Today, more than two years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which most companies went digital, the Romanian IT and digital marketing service provider Zitec focuses on several related directions, among others. , with e-commerce and the freelancing area. In fact, the latest project announced by the company, the Lanceria platform, built on blockchain technology, comes with the clear promise that “it will revolutionize the market for freelancers around the world.” After approaching revenues of 18 million euros last year, Zitec relies in 2022 on the development of partnerships with companies such as Google, Microsoft or Adobe, but also on existing projects in Romania and in 30 other countries.
“Lanceria aims to radically change the lives of freelancers around the world. Blockchain technology brings a number of benefits, including decentralization, transparency and confidentiality of transactions. There are many implementations where these attributes are not relevant. We are practically talking about a way to use blockchain in any project “, points out Alexandru Lăpușan, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Zitec, about the Lanceria project, in the development of which he has recently been involved.
The main strengths of Lăpușan are the elimination of commissions for freelancers, the reduction of minimum fees for employers and the option to pay by cryptocurrency, in addition to payments in the fiat system (classic currencies). According to Lăpușan, the LANC cryptocurrency – the “Lanceria native token” – is the basis of transactions on the platform. “As a civilization, we are going through major transformations brought about by the blockchain revolution, and the way we work is no exception. The Lanceria platform was designed to offer a digital, immersive experience, based on the latest technological trends available “, says Mihai Săraru, CEO of Lanceria.
While the freelancing part can be described as a “novelty” for Zitec, at the other end of the spectrum is the online commerce segment, which has exploded in recent years and, as a result, led to a 60% increase in revenue for the IT division. e-commerce of the company compared to the previous year. “Accelerated digitization of consumer habits shows us that there is still significant potential for the development of B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce. We plan to develop new modules in the Magento and VTEX ecosystems, as well as a greater focus on complementary services, with added value for online stores: digital marketing solutions, business intelligence, machine learning, high traffic or high availability “, he adds. Zitec representative.
For the current year, the goal is for this division to maintain a similar level of growth and reach revenues of 1.5 million euros, in parallel with the growth of the team by 40%. The list of projects and partnerships checked last year by Zitec also includes the development of the new online store of the DIY retailer Brico Dépôt – owned by the British from Kingfisher, with a turnover of 335 million euros locally in 2021 – on the Magento 2 Commerce platform Cloud, but also the continuous development of strategic partnerships with Adobe (Magento) and the VTEX digital commerce enterprise platform.
Strictly analyzing Zitec’s digital marketing division, it generated revenue of 2.25 million euros in 2021, representing a nearly tenfold increase in sales in the last three years. As a result of accelerated development, in February 2022, Zitec became a Google Premier Partner, thus benefiting from preferential access to the beta versions of specialized Google products and the advanced support service for Google Ads.
The portfolio of this division includes customers from three countries and from various industries such as pharma, electronics, home appliances, fashion or FMCG (consumer goods), including Pfarma.ro, Arctic, Kärcher, ASE Bucharest, Orange Valley, iELM or STMicroelectronics.
Last year, the company announced that it had completely rebuilt the Arctic website, using machine learning for video content. This project started with studies that showed an increase of 84% in favor of the purchase decision of customers who watched a video presentation of a product of interest, compared to those who did not do so. Also, an analysis of the traffic on the previous version of the Arctic website revealed that approximately 95% of visitors use a mobile device, which dictated a “mobile first” approach in creating the new design. “Integrating digital marketing efforts is synonymous with increasing the efficiency of online promotion. If we look at digital marketing channels in an integrated way, assigning everyone the right role in the process of attracting and retaining customers, the end result would be a lesser overlap of promotion efforts and a total decrease in the cost of customer acquisition, “he said. Robert Dumitru, Deputy Director of MTH Digital, a Romanian full-service online marketing agency specializing in e-commerce and lead generation.
An increase of almost 70%
Zitec ended the year 2021 with revenues of 17.9 million euros, up 68% compared to the previous year. In fact, in the last three years, the company’s evolution has continued on an upward trend, reporting an average annual growth rate of 52%. Currently, the business operates with offices in Bucharest and Brasov, being involved in over 650 projects in several countries.
“The significant growth we recorded last year was also reflected in the expansion of the customer portfolio, of the industries from which they come and implicitly of the Zitec team, which experienced the highest growth in recent years (265 employees were at the end of 2021, no). We have been working on the development of each line of business, so now we can say that we offer a complete portfolio of digital transformation solutions “, says Alexandru Lăpușan.
Prior to Zitec, Lăpușan was employed as a programmer and web designer in an American company. Wanting more and more – “and often failing to get the support of the company’s management to implement the various ideas and improvements proposed,” he recalls – he set out on his own. Thus, in 2003, he founded Zitec, together with three other colleagues from the Faculty of Automation and Computers at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest.
“Having no access to information about entrepreneurship, finance, international markets and the like, information that we can easily access today, we have developed slowly but surely, and we have climbed step by step so far. The initial investment was around 3,000 euros, which I spent on renting the headquarters for three months in an apartment in the University area, on three computers and on an alarm system, the entrepreneur said in another . interview.
A decisive step in the development of the company was made in 2017, when, following an investment of over 1.7 million euros, Dante International became a shareholder in Zitec, currently having 24.9% of the shares of Zitec.
What has the last five years meant for Zitec? Here are some key moments in his development strategy.
2017. The first major investment of € 1.7 million from eMAG is attracted by Dante International, which plans to accelerate its expansion in the market at the time, as well as sustained activities to increase its customer portfolio in Western Europe and the United States. United States of America. 2018. An investment of over 400,000 euros is made, which has the effect of moving the team to a new headquarters of Zitec, in Bucharest – Timpuri Noi Square. 2019. The Mirro application is launched – a complete human resources performance management application, following an investment of 1 million euros. In the same year, the teams and portfolios of the Bright and Symbolic agencies were taken over, with a combined turnover of 450,000 euros. 2020. Zitec’s revenues jump from 10 million euros in 2020, up 50% from the previous year. 2021. The company announces that it will develop the digital skills of dozens of entrepreneurs and freelancers from Romania, Spain and Italy through the international program The Circle. Another proof that it raises externally.