Europe Union

Our R&D Story.

We are humble about our origins, striving to make a positive difference today, and optimistic about our future of becoming one of Europe’s top ten R&D-based emerging tech companies in the next five years.

Let’s delve into the story of DAC.digital, the community of over 150 top-notch professionals in the emerging technologies market.

The Short And The Long Road

We can only see a short distance ahead,
but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

The origins of DAC.digital can be traced back to these famous words by the great computer scientist Alan Turing. Back in the day, Przemysław Szleter – the co-founder and CEO of DAC.digital, enjoyed a comfortable and relatively successful career working for a multinational company. In a short distance, it all looked well. However, there was plenty that had to be done. 

Since his university days, Przemek wanted to run his own venture that would strive to make a difference. Something that would stand out, well and truly, and be known for its innovations and cutting-edge solutions in the emerging-tech domain. Przemek candidly shares that he had a vision; however, the mission on which to embark with a complete focus came sometime after he started on his entrepreneurial journey.  

Today, DAC.digital stands tall as one of Europe’s fastest-growing R&D-based emerging tech companies. There is a captivating story of highs and lows, imagination and innovation, of people and culture, that has culminated for over a decade resulting in the laurels that DAC.Digital has gained on the world stage today.

The Tale Begins: Two Friends
And Their Mutually Shared (Dis)satisfaction

In the list of significant events that led to the formation and subsequent success of DAC.digital, as it spreads its wings in emerging tech R&D across the globe, lies the tale of two friends. Przemek and his close friend (and co-founder of DAC.digital) Marcin Szcześniak moved to the UK to pursue a Master’s in Network Computing from Coventry University after finishing their bachelor at the Gdansk University of Technology, Poland.  Then, for a year, to get the first taste of professional experience in the IT sector, Przemek moved to Barcelona (Spain), and Marcin moved to Paris (France). Thereafter both moved back to Poland, where Marcin started to work in the IT department at Primerica (Warsaw, Poland), and Przemek started at Exium (Gdansk, Poland).

Everything seems pretty basic so far, isn’t it? Well, this was the stage where the mutually shared (dis)satisfaction kicked in. It turned out that they both couldn’t work for somebody else for more than two years. It was 2009, and the time had arrived for them to embark on their entrepreneurial journey, called BetterSolutions back then, known today as DAC.digital.

It Was Not a Question Of IF, But Just WHEN

I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore,
and diverting myself in now and then
finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary,
whilst the great ocean of truth
lay all undiscovered before me.

The company’s initial days resembled these words of wisdom by the great Sir Isaac Newton. It took just two years for Przemek and Marcin to set out on their entrepreneurial endeavor; however, a bootstrap startup is a challenging way forward. 

“In the initial days, it was really tough. I used to work on my regular job in the evenings and handle the business in the earlier part of the day.” – Przemek shared.

He was like the boy on the shore, as Sir Newton described, for whom the great ocean lay ahead. Taking a dip in the ocean required much effort and time, beginning with the company’s first project, which was notably NOT an IT project. The company’s first order was to move and set up the computer networking of a Belgian transport company. Cash flow is vital for bootstrap startups, and at times such projects and a full-time job were what fueled the cash into the company. 

It took roughly six months after inception for the number of clients and projects to soar. It was this (The) moment WHEN Przemek decided to divert 100% focus and attention to business with the two already hired employees. 

A Company Born Out Of R&D: Milk (Muu), Navigation, and Transport (Map)

The vision was clear, and it involved Information Technology. The mission was somewhat fluid initially, as technology was progressing at an unprecedented pace. The software projects’ first orders helped discover the mission toward R&D and emerging technology

Looking back today, it seems that it was an obvious choice to head in the direction of R&D and emerging technology. However, it just seems so, as said by Georg C. Lichtenberg –  a renowned German Physicist: 

It is strange that only extraordinary people make the discoveries, which later appear so easy and simple.” 

Discoveries personifying a chain of choices in the case of DAC.digital. From the first software development project for transportation management to the project for the biggest dairy in Poland, which involved creating a solution for planning and navigating raw milk collection. These resulted in the company’s first R&D product MuuMap. Two additional clients from the transportation sector came on board around the same time, looking for similar solutions. Hence, the company focused on transportation management solutions at the beginning before diversifying into other sectors.

