How Faktion became
Bothive’s best investment
for growth and productivity
Bothive is a communication automation company that specializes in assisting customers with data gathering and email communication. The company’s CEO and co-founder, Brecht Valcke, explains that they automate a lot of the communication for their customers, particularly accountants who often struggle with busy schedules and a lot of incoming communication.
Bothive’s platform helps automate the collection of necessary data at specific points in the year and provides a more efficient inbox than traditional email providers like Outlook and Gmail. In this interview, Brecht Valcke sheds light on the collaboration with Faktion.
Can you share the story of how your company was founded and how it has evolved over time?
I met the co-founder of Bothive, Thuur Vandeplassche, during college when we worked together on a project. I already had my own web development company at the time, but when I received a project that was too large for me to handle alone, I asked Thuur to join me, and we've been working together ever since. Our initial idea and our friendship have grown into a successful business. While we were both technical guys from the start, Thuur has taken on the role of CTO, while I manage the company as CEO. While our focus is primarily technical, we recognize the importance of all aspects of the business and work collaboratively to ensure its success.
What challenges did you face as young entrepreneurs and how did you seek (external) guidance to overcome them?
We were 21 at when we founded our company Bothive. Our main challenge at the time was to release product features quickly and reliably, and we felt the need for guidance to speed up our processes and sharpen our capabilities. It was a very happy coincidence that we got in touch with Faktion at that point in time.
After having a discussion with the team, we quickly realized that Faktion has the experience and know-how to give us the knowledge injection that we needed. We felt confident that Faktion could guide us and help us in win efficiency in product and feature releases.
How did our experience and portfolio play a role in sparking your enthusiasm?
It was extremely helpful for me when I came across your portfolio and noticed that you had worked on a similar conversational product (Chatlayer) to what we are building, albeit for a different target audience and with some differences in the implementation. Nonetheless, the core functionality remained the same, and it was a very valuable experience that you could bring to our project. Essentially, you had already built what we aspire to build, making your experience highly relevant to us.
Could you provide more context about your collaboration with Faktion and how our assistance helped you grow and develop in your area of focus?
Our collaboration focused on technical architecture and team management, as well as creating a high-performance culture. I recall the first day of Faktion’s Lead Software Engineer with us, where he took a look at our technical stack and code. One of the first things he noticed was that our solution was overcomplicated, with microservice architecture, Kafka in between, and a lot of complexity in general which makes it challenging to maintain and update. Given this technical debt, Faktion suggested to simplify the architecture, but also pointed out that our team was too small to handle the current complexity.
We initially considered rewriting our software slowly over a year, but ultimately decided to completely rewrite it in the new architecture proposed by Faktion, which was a monolithic architecture. Our CTO and the team had a few intense months of rewriting, but since then, new feature releases have been much quicker in the new architecture. Our employees are also happier because the tech stack is easier to work with, which means work gets done more efficiently.
Overall, I believe we've not only earned our investment back, we've also become more capable and autonomous as a team. The collaboration with Faktion exceeded our expectations, we may come back for further help in the future.
Was it worth the investment?
This was definitely the best investment we've made so far in our company's history. The collaboration has given us the boost that we needed to take our company to the next level. The benefits included not only solving technical debt and having the necessary processes, infrastructure, and architecture in place, but also having happier and more productive employees who are proud of their work and get things done efficiently. After receiving funding, we had to make several investments, and this was by far the best one. Instead of hiring extra engineers, which can be very expensive, we worked with Faktion and had engineers who were four times more productive than before.
In terms of ROI, what was the impact of our collaboration?
We earned back what we invested because our developers became more efficient in their work. Initially, we were planning to hire more engineers just to maintain our current workload, but when we calculated the cost of hiring extra engineers every year, we realized that we would earn back the investment in a year, perhaps even four or five times over.
This has been great for us because we don't need to hire more engineers and can instead focus our remaining finances on growth, marketing, and sales, which are also crucial to continue our growth. Without a solid product, investing in growth and marketing doesn't make sense, as you'd still need to spend money on engineers instead of growth.