After building a successful international career in IT-consulting at Accenture, Yvonne Abstoss-Becker and Christian Becker decided that it was about time to start their own company.
This was back in 1995, when the internet was still in its very early stages and most of today’s related buzzwords like E-commerce or social media as well as the big players in the market like Amazon, Facebook or Google were largely unheard of.
Also the mobile industry, in those days, was an emerging market with cellular phones being the size, weight and technological sophistication of a frying pan.
That’s why the first focus of Yvonne’s and Christian’s entrepreneurial effort at Infobest was pointing into another direction: they saw great potential in the rapidly growing groupware sector which, for many years to come, was dominated by Lotus Notes, later on bought by IBM and transformed into one of their strategic pillars called Notes Domino.
Next to developing bespoke solutions to meet customer-specific needs, Infobest also started to develop a series of standard applications based on Notes Domino in the areas of CRM, project management and user helpdesk.
Between 1995 and 2000, these activities were the backbone of Infobest’s business model and helped establish many successful relationships with SMBs and large multinational corporate clients alike.
As their business reached a sustainable size and structure, Yvonne and Christian decided to look out for outsourcing opportunities which would allow them to grow faster and at more competitive costs.
They first ran some pilot development projects in typical offshore outsourcing destinations like India but, discouraged by the results, quickly concluded that in order to enforce quality standards all along the software production way, it was of paramount importance to be in complete control of what is going on.
The result was the opening of Infobest’s own development center in Romania, in 2000 with an initial core team of 5 developers and testers.
In order to sustain steady growth and also keep up with the new challenges brought along by the internet, Infobest decided to diversify quickly into new technological areas.
In the years to come, the majority of people and projects at Infobest were focused on Java, .NET, PHP and mobile platforms. All of this was still in relation to architecting, designing, developing, quality-assuring and supporting software applications.
As more and more customers took advantage of Infobest’s outsourcing offering in Romania, the structure of the company’s business model changed over time: while the Romanian development center took over most outsourcing projects from European clients, the German office specialized in providing IT experts to work onsite with those clients who couldn’t or didn’t want to outsource their development projects.
In 2014, the total headcount reached 100 employees in both locations. It was in the same year when Infobest’s management, by now enriched with some of the brightest talents in the industry, decided to embark on a new entrepreneurial adventure and create its own web-based fashion portal called StylishCircle.
It took about one year of development efforts to set up the technical platforms for the portal and various social media sites. In parallel, editorial and marketing teams were preparing tons of content materials, defining and implementing both general and online marketing strategies as well as setting everything up for a successful launch in May 2015.
Ever since, Infobest is running and maintaining StylishCircle as a business on its own with very ambitious plans to grow into new vertical and horizontal markets in the near future. “Setting up this project within Infobest was very similar to creating a new startup business from scratch. Just that we had most key people already on board from the beginning and didn’t need to involve OPM (other people’s money) to bring our idea to life”, is how Yvonne summarizes the project’s successful ramp-up phase.