What did Apify achieve in 2021? We created more, hired more, and earned more than ever before. Read about the highlights, changes, and challenges of an amazing year.
We've been revving our engines for some time, but 2021 was the year Apify really took off. Hiring, platform updates, revenue, marketing, and data transfers.
All systems are go 🚀
There were certainly plenty of challenges and complications, but now it's time to celebrate what we achieved in 2021. So join us for a look back at a year full of growth and energy!
Grow like you mean it
Startups have to move fast and expand when they see the opportunity. 2021 was Apify's window and we took it. We knew the time had come to start hiring the people we needed to make our vision a reality. Here are just some of the impressive numbers that resulted from that drive to do more.
Know where you're going
Apify has always been on a mission to make the web more programmable and that hasn't changed.
But last year we finally settled on the right words to define our vision of what we will create together.
Apify will be the world's greatest platform and marketplace for automation software—the most effortless way for developers to ship their software and the easiest way for companies to get the job done.
We took a great step forward in bringing that vision to life in 2021. We made it possible for developers to launch their software on Apify Store and charge others for using them. The program has already seen its first success story and we expect many more in 2022 and beyond.
Apify in the wild
The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 in Central Europe has been ranking the top 50 fastest-growing tech companies in the region for over 22 years. In 2021, Apify surged from nowhere into position at no.14 thanks to our four-year revenue growth rate of 1,429% 💪
October 2021 saw Apify make it to the finals of the UiPath Automation Awards in Wroclaw, Poland. We may not have won the grand prize, but we don't think this is the last we'll see of Apify coming up for awards.
Our Discord server also deserves special mention. It's now reached over 800 members. Apifiers spend time on Discord helping community members, solving problems, and acting as champions and ambassadors for our tools.
Paying it forward
Almost everyone in Apify has a story to tell about how they benefitted from the kindness and support of others. It might be the story of how the YC Fellowship helped our founders go from a simple command-line tool to the most powerful web scraping and automation platform in the world. Or it might be how a lawyer got into programming thanks to a glowing reference from an influential figure in the Czech startup scene.
Closer to home, Apify has been involved with the Czech non-profit Czechitas for years, and several of our teammates have come from their courses and workshops for women. In 2021, one of the teams Apify mentored won a "technical unicorn", the prize for creating the best technical project 🦄
Apify also helps in schools so that the next generation is computer and engineering literate. We provide programmable toys like Lego Boost and Ozobots, we help children learn Scratch, and show them how to use 3D printers. WebExpo 2021 saw Apify's Ondra Urban speaking about how to scrape the web of tomorrow, but it also saw co-founder Jakub Balada show kids how to build and control Lego Boost robots.
Know of a good cause that could use some serious web scraping or automation power? Let us know!
Who are Apify?
Apify was born in the Czech Republic, but it is fast becoming a company made up of people from all over the world.
Out of the current team of 80 people, we already cover 19 nationalities. 58% might still be Czech, but there are also Apifiers from Slovakia, Ukraine, the US, Ireland, Brazil, Denmark, Russia, Latvia, Romania, and Iran. And we're proud to say that 25% of our Apifiers are women.
Because of the pandemic, most of us only met during the amazing offsite in Croatia. But Apify has a strong company culture of making people feel welcome, so we believe that our new teammates were able to fit right in even if some of them had to join remotely.
In fact, we encourage flexibility when it comes to remote work and many of our Czech-based continue to work at least partially from home even now. As long as the work gets done, we don't care where it gets done. We trust our teammates to live by our company values wherever they are.
Apify needs the freedom to seek out the best new talent anywhere in the world and we entered 2022 with a solid sense of just what kind of teammates we want to find.
Team victories in 2021
These are the people who keep Apify fed literally, spiritually, and of course with essential new blood. They make it possible for us to grow and thrive. And without them, there would be a serious lack of fun.
They spearheaded the biggest wave of hiring Apify has ever seen in 2021, bringing us from 32 to 66 FTEs and onboarding all of them impeccably. Nobody ever enters Apify and feels lost or unwanted. On top of that, they introduced generous hardware budgets to make sure that all Apifiers are equipped with the right tools.
One of the biggest wins for Operations in 2021 was to bring Dušan Antoš on board as CFO. Apify needed a solid hand at the helm and he is already making sure that the company has the long-term resources it needs to succeed.
But it's not just about hiring and work. Happiness and balance are vital for keeping the engines going. Apify fully covers Multisport cards for Apifiers based in the Czech Republic, while making sure that the delicious free lunches every day don't leave them too drained.
