Story of SELISE, Story of a Dream
June 1, 2014
In 2011, an aspiring entrepreneur Julian Weber founded SELISE – immediately after finishing his studies when he was only 24. In the very first year, the company was already generating a positive cash flow.
The Journey Begins
SELISE is registered at Brüttisellen near Zurich, Switzerland. Currently this company employs 70 software engineers at their software lab in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Julian Weber, the CEO himself acquires and serves clients – at least partially – from Switzerland. SELISE understands itself as a highly innovative lab for demanding software development. SELISE clients are from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the United States and from Bangladesh.
In 2010, Julian Weber visited Bangladesh for the first time; today he employs several dozens of both young and veteran programmers in the 15 million people metropolis of Dhaka. Software engineering runs in the blood of the 27 years old Weber, during his studies he developed websites with integrated solutions for payment, e-logistics and CRM. “I still work as I did as a student – solution-oriented, uncomplicated and reduced to things essential”, he tells in his office at Brüttisellen. He proves this together with his father Kurt D. Weber, who established Paninfo, the first system solutions provider for ICT in Switzerland. His father sold the company in 2007, he kept the offices. “I was happy about my father’s starting aid. Because I first needed a team to be able to provide customers with an offer at least. Today the team is so big that I feel concerned when I’m not in Dhaka in person”, Julian Weber says. He stays in contact with his colleagues via Skype, VoIP and Google services.
Footsteps towards foundation
With pleasure, Weber remembers the field research on-site. He had talked to numerous companies in Bangladesh, even with the in Dutch, Danish, and Americans who are expert and experienced in IT areas. “I quickly realized that I can differ with better educated programmers and more flexible company structures. That was the hour of birth of our lab”. By saying “lab”, Weber talks of a vertical structure with top-level programmers, who solve challenges, which are not off the shelf rather built from the scratch with utmost integrity in mind to solve the problem of the client.
In the beginning of 2011, Julian Weber employed his first colleague, meanwhile they became more than 70 carefully selected developers with different areas of expertise. Key positions were taken by internationally experienced people. For example, the man in charge for Product Management has experience of years in an Australian company, others studied in Greece, Singapore or worked in Malaysia.
The question Weber occupied was: How can I take the business context from Switzerland to the 7,000 kilometres away Bangladesh? He got a big relief when after a long search, he found an ally, the Chief Technology Officer Shah Ali Newaj, who is just called Topu. “I talked to him for two minutes. Then I knew that I had found my long searched-for top specialist.” The experienced software developer is the company’s heart, he checks new applicants really carefully. He recruits new talents directly from University by means of a road show and lectures.
Julian Weber has a simple recipe of how he motivates thousands of applicants. “Who works for us quickly belongs to the wealthy, they go on holiday once a year at the company’s expenses and not seldom they employ their own staff. Our developers can, including bonuses and other facilities, earn up to 3,000 Dollars and more a month. That’s triple the average of the still young IT industry. The more experienced people become, the higher their payment.”
Silicon Valley culture made in Bangladesh
SELISE is furnished in Bangladesh like a classic Silicon Valley start up company. Work and spare time go hand in hand. There is table tennis facility in the office, cricket and badminton are played, joint activities are only natural. Everybody is allowed to come and go as they like. “Teams only have to hand in their deliveries based on so-called sprints, on time”, Weber says. “Their enthusiasm is there. We have co-workers, who drop into our office while they are on holiday, because they are bored.” Weber wants to make SELISE a leading software lab with international standing. He wants to become independent from the low wage level of Bangladesh and only sell high tech software.