation and for that reason we enjoy participation in different contests:

  • 2011: we got Bamboo Master Task Award for the best extension for Atlassian Bamboo.
  • 2012: we won Codegeist Award for one of the best add-ons for Atlassian Bitbucket with Awesome Graphs for Bitbucket.
  • 2015: File Viewer for Bitbucket Cloud became the winner of the Codegeist 2015 Atlassian hackathon, in the category ‘Best Bitbucket add-on’.

Our achievements motivate us to move further and meet newer and newer challenges. And we believe there are a lot of great accomplishments ahead!

How it all started

The successful development of IT sphere in Belarus has historical roots, since our country used to manufacture over 50% of the computers and computer components in the former USSR.

Nowadays Belarus is considered to have one of the most educated populations that chooses to study technology. Annually 16,000 ICT students graduate from the country’s higher education establishments to meet the growing demand of the IT market.

We are proud that today our country is going through tech boom. We hope that more and more Belarusian companies will be in the list of the world’s most successful IT stories in the near future!

Want to discover more about Belarus? Feel free to ask us in the comments below (smile)

 

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