Dec 26, 2023

The Annual Review and Future Plans

Universe team

We’ve never thought about writing an annual review; it seemed too traditional and somehow boring. However, everything changed during a regular team discussion when we summarized the challenges we’ve faced at Universe, including fundraising for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We recalled how much was unknown at the beginning of 2023 and how we prepared for the blackouts this winter. Some people mentioned joining not so long ago, and our CEO indeed noted how much the team has expanded. Alongside that, the number of users of our apps has skyrocketed!

So, these will be summaries of gratitude, growth and goodness. And, of course, we will share plans for the next year and the incredible gift Universe has received under the Christmas tree

What are the company's main achievements this year that you are proud of?

Instead of a dozen words in response to this question, we have a cool infographic that showcases all our achievements.

How do you see the company's role in the industry for the year?

This year, we grew our team by 19%. However, we want to create even more job opportunities for Ukrainians and help them to enter the IT sphere. As a career switcher myself, I am particularly impressed by success stories after changing career paths. Therefore, Universe's global goal as an employer is to provide switchers and junior specialists with the opportunity to grow their expertise in the IT field.

What goals have you set for yourself and the company in 2024?

My key focus for 2024 is the restructuring of Universe's organizational structure for effective company management. My personal goal is to become an effective CEO of a large business, which Universe has become.

I am grateful to 2023 for allowing us to experience this year peacefully and safely as a company. I express immense thanks to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. A special thanks to the team for rapid growth and unity. Personally, I did not expect this year to be so dynamic. And, of course, thank you close friends and family for navigating through the challenges of 2023 together.

How did you support the team in 2023?

In my opinion, the most important thing a company can offer its employees right now is stability and confidence in tomorrow. We communicate business results transparently so that people have all the information and no reason to worry. Volunteer assistance to our colleagues’ relatives at the front was a crucial support step. In 2023, we closed 48 vacancies and continue to open the new ones.

Were there any new training programs implemented in 2023?

This year, we conducted courses on conflict resolution and negotiations for all the interested employees. We delved into the topics of emotional intelligence and networking with managers. Additionally, we updated our training course for new managers, enriching it with materials and practical tasks. We also conducted regular first aid training for our colleagues.

What are the most memorable moments in the team's life in 2023?

We actively organized internal gatherings to support the loved ones on the front lines. Over the past year, we managed to raise 1.2 million UAH solely for the assistance of colleagues' relatives. Every Universe team member knows he or she can ask for help, and the company will double their contributions.

We are immensely impressed by the team's proactiveness in charitable initiatives. For example, when the Kakhovska HES was blown up, the entire team immediately discussed what one buys and how we would deliver medicines, boats, clothing, water and other things.

Another important initiative for us was to help children affected by the war. For the second year running, we organize Secret Santa for these children, bringing their wishes and needs to life. Our employees show incredible initiative, adding their kind words, toys, sweets, and small treats to the necessary items for the children. It's hard to imagine what these children have been through, and we want to bring a little joy back into their lives.

How do fundraising and donations help unite the teams?

With the start of full-scale war, everyone has changed, and consequently, the company's values have transformed. Now, support, assistance and family values are at the forefront, not just perks and comfort. Unity can be accurately noted. Universe employees support all colleagues' initiatives, actively suggest ideas for fundraising, and take pride in the company they help to build.

The team's latest wish as a gift for achieving a new milestone is to purchase the UAV "Leleka" in collaboration with the "Come Back Alive" foundation.

And we end this year very interestingly: by expanding office space and adding +1 floor to our business center. A gift for everyone :)

I thank 2023 for the opportunity to work with talented and strong professionals with mature values, with faith in the country, and an active position for our victory. I’m also thankful for supporting each other, mutual understanding, and unity. For the opportunity to create top-notch products in their own niches. And, of course, thanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine for giving us this opportunity.

The best moment for the team in 2023

Every new day is our best moment because the team strives to give 200% every day and achieve new victories.

One of such moments was scaling Cleaner Guru to the top-1, which happened due to the coordinated work of the product and marketing.

