The Silicon Review
“We back this with trusted and effective communication that has earned us a spot as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.”
TopDevz is a leading provider of expert, affordable onshore software development resources. With headquarters in Sacramento California and a regional headquarters office in Toronto, Ontario, the company serves the North American market delivering services to large global companies and mid-market enterprises. With previous experience of accelerating a consulting services company to $50M+, Ashkan Rajaee founded TopDevz on the principles that experience matters, that effective communication leads to higher quality results and that qualified onshore resources provide the greatest likelihood of achieving a successful project.
The company was incorporated in 2017.
Ashkan Rajaee, TopDevz CEO/Founder, spoke exclusively to
The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. Why was the company set up?
The company was set up to serve the overwhelming demand for having elite and senior-level software developers on their development teams to facilitate the process from start to finish. I learned from my previous experience in the industry that there is a big demand in the market for this, and being it is my highest level expertise, it was a no brainer to start this venture and offer a solution to the overwhelming demand.
Q. And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
We have actually done a lot to expand the software development solutions we offer to our clients. For example, where we originally offered just temporary staff augmentation we have also begun offering project-based work and direct hire recruiting and sourcing. This is all made possible because of the AI-powered virtual hiring platform we built that enables video interviewing, speeding up the vetting process and removing bias from the recruitment and hiring process.
Q. Can you brief us about the history of your company?
We started out providing staff augmentation services for elite-level software developers. In providing staff augmentation, we realized we needed to improve the recruiting process to better recruit top tier, elite-level developers, so we began to work on a solution. We developed an AI-powered video platform to recruit very quickly only the best of the best and improve the overall candidate experience throughout the process. This platform and our business philosophy have enabled us to staff our clients with higher-quality candidates much faster than our competitors. We just completed a case study where we have a 91 percent success rate on the candidates we present being hired onto our clients successfully, we are very proud of that metric.
Moreover, our mission is to provide industry-leading software development services while creating an opportunity for people to grow and thrive in their own careers at the company.
Q. What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle I faced was when I initially started the company and needed to build credibility. We were a smaller team at the time and did not yet have a proven track record as a new company, so it was a challenge to convince larger clients to trust us and our experience. We worked very hard to push past this phase during our first six to eight months to really get some projects under our belt and deliver on them. After this initial phase, the business just took off because we were building software for fortune 100 clients and our credibility was no longer a hurdle but a point of promotion for our company.
Another hurdle that we had to overcome was being sure that you are only filling positions with the most qualified candidates. You are desperate to fill these positions, so you start to fill them with candidates that are not necessarily the most qualified candidate for the role and this would not work out well for anyone involved. In order to overcome this, we simply just stopped doing it; regardless of what positions we needed to fill we would only fill the position if we had the best, most qualified candidate.
A third hurdle we faced was the high demand for our services that we could not fulfill. To overcome this, we developed and implemented our AI-powered recruiting platform.
Q. What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success?
I think the single, most influential factor in our business’ success is the willingness and ability of my team. The team’s willingness and cooperation to take on different roles and different tasks, knowing that they may not be the best fit and still really putting in an effort to make that position and role a success, especially in our start-up phase was absolutely the most influential factor in our success.
Q. What other CEOs do you look up to?
I look up to Richard Branson; I love his style, passion, and vision. I also really look up to Frederick Smith, CEO, and Founder of FedEx. He has a remarkable story of being college student at Yale and submitting a paper that outlined his entire FedEx business model, and it was basically graded as a failure. But he proceeded and launched FedEx at incredible success, then very quickly began running into huge failure at which point he went to Vegas and gambled the company’s last dollar hoping to collect enough in winnings to keep the company going – which he did and now look at FedEx today.
Q. What do you think is the most memorable moment in your career?
As someone who started entrepreneurship early on, I’ve never really had a job. My most memorable moment in this experience was when one of my business ventures, which at the time was the biggest, failed very quickly. That taught me a very valuable lesson when you are not innovating and creating you are shrinking and I always keep that with me.
Q. If not a business leader/CEO, what else you want to be?
I’ve always had a love for airplanes and jets, so I would love to be, if not this, a pilot.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Don’t give up. There are a lot of times where you feel it is not going to work out, maybe the numbers don’t make sense, maybe the personality situation doesn’t make sense. But you had a strong enough inclination to do what you are doing, so don’t stop, make sure you see it through and focus on the big picture. Just because you are having a bad week, that doesn’t define your business over the course of a year, so look at the bigger picture or longer timeframe because that can give you a better snapshot and you can’t lose sight of that.
Ashkan Rajaee: A Charismatic Entrepreneur
Ashkan is an entrepreneur at heart; he grew up playing basketball, a sport he truly loves. He received a scholarship to a school in Texas, during his time in school he came to the realization that he was not going to go into the NBA. Being a naturally spirited entrepreneur, Ashkan started his first business and although it failed he learned a lot from that experience and had a lot of fun throughout the process. From that point, he moved onto various different ventures which eventually led him into the world of software. Ashkan found success in the software industry and as a partner; he helped to lead a company from $6 million in yearly revenue to approximately $60 million in yearly revenue in less than three years. As a partner, when this company was sold, it was his experience in that venture that helped him to see areas where he could do better and improve the business model so he started TopDevz.