NW Vietnamese News

Vinasource; Vietnamese based developers could produce your next, favorite application

April 11
02:46 2014

Benjamin Liu (left), and David Hajdu :

Co-founder of Vinasource

 

by: Jammy Phan Hoàng

University of Washington

Michael G Foster School of Business (class of 2014)

 

“From selling pho to clothing on the streets, everyone wants to be a business owner in Vietnam,” says David Hajdu, co-founder of Vinasouce, a company that takes advantage of this entrepreneurial mindset. Vinasource is a software application development firm headquartered in Kirkland, Washington that employs program developers in Vietnam. They help business owners realize their tech vision from idea stage to a working application. Its international business success has positioned it to become the next up and coming software development firm in Washington.

2007 Vietnam Decision: Opportunities and Challenges

The Vietnamese technology industry presented many attractive business opportunities when Vinasource was founded in 2007 by Hajdu and his partner, Benjamin Liu. Hajdu had worked in business and technology for the last fifteen years, while Liu had more than ten years of software development experience. They concluded operating in Vietnam was lower risk and potentially higher reward compared to other countries. Hajdu remembers, “At the time, there was a lot of good press about the tech talent developing in Vietnam.” So, they teamed up to start Vinasouce in Vietnam due to previous experience there as well as its emerging tech industry. Hajdu managed the team in Vietnam and Liu in the United States, a primary objective being to solve many companies’ dissatisfaction with their prior outsourcing experience.

Still, the technology industry in Vietnam presented multiple challenges. Its technology talent was not up to international software development standards when Vinasource first entered the field in 2007. Hajdu recalls, “One of the biggest challenges back then was for software development firms, like Vinasource, to find quality labor.” The available workforce at the time was considered ‘subpar’ by today’s standards of technology and website development. This contributed to overseas outsourcing projects having a negative perception. Hajdu remembers them being seen as “a black hole of problems due to language and cultural barriers, difference in time zone, poor quality, and missed deadlines.”

Enter Vinasource. It benefited from larger companies’ investing in Vietnam’s tech industry, which drastically improved the quality of its labor. Hajdu points out, “since the larger companies invested in employee training, smaller firms no longer had to devote so many of their limited resources on training.” As for the negative perceptions of inferior, overseas work, Vinasource took this approach. It used a U.S.-based program manager coupled with a Vietnamese program manager and developers. And it only accepted clients willing to work with that model. A Vinasource client, James Sun, CEO of Pirq, said he decided to use Vinasource because it “has a unique, hybrid model of using US based project managers with overseas developers. This combo really makes the project smooth. It’s a win/win approach with easy communication yet cost effective use of development resources.” Although the stateside program managers added to the expenses of the projects, they often helped ease the application development process by acting as intermediary between clients and developers. This improved the overall communication, final product, and business, as satisfied clients returned to Vinasource for future projects. Vinasource’s effectiveness in solving these challenges helped it become a profitable, outsourcing software development company.

Present Day: Success and Business Lessons Learned

Today, a growing client base is one of the leading factors contributing to Vinasource’s ongoing success. Hajdu says it’s grown ‘organically’ through satisfied customers and has contributed to how “the company has grown consistently 50 percent year over year and is on track to receive over $2M in revenue this year.” Another plus. Instead of depending on a sales team, Hajdu notes “most of Vinasource’s new business comes through referrals from within Washington’s entrepreneurial network.” Here’s an example of this organic growth. Andrew Okada, founding member of Asiancooknotes.com, says he decided to use Vinasource because:

“First, Vinasource has the technical capability and know how to do pretty much anything you see on the web and mobile devices. Second, the cost of working with Vinasource was less than hiring a developer here in the U.S. Third, the project managers we work with in Vietnam speak and write solid English. We found working with them not an issue. Fourth, I met Ahn Ahn and David Hajdu; they’re good people. We trust and value having a relationship with the partners of Vinasource here in Seattle.”

Okada relates how Asiancooknotes, an Asian cuisine recipe website launched in January 2014, has benefitted from having Vinasource. He notes their “project management team has been responsive and easy to work with, and the work ethic displayed by the Vietnamese development and testing teams has been solid.” Given Vinasouce’s recent successful partnerships with clients, Hajdu envisions “the company will be able to expand next year and build a sales and marketing team to scale exponential growth instead of relying only on organic growth.”

Another factor of Vinasource’s current success is the company culture’s talent acquisition and employee satisfaction strategies. Vinasource’s team grew from eight employees in 2007 to about 60 today. Hajdu remembers, “When Vinasource first gave employees days off for breaks and holidays, they found that employees would plan events with each other and end up spending their days off together anyways.” This experience taught Hajdu “it’s all about culture and having an environment where employees really enjoy working and being together, both in and outside the office.” Hajdu now focuses on keeping employees happy through TinyPulse.com satisfaction surveys that reveal what employees want in order to create a positive company atmosphere.

Hung Pham, a technical manager of Vinasource Vietnam, said:

“What I particularly love about this company is the owner really encourages open and honest communications among everyone in the company. I haven’t seen such culture in my previous employments. You can’t find many companies in Vietnam where staff can just talk to or send feedback to the CEO and get the response he needs overnight. We also feel respected working here… no being pushed around by supervisors and that sort of thing.”

Tam Doan, a program manager of Vinasource Vietnam, also noted:

“Working at Vinasource has been a great experience. I’ve worked at many companies, and this has been my favorite so far. The small size instills a sense of community and closeness. The majority of the employees are young, in their 20s, so they have a lot of drive and enthusiasm. Everyone is willing to go that extra mile to learn and succeed. Because we’re an outsourcing company, it can be stressful and chaotic at times, but that’s part of the challenge, and we welcome it. It’d be boring if we’re never challenged.”

Hajdu also believes the philosophy of “hiring quality people breeds higher quality people” has helped Vinasource recruit top talent in Vietnam to remain competitive.

Looking Towards the Future

Liu and Hajdu envision a bright future for their company as Vietnam’s tech industry and Vinasource continue to expand and develop. Given greater global demand for multi-platform technology in web and mobile applications, there has been increased support by both the Vietnamese government and larger business firms into cross-platform training of Vietnam’s future, technical talent. Vinasource expects to take advantage of that and use local tech talent in Vietnam to develop cross-platform applications to better meet growing market demand. As Vietnam’s technology industry continues to mature, more applications could be developed and “Made in Vietnam”.

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