What new features or products were released in 2023, and how were they received by users?

In 2023, we managed to release many useful features in our products, but our star is the launch of the new application Assist, which has already firmly established itself in the market and helped tens of thousands of users.

How do you develop strategies to improve the user experience in products?

Creating strategies to improve the user experience is a continuous process for us, involving several stages. Here are a few of them:

  1. Regular user experience research to understand the real needs and expectations of our users.

  2. Working with User Personas and User Experience Goals frameworks to focus on the most important changes.

  3. Testing hypotheses and analyzing learnings to build a further strategy.

  4. Working on personalizing the delivery of relevant content to users after their onboarding to improve activation.

  5. Implementing a series of enhancements aimed at protecting the confidentiality and integrity of our users' data.

And, of course, critical thinking and an unwavering desire to create only the best products on the market that truly solve users' problems.

I thank 2023 for our team, which flies forward every day and lights up new worlds to simplify the lives of millions of people worldwide.

What new features or products were released in 2023?
  1. We’ve updated and improved algorithms for duplicate photo search and video compression.

  2. New features to Cleaner Guru were added: battery charging animations, secret vault for storing sensitive files, photo deletion with a swipe.

  3. A new product, Assist, was launched on both iOS and Android platforms.

Do you have a specific approach to developing a strategy for improving user experience in your products?

We closely monitor the market, actively communicate with our users not only about existing functionality but also test new ideas with them. This feedback saves us much time and helps us to take into account all nuances immediately. Our users are very responsive and provide valuable insights and interesting experiences.

What product development trends were successfully implemented this year?
  1. We’ve introduced applications fully built on SwiftUI.

  2. Xcode Cloud was integrated into our workflow.

  3. We’ve initiated a transition to StoreKit 2.

Best moment for the team in 2023

There were many, making it difficult to single out just one. Perhaps the best part is that in these challenging times, we’re not only maintaining our business but also surpassing our own records/ We’ve improved metrics, and strengthened the team with new talented specialists.

I thank 2023 for the challenges, great people around, and the opportunity to work and support our Armed Forces.

Which marketing strategies helped to increase user base in 2023?

Focusing on performance creatives, new concepts for these creatives, and approaches to app promotion. Significant growth in traffic acquisition on TikTok.

Which app particularly pleased the marketing team at Guru Apps?

All of them; we saw growth in all major Guru Apps 🙂. We are delighted to have the expertise in various utility niches and actively exchange insights and working approaches within the teams.

Did you implement product development trends this year, and if so, which ones?

We strive not only to follow market trends but also to set our own. Here are some important and effective trends we have implemented:

  1. Scaling CAPI funnel for mobile app acquisition.

  2. We’ve automatized everything that could be automated to improve speed and decision quality.

  3. Implementation of AI/GAN, with a lot of work in the field of AI.

  4. Expansion into new channels: Applovin and Snapchat.

Have you already defined the team's KPIs for the next year?

We tripled our growth in 2023, and we plan to achieve no less next year!

I thank 2023 for the great Universe people, with burning eyes, united by a desire to achieve incredible results. There were many lows in 2023 that led to even greater highs.

What has inspired you the most on the path of creating a new product?

Unfortunately, I joined when the niche had been already chosen, and the MVP product had been prepared. However, before that, I had to decide which business to join from the ecosystem.

In the Universe option, two factors inspired me the most: a great team of managers (whom I communicated with) and a very promising niche where I knew what to do for an effective start.

The most critical and the happiest moments for your team?

Speaking about business, I think the rapid growth of our product in a fairly short period is the most critical. Everyone in the team understands that it is very non-trivial, and it is solely the work of each person that allowed us to achieve such a rapid and mega-cool result. These achievements allow us to confidently move forward and develop long-term things like SEO, which is rare in similar product businesses.

What is the main challenge you set for 2024?

It’s hard to single out just one.

  1. Surely one of them is to grow in volume x3.

  2. To form a strong team that can operationally handle an already large and complex business, in what our product will definitely transform by the end of 2024.