A long-lasting Apify tradition was always our exciting offsite trips and events. The pandemic stifled those in 2020, but in 2021 we bounced back with the Croatia offsite. 38 Apifiers made the trip and spent a week sailing, learning, and making a million incredible memories.
It's no understatement to say that revenue is needed to fuel every company. 2021 saw the Sales team grow from 1 to 10 people and become Revenue at the end of the year, with Daniel Štarha taking on the mantle of VP of Revenue.
But we’ll let their achievements speak for themselves here, so just sit back and bask in the glow of a chart that shows 2021 launch into record-breaking revenue of 103% year-on-year 📈
Revenue lands the deals, but someone has to bring in the leads. And that's exactly what Apify's Marketing team will be focusing on this year. So it was lucky that we finally managed to form an actual team in 2021! Marketing went from 1.5 FTEs to its current 7.5 FTEs, with more on the way.
Even with just a handful of people, Marketing managed to dramatically boost awareness of Apify across the net. Our positive reviews on G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius have placed us in top position in our industry, while our new pages, such as the huge Web Scraping: The Beginner's Guide and industry sections, make it easier for new visitors to understand what Apify can do for them. On top of that, the number of blog posts published in 2021 doubled compared to 2020, so there are high expectations for massively increased output this year, along with more energies being invested into new channels, such as video and ebooks.
The Marketing team also started reaching out to existing users more in 2021, with a revamped newsletter and the launch of the Developer Bulletin, designed to tell our more techie users what to watch out for each month. The dev bulletin open rates are already catching up to our newsletter, which now regularly sees open rates of 30%.
Want to sign up for the Developer Bulletin? Just email email@example.com and we’ll sort you out!
Words are not enough, so that's why Design and UX worked throughout 2021 to create some amazing images and infographics, while also tirelessly optimizing the Apify website and Console.
Just some of the Design team's projects in 2021, such as streamlining the sign-up flow and bringing Apify Store inside Apify Console, have made big changes to how new and existing users interact with Apify. But it's safe to say that whatever you see on the Apify site has been enhanced by Design at some stage in its development.
Here are just a handful of the inspiring images Design produced last year 🎨
Product and Engineering
There can be no revenue or leads without a solid product, and the Apify platform gets more stable and powerful every month, thanks to the ceaseless efforts of our talented Engineering team.
They completed a ton of projects in 2021, but they were especially proud of how they smoothly transitioned all users over to a completely new billing system in the first two months of the year. We can also thank the Engineering team for getting the entire "paid actors" program off the ground and launched, while at the same time they were changing the UI to make it easier for devs to use the platform.
One of the activities that Engineering carries out behind the scenes is to constantly optimize the codebase. 2021 saw the completion of the migration of the frontend from Handlebars to React.js. That led to an incredibly freeing moment for one of the first Apifiers, as he was able to get rid of 17,000 lines of legacy code!
There's not much to say about the Product team in 2021 because it just didn't exist! Now we have Jan Ženíšek as Head of Product, Daniel Do and Milan Lepík as Product Managers to make sure that Apify in 2021 is a more targeted and refined product.
Someone has to keep the wheel turning and the Delivery team put their backs into it in 2021. Not only did they go through a hiring phase to make your eyes water, with most of the entire team hired just last year, they also formed entirely new teams to take care of different parts of the process of delivering solutions to our clients.
They also went through the painful process of sorting out which partners to continue working with, learning a lot on the way, and keeping the best to help make sure that no project goes uncompleted.
In fact, Delivery passed so many milestones in 2021 that they'll be getting their own post here in the near future so that we can fully explore everything that has changed for this incredibly dynamic group of devs over the last year and more.
Bright future here and in the West
We know that Apify has a bright future and we're acting on that. We're going places - literally - and before we finish this 2021 retrospective, we want to share two exciting directions we're about to take in the immediate future.
Our guiding light in the sky
The word lucerna means lantern in Czech and Apify has its headquarters in the iconic Lucerna Palace in the very center of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Prague is often called the City of a Hundred Spires and we'll be able to see at least some of those wonderful spires from the new offices we're developing on the top floor of Lucerna Palace. We expect to move up there in April to a space filled with light and big enough to accommodate all local Apifiers - at least for now.
Apify ❤️ NYC
With over 60% of Apify's revenue coming from the United States, it just makes perfect sense for us to establish a small beachhead in the Big Apple. That will happen in March, just a few short weeks from now.
The first two intrepid Apifiers to launch themselves into the US will be going it alone, but they will know that they have their Apify family behind them, willing them to succeed and giving them all the backup they need. Good luck, Daniel Štarha and Francisco Villarreal!
Think you have what it takes to be an Apifier? Check out our open positions. We're all looking forward to meeting you.