Direlli has developed an outstaffing platform that enables companies to find the appropriate specialists and vice versa.
The platform, which has been launched for two months, has successfully established over 100 partnerships.
In an interview with iTel.am, Mariam Asatryan, the co-founder of Direlli, talks about their activities, the company's products, and the spread of the outstaffing culture in Armenia.
Concept and Foundation of the Company
Before the official establishment of the company, me and Hrachya Yeghiazaryan (second co-founder) were creating Wordpress websites as freelancers. At that time, I was involved in content management.
In 2020, we decided to formally establish the Direlli company and expand our focus towards edtech, moving from the Armenian market to the international market. This strategic shift was partly influenced by the crisis and challenges within the local market. Our third co-founder, Melkon Hovhannisyan, joined us as a Technical director.
We decided to evolve from a traditional company providing software solutions into the one that develops its products.
Thus, Direlli currently has two products: one is an educational all-in-one platform, called Univern, which is still in the conceptual and development phase, and the other is the already operational Direlli platform, designed for outsourcing.
The story behind the company's name choice is amusing. When Hrachya and I were planning the name, we were continuously discussing various options, brainstorming ideas, and trying to find a name that would be both charming and resonant. Hrachya offered several alternatives, and we finally came up with the name 'Direlli' which covered an Armenian word pun. Also, being attracted by its Italian-sounding effect, interestingly, we later found out that there was an Italian surname with the same word. Outstaffing Culture and its Spread in Armenia
Outstaffing has become one of the most demanded working models in the USA since 2005 because there was a shortage of qualified professionals in the market. For example, accounting companies began to transfer specialists to each other, and then it became very popular in the IT field: companies exchange specialists of a certain orientation.
Another term is used, "body leasing", which sounds a bit rude, but actually represents this phenomenon. This has become very relevant, especially after Covid. Those companies that were mainly working in the domestic market faced a shortage of work, and their employees were unemployed. To compensate for all this, employees were given the opportunity to work in other companies. All legal and financial issues are resolved between the companies, resulting in B2B collaboration.
There are Armenian organizations that work with this model, but they are few, as this culture is not yet well-established here. They have a fear of stealing talents from each other which is why it's not very widespread. This has several positive aspects for an IT professional. The latter does not suffer from a lack of work, is not subjected to layoffs, constantly acquires new knowledge, and makes industry changes. Additionally, they are allowed to work with international teams and exchange cultures. We have such precedents where engineers have gone to our client's country and spent some time there, both resting and working. Engineers like this work format due to its versatility. We started receiving offers for staff augmentation when it was still an unfamiliar phenomenon for us. There was a fear that our specialist might be headhunted. Of course, now it is in the past, as there are contracts and legal processes. An employer usually needs to work with an engineer on specific projects for a fixed period.
Use of Direlli Platform and Choice of Professionals
Currently, about 250 specialists are registered on our platform from different countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and Ukraine. Most of them are from Armenia, we have French-speaking specialists from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and there are also employees from the Middle East.
All of them are identified. We use well-known testing systems and provide each technical specialist with an individual test of appropriate complexity.
We test their soft skills, which are highly important, especially in the outstaffing. Employees are involved in an environment bearing a different culture, and these common features and similarities are very important, in terms of ideological loyalty. We also pay attention to geopolitical nuances, for example, we will not offer an Arab specialist to the client from Israel. We try to take into account all these subtleties. It's been two months since the platform was launched, and during this time, we have acquired more than 100 partnerships, it is expected that by the end of the year, the number of inquiries will triple. Currently, there is a very high demand for AI/ML engineers, as well as data specialists and DevOps experts. Our recruitment team is actively working in this direction and attracts in-demand specialists.
Our team consists of about 20 people. Hrachya Yeghiazaryan, Melkon Hovhannisyan, and I are the co-founders. We met Melkon when he was 17 years old; he is now only 21 and is already our technical director. He is a talented programmer who has won the WorldSkills Competition 2022 in the field of web technologies held in Goyang, Korea.
Hrachya is our inspiration; he carefully plans all our projects. Our team's motto is 'Breath life into ideas,' which summarizes our ideology.
I am a political scientist by profession, having completed my Master's Degree in National Security at RAU, but halfway through my postgraduate studies, I realized I didn't want to be involved in all that. I was going through an existential crisis, then got drawn into the digital field, learned graphic design, and was engaged in it.
We have team traditions. We create a family-like environment. Several times a year, we organize team gatherings, travel together, and relax. Last year, we spent a month working and relaxing in Tbilisi, combining leisure with work Investments and Future Projects
Direlli is experiencing organic growth at this time; we haven't even spent money on advertising. We've made minimal marketing expenses with our sales team actively working on direct sales. In the near future, we plan to expand our outstaffing platform and involve organizations that will work with each other.
As for Univern, we need investments as it is intended to become a global product. Univern encompasses all the necessary components and tools for education. These are all developed by our programmers, and we do not integrate third-party tools. We provide students and teachers with the opportunity to create and organize online lessons with one click. It also includes the usage of artificial intelligence. There are many educational platforms, but Univern seems to be the unity of all these platforms with its functionality and a separate tool for video calls.
We will go for investments for all this. Investors especially in the edtech sector should also be our partners. In 2024, we are aiming to launch a demo version of Univern and ensure advancement. Nune Grigoryan