  3. To overcome all challenges related to the fact that we are growing too fast. From the outside, it may seem like just a cool story of rapid business growth, but as practice shows, there are many difficulties “off grid”.

I thank 2023 for the people with whom we are building the future unicorn. And, of course, thanks to the Armed Forces for the opportunity to do it.

What product solution are you proud of most of all?

This year, we made many improvements to the new product, starting in February with an MVP that only had basic functionality. I am very proud of improving our document editor and adding new functionality for our users, which took the product's quality to a new level.

What didn't work out with the product in 2023?

Since we’ve launched the product only this year, there are many things we couldn’t do because of lack of time. However, proper prioritization helps us focus on the essentials to achieve our goals. I am confident that the quality of the product will improve significantly over the next year, and we will be able to improve the main product metrics.

How many documents have you processed this year?

In these 9 months from the start of user acquisition, we have already processed more than 3.2 million documents. This figure is impressive, it’s like every resident of Kyiv has uploaded a document. Along with this, we will do everything to ensure that over the next few years, this figure reaches the scale of the population of Ukraine.

I thank 2023 for allowing us to continue building cool products from different corners of Ukraine, thanks to the resilience and strength of the Armed Forces.

What changes in Wisey inspired you?

The transformation of the product and the team, which, together, led to rapid and effective growth and finally a strong belief in Wisey's great future.

What product solutions are you proud of in 2023?

Successful content, product and marketing pivots: from the theme "learn how to learn" to productivity, from a simple pricing landing page to quiz marketing, from a trial model to a non-trial model, and much more.

Were there critical moments for your team? And what were the happiest moments?

There were two critical moments: a full product pivot in January and a critical team reformation in May, along with another pivot. The happiest moments were, of course, the first 100 purchases with ROMI+. Also, the moment when the team started to break even and make a profit!)) My personal happiness was that the entire team never doubted for a day that everything would work out. It greatly helped us on our way.

Do you set a major challenge for yourself in 2024?

At the moment, I am satisfied with the quality of our product at 4 out of 10, which is normal for this stage of the business. The goal by the end of 2024 is to be satisfied with a solid 7 (not stopping there, of course)). Simultaneously, to increase the profitability of the business to $2.5 million per month.

I thank 2023 for allowing us to grow people and all business directions despite incredibly challenging conditions, once again proving our resilience. Everything is possible when we are together.

What decision has led to the success of your team in 2023?

There isn't just one. It's an entire chain of decisions and changes, but they are all united by the approach: we must succeed because there is no other option. Every day, each of us makes important decisions, considering the challenges and goals ahead.

At the same time, there is a hypothesis that the decision of the Board to give Wisey another chance was the key decision.

The most interesting insight from users this year?

There are users who unsubscribe and then return to renew their subscription. Wisey is not just the product name but also the name of our user: Wisey Ferdinanda Maston, who has also left an excellent feedback.

The happiest moment with the team this year?

For me, it's the moment when I realized that we've been acquiring users at the target CAC for a whole week and the moment when we understood that we have found a unicorn economy.

First of all, I thank 2023 for the opportunity to be in Kyiv, live, work, and especially for the opportunity to join a cool project and an awesome team. Thank you for a team that never loses faith in great results and gives all its strength and emotions, and even more, to achieve them.

These cosmic results were achieved in Universe within a year. We succeeded in overcoming challenges in some aspects and gained valuable experience in others. We hope to be just as inspired and united in 2024. We wish everyone to be excited about their activities every day and work in a dream team. And if you haven't found it yet, our doors of vacancies are always open. 

A victorious year to all of us!

Be with us, become our Universe!

Send CV or contact us at hello@uni.tech

For product-related questions — support@uni.tech

Be with us, become our Universe!

Send CV or contact us at hello@uni.tech

For product-related questions — support@uni.tech

Be with us, become our Universe!

Send CV or contact us at hello@uni.tech

For product-related questions — support@uni.tech