“In 2016 we handled around 150 million CZK of sales for our customers, and last year this figure topped 600 million. This year we expect to exceed a billion.”
Why not sell aftermarket car parts via an easy-to-use e-shop system? Such a simple idea… and yet enthusiasts Jiří Hofrichter and Jan Folwarczny – founders of the KVIKYMART company – were the first to actually put this ground-breaking idea into practice. Currently KVIKYMART is based at the Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre (MSIC), alongside a range of other innovative companies. KVIKYMART’s customers are aftermarket car parts retailers, and the company’s key product is a unified platform which handles numerous different e-shops. Although these suppliers offer literally millions of products, the platform is simple and easy-to-use for end customers, taking full advantage of the benefits that on-line systems offer. End customers can purchase car parts without needing any detailed mechanical or technical knowledge of car repairs – just like they’re used to doing at other e-shops.
“There’ll always be somebody who doesn’t know that something ‘can’t be done’, and simply goes ahead and does it anyway.”
The KVIKYMART platform integrates supplier data with clients’ internal systems and external catalogues. This integration is technically very demanding; it involves hundreds of millions of automatic operations every day, applying processing rules to input data in order to create a complete product range at each e-shop. The platform is also designed to handle sudden “spikes” in activity; it automatically up-scales available servers from single to double figures. Increased numbers of orders or site visits do not require clients to make any technical changes to the system; thanks to KVIKYMART, their e-shops are able to handle thousands of orders every day. Some of KVIKYMART’s clients started out in 2016 with turnover of several million CZK, but last year (2018) they were approaching the hundred million mark.
KVIKYMART is constantly updating, improving and fine-tuning the platform. New versions are sometimes released several times a day, without any need to suspend the operations of the e-shop. This sophisticated system is based on the AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud platform, whose users include global giants such as Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb and NASA.
“We are the most widely-used solution in CZ and SK for this market segment, and our clients generate the majority of sales in this segment of the on-line market.”
The next key priority for KVIKYMART is to expand into international markets. The company is already active in Poland, Hungary and Croatia, and one of their customers is a British company operating on the Central European market. Jan Folwarczny, who was responsible for product development in the initial phase, gave more details: “We’re particularly keen to expand into overseas markets, which appear to offer several major opportunities for us. For a while now we’ve been expanding our product to include overseas data and to handle some specific features of those markets – and we’re planning to make use of those new features in our European operations too. We’d also like to take part in an accelerator programme to launch a presence on the U.S. market. We’re in the early stages of negotiations with potential clients in other countries, and we’re working to launch our platform on those markets too. Our first client in any given market can potentially capture a substantially increased market share from its competitors.”
“We still do all our development work right here in Ostrava. At the moment there’s no need to change that.”
For several years, KVIKYMART has been based at the Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre (MSIC) in Ostrava, and it was one of the first companies to take advantage of the programmes offered by the MSIC after its establishment in 2017. Jiří Hofrichter explained: “We took part in the MSIC Expand programme, which helped us to map several specific features of other markets. Last year we took advantage of the InnoBooster programme to recruit a skilled employee. Sometimes the support we receive from the MSIC can tip the balance in our favour, helping to drive our development further. It would be hard to find a better innovation ecosystem here in Ostrava or the region.”
Currently the KVIKYMART team consists of 15 colleagues: “We have very high demands when recruiting new people. We select either experienced talents or people with great potential and strong motivation to succeed. We enable them to develop naturally and to simply be themselves, working to the rhythm that suits them best – some people are early birds, others are night owls.”
“Each of us is responsible for our own work, and each of us influences the company’s services, operations and teamwork.”
KVIKYMART is one of the most successful members of Ostrava’s community of innovators. The company takes full advantage of the various opportunities that are available to it here, but they are also keenly aware that only hard work and good decision-making will lead to success.