At the start of 2020, ITMAGINATION completed the acquisition of Maise, a boutique agency based in Kraków, Poland, that specializes in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design services.
In this post, Dawid Łaziński, co-founder and board member of ITMAGINATION, sits down with Michał Sambora, co-founder and Lead UI Designer at Maise, to discuss what this means for both companies.
The acquisition of Maise by ITMAGINATION is a strong statement to start the year with. What was the thinking behind this move?
Dawid Łaziński: Since ITMAGINATION was founded back in 2008, every year has presented its own set of unique challenges and opportunities. As the company has grown – in size and maturity – we’ve learned the importance of anticipating customer needs and market trends, and acting on them quickly and decisively. So, rather than ease into 2020 softly, we started boldly, with the acquisition of Maise, a Krakow-based team of specialists in the area of mobile interface design.
Michał, tell us about Maise and its history.
Michał Sambora: Our experience in mobile interface design dates back to 2012, at which time we already had a lot of relevant experience under our belt. Between 2013 and 2018, I worked with a US-based startup, where I was responsible for product design, webpages, mobile applications and also the company’s entire brand identity. During that time, I built up an eight-person team in Poland. This team comprised not only UI Designers, but also Developers, as we sought to build out something closer to a ‘full-stack’ service. Among that team were esteemed colleagues such as Kamil Kozieł and Krzysztof Krupa. Our work attracted the attention of companies like Amazon and Skullcandy, with whom we had the pleasure of collaborating.
And then you created Maise?
Michał Sambora: Yes, in 2018, we decided to take a big step in our development and set up our own company, Maise. Based on the experience we had amassed in the preceding years, we decided to focus on the Design and Development of mobile applications. We had observed the dynamic growth in fintech and blockchain, and sought to focus our efforts on these areas. Since that time, we’ve successfully built out a stable of international clients primarily from these industry segments.
And 2019 led to another big step for Maise?
Michał Sambora: Last year, 2019, was a very big step. We added another UI expert to the team, Kacper Murzyn, and entered into long-term agreements to work with companies from Dubai and Great Britain. Our portfolio grew and grew and, by showcasing it on platforms such as Dribble and Behance, we were able to attract more and more clients, and increase both revenue and profitability.
Michał, how did you end up discussing a possible collaboration with ITMAGINATION?
Michał Sambora: We hadn’t had any previous contact with the ITMAGINATION until I met with Paweł Borowski and Dawid Łaziński in Warsaw. There, they explained to me their ambition to build out a mature UX and UI capability at ITMAGINATION. Very soon, we were talking about the opportunity for Maise to grow by joining forces with ITMAGINATION. Their vision and approach was bold, ambitious and yet grounded in practical thinking. We spoke the same language and were soon working towards turning a shared vision into reality.
Dawid, how did you come to learn about Maise and what did you like about them?
Dawid Łaziński: We had observed Maise and companies with similar profiles from afar for some time. We have a deep appreciation for the value of good UX and UI, but we have traditionally come from the technical and ‘build’ side. We were looking for ways to build out our own service portfolio. We know that Poland is a hotbed for technical talent and design skills, and it was both encouraging and impressive to see the range and quality of the work that Maise had delivered, and the clients that they had worked with. Many of these clients had similar profiles to ITMAGINATION clients, and so this strengthened our belief that ITMAGINATION and Maise could be a good fit for each other.
Michał, what was it that convinced you to work with ITMAGINATION?
Michał Sambora: ITMAGINATION has strong and broad capabilities in the development of digital products. This is an area that we had always aspired to work more closely with. However, as a relatively small company, this had often been out of our reach.
Quite often, we would deliver well-researched thoroughly considered, beautiful designs only for them to be sent to third parties or in-house development teams. The quality of what was produced often did not match the vision of the product and its designs. In short, great design was often undermined by poor build quality. That naturally left us unsatisfied and in search of greater control.
With ITMAGINATION, we see an opportunity to have greater influence over the quality of the end product. After all, we’ll be working side by side with in-house developers, which will give us the opportunity to develop a more-integrated Design-and-Development process. Furthermore, we’ll have an opportunity to showcase our services to a broader range of clients, and to finetune our processes based on the additional experience we’ll gain. The result should be experiences that are beautifully designed and built.
In addition, the size and scale of the projects and teams that we’ll be working with will enable us as a team to take an important next step in our own growth.
Dawid, what do you think ITMAGINATION will gain?
Dawid Łaziński: We understand the importance of high-quality user experience. Several years ago, this was important for any customer-facing tools. Today, it’s essential. By welcoming Maise into ITMAGINATION, we strengthen our ability to help our customers fulfil this ambition. We also strengthen our portfolio by being able to provide a more-integrated Design-and-Development experience, which means that our partners can trust us with even larger parts of their projects. In short, the acquisition and integration of Maise will help ITMAGINATION develop stronger, deeper, relationships with its clients.
What is the vision for UX and UI services at ITMAGINATION with Maise on board?
Michał Sambora: The vision is to develop new processes for UX and UI Design that are in line with – and anticipate – the needs of ITMAGINATION clients and their customers. To do this, our ambition is to grow the existing team and capability so that we can offer these, and other new services, to as many ITMAGINATION clients as possible. This will enable the company to grow, and it will increase the value that ITMAGINATION can add to its clients.
Dawid Łaziński: User Experience is a huge topic for our clients. Everybody today understands the importance of providing intuitive, satisfying experience to end customers. We at ITMAGINATOIN recognize the importance of this, but we also believe that it’s not just external customers who value and demand satisfying user experiences. If we, as consumers, come to appreciate well-designed, intuitive digital experiences, our expectations grow and we take those same expectations into our professional lives. ITMAGINATION clients also recognize this – you must to aspire treat your internal customers, your employees and partners, in the same way that you treat your external customers. That means providing better user experiences on internal-facing applications as well as ‘customer’-facing digital touchpoints. We anticipate a growth in demand for UX and UI services across IT projects of all shapes and sizes. By welcoming Maise, ITMAGINATION will be better able to put user experience at the heart of the projects it delivers.
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