Bankruptcy Was Around The Corner,
But The R&D Way Prevailed

R&D products need time, effort, and resources. MuuMaps was no different. It took a great deal of investment, two and a half years of tireless effort, and resources. DAC.digital’s founders poured all their liquid funds into it. On top of that, it turned out that, against the expert opinion of the dairy industry veterans, the market was not yet ready to adopt such an advanced solution. It took the market the next six years and a lot of effort to open up to an innovative software solution. 

In the meantime, Bankruptcy was right around the corner in several instances, but the resilient choices, such as diversifying R&D efforts and selling services, helped keep the company afloat. During this phase Damian Derebecki, the current Chief Operations Office (COO), who was already associated with the company since 2013, became a partner and invested funds to boost the company. 

In the words of the great Marie Curie, 

“Nothing in life is to be feared;
it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more
so that we may fear less”

Going through the difficult phase, but sticking to the R&D way, ultimately started to pay off. Today MuuMaps is highly profitable and is used by businesses across Europe. Over 6% of the raw milk collection and transportation is managed by MuuMaps today

In the initial few years of the company, involvement with clusters also served as a strong shoulder for the future. Przemek was a board member of Interizon, one of the biggest ICT clusters in Poland at that time. This provided the basis for a strong business and scientific network and opened doors for participation in large scaled R&D projects with public funding from Polish and European agencies ranging in millions of Euros. 

People Matter
– They Are The Shoulders Of Giants

In the R&D journey of DAC.digital, a lot of people came in to play an important role. Quoting Sir Isaac Newton again, who said,

If I have seen further,
it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” 

The shoulders of giants for a business are the people; in addition, for an R&D-based business, it is also the scientists. 

From the beginning, the focus was to get the best possible people to work in the company, and let them come together to pave the path to success. “Possible” is a keyword here. The company was also run with funds from the founders and earnings. External investors were never considered, even when there were offers.

In the initial stages, all the company could afford were students with basic skills looking to have some side earnings along with their studies.

“I would drive these students from their residence to my apartment on the weekends, where the living room was the office”, share Przemek.

Yes, you read it right. We were NOT born in a Garage! (: pun intended).

Some of those students still work with those clients through us, supporting them even today after almost a decade.

Join them! Check open positions at DAC.digital and send your CV.

Once the ball got rolling, the company grew. Key individuals joined, and when you need to deal with scientists, you need someone like-minded who also understands business. Also, the company now had (a bit) more funds to hire experienced people.

Sounds easy to find? It kinda was, in our case! At times, matches are really made in heaven. (P.S.: referring to friendship here.) Here comes Mateusz Bonecki, Ph.D., into the picture. Mateusz was Marcin’s childhood friend and had (still has) the perfect blend of skills in science and the required understanding of business. He came in as a liaison officer for a project called FLOTA++, where the company collaborated with Prof. Marek Moszyński (from the Gdańsk University of Technology). Then never left. Today, Mateusz is a key part of the DAC.digital team as the Head of Innovation.  This collaboration with Prof. Moszyński and Mateusz as the project coordinator resulted in the development of the Optimization Algorithm that proved vital towards the success of MuuMap. Mateusz took the lead role in getting the company involved in public-funded R&D projects and helped the company excel in the consortia of such projects.

These R&D projects, word of mouth, and personal contacts proved to cater to getting into business for the first five to six years. Damian Derebecki came on board in 2014 as the first person dedicated to sales to expand the business further. Agata Gwardyś, presently the Head of People&Culture, was another important team member. She helped cultivate a strong positive culture and mind team in the whole team, which is vital to the success of any organization. Krzysztof Radecki – the Chief Technology Officer, Adrian Nicoś – the Solutions Architect, and Marek Tatara, Ph.D. – the Chief Scientific Officer, further brought innovation and R&D capabilities to the team. 

Founders brought in key people, the key people brought in more key people, and the snowball mass of DAC.digital kept rolling and growing, bigger and bigger. Most importantly, each member of the team felt that they belonged to the company, had the freedom to express their creativity, and were heard as well as appreciated. It resonated with the words of Steve Jobs:

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people
and tell them what to do;
We hire smart people
so they can tell us what to do”

Today DAC.digital is a team of over 150, striving to add members to the team further to grow to 500 in the next five years. This is a positive trend with DAC.digital.

“DAC.digital is a place like no other. It’s like a drug. People join us to work for an hour or two per week, and then never leave. Such is the culture and positive vibe.” – Damian says.

Let’s connect!

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