Meet Kitopi, the Dubai Food Tech unicorn that has set up its main engineering hub in Krakow and will soon reach the milestone of 100 engineers in Poland. Marcin Welner, VP of Engineering at Kitopi, shares his expert view on Kitopi’s operations in Krakow in this extract from the Krakow IT Market Report 2022.
1. What is Kitopi?
Marcin Welner: Kitopi is a tech-powered food company founded in 2018, in Dubai. Today, we operate a network of over 100 kitchens in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.
As a managed cloud kitchen platform, Kitopi became known for the ability to help restaurants and F&B brands scale and expand their reach in as little as 14 days. One of the fastest-growing start-up companies in the MENA region operating a portfolio of both invested and franchised F&B brands, we serve as enablers in the food market by helping brands to grow and scale while providing services around (but not limited to) sourcing, preparing, producing, cooking and packaging- both in the delivery and dine-in space.
2. What have you been able to achieve with Kitopi in the last 2 years?
Marcin Welner: In 2019, we opened our main engineering hub in Krakow. Our engineering hub is focused on accelerating the evolution of our tech platform, so that Kitopi can offer more services and solutions to clients, enable them to enhance the experience for diners, and to facilitate global expansion for Kitopi and our clients.
We have achieved a lot of success in the last two years. At the global company level, we closed two financing rounds, which resulted in the value of the company surpassing the $1B mark. We also expanded to several new markets. Globally, the demand for ‘contactless’ ways to enjoy ‘eat out’ experiences has intensified as a result of the pandemic. This is an acceleration of an existing trend that is expected to continue into the future.
In Krakow, we’ve successfully created a state-of-the-art engineering hub that – thanks to an intensive recruitment effort in the second half of 2021 – now employs more than 70 engineers. Our team boasts a variety of specializations, from Java and Front-end Developers, through to DevOps and Data Science. Today, the Krakow center is Kitopi’s primary global R&D center.Check out also: Krakow IT Market Report 2022
3. To what do you attribute Kitopi’s success?
Marcin Welner: As a company, Kitopi has been steadfast in delivering its mission and to always listen to our customers. This has enabled the company to succeed and grow at an impressive rate. We must also acknowledge the hard work, commitment and technical expertise of our global team, without which this level of success would be impossible.
4. How do you facilitate collaboration between the Krakow and Dubai teams?
Marcin Welner: We invest a lot of time and effort into making sure that the core Kitopi values are embraced globally. To achieve success, we first had to acknowledge and truly understand the cultural differences between our regional teams. Equipped with a stronger understanding of this, we were then able to build a culture that is inclusive, celebrates diversity, and empowers both people and the company to thrive.
Of course, the pandemic made life a little more challenging. However, as a tech company, we pride ourselves in finding tech solutions to overcome challenges. When conditions permitted, we’ve been able to send 30 members of our Poland team to Dubai and have also been able to bring some of our Dubai-based colleagues to Poland. These trips range in duration from a couple of days to 1-2 months, and they enable people to meet their teams, be fully onboarded, and kick off new projects. As a product company, we consider these opportunities for colleagues to meet in person essential. Our teams work closely together for extended periods of time, so it’s vital that they have the opportunity to get to know each other, understand different work styles, and enjoy each others’ company in person. Such interactions have helped us build a solid foundation for the ongoing success and growth of Kitopi.
5. What are Kitopi’s plans in Krakow for 2022?
Marcin Welner: We want to continue to build our capabilities in Krakow. Our goal is to attract the best candidates from Krakow’s rich talent pool, double our headcount in Poland, and cement the Krakow center’s status as Kitopi’s primary engineering hub. To help us achieve this, we will be predominantly focused on hiring the best Java developers and Data engineers.
Learn more about what foreign start-ups have achieved with their Krakow tech labs by downloading the Krakow IT Market Report 2022.
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