The History of STX Next (and Our Next Big Step)

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Business
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How are software houses created? Well, when one ambitious programmer and one rapidly growing language love each other very much…

The resulting passion can mark the beginning of a company such as ours.

In this article, we’ll summarize the history of Europe’s Python Powerhouse, and share news about our next big step in international growth.

We’ll also prove that history loves to come full circle when you least expect it.


Table of contents

I. Executive summary

II. Founding years

III. Rebranding and the move toward Polish capital

IV. Expansion of STX Next

V. 2019 and beyond: our next big step

VI. Final thoughts

Case studies

I. Executive summary

  • The company was founded on March 29, 2005, and was initially the Polish branch of Alt Control Communicatie B.V., a Dutch software development company.
  • The founders were Peter Valkenburg (co-founder of ACC), Maciej Dziergwa, and Andrzej Mleczko.
  • In 2008, the company rebranded into STX Next following an acquisition by the Polish company Softax; Maciej remained as CEO while Peter and Andrzej stepped away from the company.
  • Over the following years, STX Next has grown to over 350 people across five offices in Poland: Poznań, Wrocław, Piła, Łódź, and Gdańsk.
  • We have steadily expanded our roster of services, supplementing our core Python development skills with JavaScript development, manual and automated testing, product design, DevOps, and more.
  • The newest development: we’re coming full circle and opening a new branch office in the Netherlands, led by none other than Peter Valkenburg as Managing Director.

II. Founding years

Maciej Dziergwa, the founder of STX Next, began his career as a programmer in 2004 after graduating in Computer Science from the Poznań University of Technology.

Python had been Maciej’s tool of choice from the very beginning, ever since he discovered how much quicker he could get results with it compared to other languages, like Java.

In October 2004, just two days after graduating, he moved to the Netherlands, where Python’s place in the tech ecosystem had already been established. There, he joined a Dutch software development company named Alt Control Communicatie B.V.

Even as a developer, Maciej quickly showed leadership skills, and after a few months, he was already dealing with clients directly to drive business results. Under the eye of Peter Valkenburg, co-founder of ACC, he swiftly grew as a project manager.

But the following year, in 2005, Maciej decided that life abroad was not for him. He made plans to move back and start a family in Poland. (You can read Maciej’s story in full on his LinkedIn.)

Fortunately, the move turned out to be a business opportunity. Maciej and Peter agreed that instead of parting ways, they would open a Polish branch of the company with Maciej at the helm.

On March 29, 2005, Maciej Dziergwa, Peter Valkenburg, and Andrzej Mleczko founded Alt Control Internet & Communications Poland, marking the beginning of our company.

Since the first days, our HQ has been located in Poznań. But, as is often the case, the first location was far from glamorous. Our first office was a rented two-room apartment on the famous Półwiejska street.

III. Rebranding and the move toward Polish capital

2008 brought major changes to the company.

The Polish company Softax bought a 60% stake in ACC Poland, leading to the rebranding into STX Next. That’s right—if you were ever curious, the “STX” stands for “Softax”! And “Next” is meant to indicate we’re the next generation.

Maciej Dziergwa stayed on as partner with 40% ownership, while Peter Valkenburg and Andrzej Mleczko sold their shares.

From that moment onward, STX Next was owned 100% by Polish capital. At the time, the company had a humble roster of just 5 people. But that was soon to change.

Software development

IV. Expansion of STX Next

From 2008 until now, the history of STX Next can seem somewhat monotonous: growth, growth, and more growth.

Our revenue figures are a testament to this. Here’s just a sample:

  • 2013: 1.5M EUR
  • 2014: 3.6M EUR
  • 2015: 5.7M EUR
  • 2016: 8.4M EUR
  • 2017: 10.2M EUR
  • 2018: 11.2M EUR

(Revenue in PLN converted to EUR according to the exchange rate on November 12, 2019.)

But when you break it down, our path toward a team of over 350 people was made possible thanks to a range of factors, including:

  • key partnerships with clients,
  • adding new roles and services to our offer,
  • opening new branches across Poland.

In November 2008, STX Next secured its first client in the banking industry: Inteligo, owned by PKO BP, one of the leading banks in Central and Eastern Europe.

The following year, we recognized the need to supplement our backend Python development with JavaScript on the frontend. As a result, we hired our first JavaScript developer.

After the rebranding, signing a client from the US was one of our major goals. In 2012, we began our first overseas partnership with the American company SteepRock.

In July 2013, STX Next signed a contract with Hogarth Worldwide. To this day, they remain our most crucial partnership and a major drive for our growth. This cooperation also marked our expansion into the UK market.

Additionally, 2013 was the year we opened new offices for the first time. And just for good measure, we opened two in one year, in Wrocław and Piła.

To top it all off, 2013 was also when we became the first Polish sponsor of PyCon US.

In May 2014, we crossed a major headcount milestone: 100 people!

In 2015, we decided to go beyond the tech side of digital products by adding UX design and product strategy to our range of services.

In 2016, we grew to four branch offices by expanding to Łódź.

In 2017, the time came to modernize our quality assurance processes. Paulina Gatkowska became our first Test Automation Specialist. Automated software QA has been a part of our offer ever since.

By the end of the year, we also opened our fifth branch office in Gdańsk.

In 2018, we focused on providing true end-to-end solutions to our clients. A natural extension of this was adding the first DevOps specialists to our roster. Additionally, to bolster our 24/7 support capabilities, we brought a few team members in Mexico on board.

V. 2019 and beyond: our next big step

And this brings us to the most exciting of years: this year.

In July, we surpassed 300 people on board. In September, our Poznań HQ moved to an epic new location.

But the most exciting development happened just last month—and it’s a change that brings us full circle to the roots of the company.

As you may remember from the beginning of this very article, Maciej Dziergwa’s career began in the Netherlands under the tutelage of Peter Valkenburg. Now, Peter will be joining our ranks as Managing Director of STX Next Netherlands, our first international branch!

(For more details, head over to our CEO’s post on LinkedIn.)

Needless to say, we’re very excited about our company’s expansion. And we think Dutch businesses looking to gain a tech advantage should be excited, too.

VI. Final thoughts

And that’s it: our major developments over 14 years on the market, summarized just for you.

What does the future hold for us in 2020 and after? You should follow us on LinkedIn (or Facebook) (or Twitter) to find out. Signing up for our newsletter might also prove a good source of news!

Thanks for taking the time to explore the history of STX Next. If you’re curious about some of the services we’ve added over the years, head to our Services page to get the full scoop.

And now, it’s time to make some more history.

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Author

Jakub Grajcar

Inbound Marketing Team Lead

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