The Year 2016: A Summary

While 2016 was a horrible year in many ways, for us at Varvet it was our best year so far. Time for a last-minute annual recap!

Elabs <3 Varvet

We started 2016 by merging two companies: Elabs and Varvet (1.0). We cherry picked the best parts from each, such as the Varvet name and the Elabs office, and announced our union with a love letter on Valentine’s Day.

We merged the two companies because we thought that we’d be stronger together, and this year has definitely validated that. The cliché about synergy that 1+1=3 has proved true in our case. We’re now ⅓ from old Elabs, ⅓ from old Varvet, and ⅓ new teammates that have joined after the merger. A perfect mix that gives the new Varvet its own identity.

Team changes

From my perspective, I’ve gained 13 new colleagues this year! My two new business partners, Johan and Jon, and the great developers from their old company: Jens, Julia, Linus, and Mattias. And then the 7 new people we hired after the merger: Jon (P), Therese, Daniell, Emma, Eric, Cenny… and Ingemar! Ingemar has actually worked with us twice before. He freelanced with us in Gothenburg during the early days of Elabs, and then worked with us from Stockholm during 2010 and 2011. I am so happy that he’s come back. Ingemar is also Varvet’s first developer in Stockholm.

Some of my new colleagues at Varvet

Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to a few people too. Jonas, who was one of the original developers at Elabs, left to do his own thing after 7 years with us. Most Ruby developers know Jonas as the main creator of open source libraries like CarrierWave, Capybara, and Pundit. He played a huge part in shaping the way we worked at Elabs, and continue to work at Varvet. We also said goodbye to Lisa who left to focus on Rampen, the non-profit she started to help unaccompanied refugee minors. And then Lilly, my wife, left the company. Lilly joined in 2010 after I’d pleaded with her to come help me run the business side of things. With Jon and Johan on hand as my new business partners, Lilly decided that I had all the help I need and that it was time for her to follow her own dreams and not just support mine. I am incredibly grateful to Lilly, Lisa, and Jonas for everything they’ve done at Elabs and Varvet.

We’re 19 employees at Varvet now. Wow.

Crayfish party!

MATIX

There’s one more person that joined Varvet this year, although he’s not an employee (yet). Pontus is a Masters student at the MATIX programme at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. As part of his programme he works with us two days a week for an entire year to study management of growth-stage companies from the inside.

Pontus at our Christmas party

Client projects

With the larger team, we’ve been able to help more clients than ever. We worked with Forsman & Bodenfors to build iPhone and Android apps (with an Elixir backend) for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s new clothing brand A-Z, we built an exciting new mobile app (also with an Elixir backend) for Fastighetsbyrån, and we continued work on the Elixir backend for FootballAddicts’ new platform Pitch.

We also continued working with our enterprise clients Telenor Connexion and Lärarförbundet, and started a very exciting project for Bonnier Tidskrifter. This is one of the most interesting and challenging projects we’ve worked on, and I hope we’ll be able to say more about it in 2017.

We worked with some great smaller companies and startups too, like Sigmastocks, Studentvikarie, Battleriff, Naturkartan, and Rubens Barn. We love the variation of working with companies of all sizes in a wide variety of fields. The keys to successful projects are always the same: great communication and feedback-driven iteration.

If you think we can help you with a software project, feel free to contact us.

ProjectPuzzle

Our own product ProjectPuzzle took a few steps toward our vision of becoming a full solution for managing a client services business, but it still has a long way to go. What it really needs though is someone to take charge of marketing and business development.

Nordic Ruby

Nordic Ruby 2016

As a way to tell our friends about the new Varvet, and show the new team an important part of where we come from, we brought our conference Nordic Ruby back! Bringing everyone together at Yasuragi was one of the big highlights of the year. Next year, we’re changing things again with a new (but similar) conference in Gothenburg! Follow @varvet for updates.

As you can see, 2016 has been full of excitement and changes. I’m so happy to work with such a fantastic team, and I can’t wait to get started on another great year.

Happy New Year!

/ CJ

Daniell waves