Lance is one of the founding partners and a director of BULTRA Tech, and despite the challenges of 2020, it has been his determination to crack on with doing business, in-spite of all the setbacks we have all experienced, that has been fundamental to making BULTRA become a reality.
Here are some more insights into Lance’s World…
Tell us about yourself
My first career path was in IT asset finance working for large banks and finance companies including ten years at Royal Bank of Scotland, five years at GE Capital and shorter spells at EMC and Barclays Bank. I was keen to get into the tech world having always been interested in this since the days of my tinkering with my Commodore 64 home computer and my year long internship at IBM in 1985.
Why you do what you do?
My interest in remaining in the large corporate and finance world had been waning for many years. I was yearning for the freedom and creativity of my own business. Having first been to Bansko in 2005 I had an idea to set up a side hustle: banskoblog.com – a ski extras and tourist information website which I set up in 2008. In 2011 I left Barclays and came to Bulgaria to focus on building something good here.
Tell us more about App Factory
App Factory was an idea born out of my informal business partnership with Atanas Tonchev, where we had worked together since mid 2011 on adding restaurant listings and table bookings along with the ski extras booking in a new Bansko App. Atanas (Nasko) and I were to make a business partnership that combined his programming, mathematical and technical skills with my customer facing and business development experience. Nasko needed an app too so we combined forces to find a freelance developer for zavedenia.bg and Bansko App.
What’s the App Factory story?
Nasko and I realised that we shared the same values and we were both in this to enjoy the journey, the learning and always to place integrity at the heart of everything we do.
We could see that many other businesses were looking for iOS and Android apps, so we co-founded App Factory (appfactory.bg) in early 2014. Our app development work started with the local restaurant and hotel sector but we were keen for challenging projects that could use the skills of our team and started working with a UK based health tech start-up, then grew from there with other start-ups and scale-up companies.
We expanded the team and have continued to grow through the years, including in 2020 where the disruption played to our strengths in already managing our team on a remote basis. We have grown to have a full stack of in-house experience from design UX/UI, databases, api’s, apps, WordPress and shopify.
We are looking to double our business by mid 2022.
Freddie, is a first year university student studying marketing management and, I am proud to say, working as an intern — right here at Bultra. And Anthony, our four year old, is at nursery and is just starting to learn to ski.
I love being on the snow in winter where Bansko is my playground and there I have the freedom to ski with both Freddie and Anthony.
Views on 2020
2020 is the year I feel that everything changed. The knock on effects of the virus have accelerated the digitisation of everything. 2020 was a very good year for us especially because we have been at the forefront of a Covid related medical app and algorithm development. We expanded both our customer base, our areas of expertise and our contacts.
I feel a little guilty in saying that, overall, I enjoyed 2020. We have been in the right sectors and where we have not been we have pivoted to create new opportunities, We were lucky to be able to enjoy plenty of time on the coast at Sozopol as well as in the Pirin mountains above Bansko.
Thoughts on 2021
Working from home is the new normal so it is no surprise that I am finding that our clients feel more comfortable than ever in using our nearshore services. I have never been so excited for App Factory than now — at the start of 2021. It’s going to be a year that sees us take on more ground breaking and important work than ever before.
Looking at the Governments across the world they have engaged in unprecedented money printing (aka stimulus). And when I say unprecedented, I mean never before in all recorded financial history. $10 Trillion+ was printed across the world in 2020 to bolster the traditional finance system. This meant that governments were actively devaluing their currency. Bitcoin was built to protect us against that. Therefore I see 2021 will see the emergence of Bitcoin as the new global monetary standard.
Claim to fame
I was a music scholar and played the violin and viola.