Roman Kirigetov is the CEO of Metnis Kabanchikom (Kabanchik), a Ukrainian small task outsourcing marketplace that enables users quickly find a performer for a task that they cannot or do not want to carry out themselves. In Ukrainian, “Metnis Kabanchikom” means “to do something very quickly”. Thus, Kabanchik, on the one hand, releases users from unnecessary work, and on the other, provides job opportunities for other people to earn quick money. It has been a great honor for us to take an interview with Roman Kirigetov, learn some interesting facts of his biography, and explore the success story of Metnis Kabanchikom.
From Humble Beginnings to Success
AP: Roman, first, we would like to thank you for finding the time to give us this interview and share your success story with our readers. We hope you will enjoy the questions we have prepared for you today. What got you started?
Roman: I found an interest in websites development when I was studying at National Aviation University. At that time, every business was going online. With my roommates, we started to deepen in digital marketing and website development. Soon, it became my hobby for long years until now.
I needed some money to pay my education and I started looking for a job. My first full-time job was a company involved in importing of telecommunications equipment from South Korea, China, India, and other countries. I started my career as a sales manager. Soon, I was transferred to the service center. I had some free time there and became engaged in the company’s website development. For example, I made an online store from a single catalog and started attracting organic traffic by making search engine optimization (SEO). As a result, I have worked for that company for more than 7 years, became its CEO and Co-Founder.
However, despite all the accomplishments, I spent more and more time on the internet business. In our free time, my roommate Alexander Yuriev (great programmer, later my business partner) and I performed like a web studio. Alex was in charge of project development and I filled it with the content and worked on the promotion. At that time, I gathered our future dream team. Despite the fact that my career had progressed very well (at that time, I was 26 and was already the CEO of the company), the internet business and my own project remained my great dream.
I came across the idea of the American service TaskRabbit.com. This is a small task outsourcing marketplace. There was no service like TaskRabbit in Ukraine. I thought, maybe such service could be a good solution for many Ukrainian people. The first thought that came to my head immediately was the name of the service – “Metnis Kabanchikom”.
The next day, I called Alex to tell him about my idea. We had a meeting and discussed all the details. Sasha [Alex] really liked the idea of such service. At that time, both of us were in a comfort zone, but we were ready to get out of it and started developing Metnis Kabanchikom.
In the summer of 2012, we started working on Kabanchik in our spare time. We used to make website prototypes and had an experience in design development; therefore, we did not need any additional specialists.
Alex was a full stack developer and could do everything from “A” to “Z”. I was in charge of the whole business part connected with the product vision, marketing, and promotion. That is why we did not need a help for a long time. We have registered the domain Kabanchik.com.ua, and that was only one investment we have done at the start.
Later we received $20,000 investments from a business incubator EastLabs for 15% of shares and $60,000 from Ukrainian business angels. In February 2015, we sold Kabanchik to Prom.ua – one of the largest Internet company in Ukraine.
AP: What a great life story! Do you have any formal education in management?
Roman: No, I do not have a formal education in management. Alex and I studied together at National Aviation University. I had graduated with a degree in information security. However, the significant experience in the project management I received at my first job where I had become the CEO.
AP: What is your business model? How do you promote your service?
Roman: For the first time, Google AdWords was the most effective way to promote Kabanchik. Right now, an attraction of organic traffic from the major search engines is the cheapest channel to promote the service.
Since the project has started, we spent about 30 UAH ($1.50) on searching the performers. We had hoped to attract 20 performers per month, that was the marketing plan, but on the first day, we attracted about 80 people. We realized that the process of looking for the performers would not be a problem. In addition, people who have already earned some money on Kabanchik, invited their friends to join the service.
Each performer has a personal account on the website and a virtual balance. Performers complete the tasks available and receive money from the customers. After closing a task, our system automatically charges a Kabanchik’s fee from the balance of the performer. Then the performer should top up his balance. Otherwise, he or she will not be able to take a new task. This business model was justified, everyone is happy – the performers and the customers. Our customers might not even know that we have any kind of commission. Kabanchik’s commission fee is 20% for the tasks costing below 100 UAH (about $4.5), 15% for the tasks costing from 100 UAH ($4.5) to 200 UAH ($9), and 10% for the tasks costing above 200 UAH ($9).
AP: What other countries does your company operate in?
Roman: At the beginning, our service Kabanchik.com.ua was operating only in Kyiv, Ukraine. Now we have launched it in all big cities of Ukraine.
Also in 2015, we launched our service in Russia (kabanchik.ru), Belarus (kabanchik.by), and Kazakhstan (megamaster.kz). Now we are working on attracting new customers and performers in those countries. In nearest future, we are going to launch mobile applications for iOS and Android.
Unusual Tasks on Kabanchik.com.ua
AP: This is so great! We wish you to enter other markets as well. What are the most creative tasks your customers have placed so far?
Roman: Sometimes we have very interesting tasks from our customers. For example:
- Help to get a cat down from a tree;
- Paint a children’s playground;
- Congratulate a child with his first day at school in the other city;
- Write on the wall “Olya, I love you!”;
- Change 200 UAH ($9) into kopecks (analog to the US Cent (penny)).
This is only a small part of such creative tasks. It is a pleasure to know that all of these tasks have been successfully completed, and the customers are satisfied.
AP: Those tasks are so unusual. The most important fact is that all of your customers are happy. What is the formula for success in your activity?
Roman: A starting point for my motivation was a moment when we started to engage in a hobby of developing internet projects. Since that time, I do not seek an external source for motivation. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” Confucius.
Our project Kabanchik.com.ua embodies all our experience and desire to create a product that really helps to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.
Roman’s Book List
AP: What are your Top 5 favorite books of all time?
Roman: To be honest, I cannot remember the last time I read imaginative literature. The last of such books was “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. I strongly recommend it for reading.
However, I have a list of business books that I have read with an interest and I highly recommend them:
- “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini;
- ”Marketing Warfare” by Jack Trout;
- “Blue Ocean Strategy” by Chan Kim;
- “Good to Great” by Jim Collins;
- “Customers for Life” by Carl Sewell;
- “Bootstrapping: Weapon of mass reconstruction” by Sramana Mitra
AP: Thank you so much for such a wonderful book list. I am sure it will inspire our readers. Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Roman: From the beginning of developing our startup, my good friend Alexander Yuriev has always supported me. We have known each other for more than ten years and understand each other utmost. When I came up with an idea of Kabanchik, the first who knew about it was Alex.
And, of course, my family always supports me. My wife was the first site administrator and my brother helped me with the content management. It looks like a family business (smiling).
Three Valuable Tips for Startups
AP: Please share three valuable lessons you believe are important for young startups.
Roman: With my pleasure:
- Focus on the global and promising markets;
- You must have a financial cushion for the next 2 years after launching your startup;
- When you look for an investor choose smart money investments.
Roman, it has been a great pleasure for us to take an interview with you. Thank you so much for sharing such inspiring success story of Metnis Kabanchikom. We are sure that it will inspire many entrepreneurs. We wish you continued success, bright accomplishments, and many more other astonishing ideas. To learn more about the service you may feel free to visit Metnis Kabanchikom website or Roman Kirigetov Facebook profile.