Ihor Prokopenko is a co-founder & CEO at Fulcrum Rocks, a product development company from Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2018, Fulcrum was started with just 3 guys, today the company has over 100 people on board and over 35 projects done. Over the years, the company evolved from just an outsourcing vendor to a reliable product development partner that strives to create products that help.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I was born and grew up in Kryvyi Rih, an urban city on in central Ukraine. With lots of metallurgical plants, the city attracted foreign and private investments which help finance its urban regeneration. There was nothing special about my childhood – I went to school, spend time with my teens, etc – apart from the fact that from my very childhood I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start my own business. My father was a businessman himself, so he, actually, inspired me a lot. When as a child I looked at successful entrepreneurs, and I wanted to become one of them.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I studied programming at university, but I’ve always wanted to work for myself and start my own business. Before Fulcrum, I launched two startups. The first one was a sports nutrition shop, another one – was a service for students. Both of the didn’t gain great success but gave valuable knowledge and lessons which helped me a lot while founding Fulcrum. Then, it was Fulcrum which, actually, started with 3 people – me and two other co-founders. We came up with the idea of a software development company. Then, we named it, and created the branding and the website. We began building the company in small and careful steps. At first, we focused on funding projects. When we found our first project (which was not really big), we started to look for a team who’d perform it and so on.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
The business lesson I share would be to never give up, but rather always move to your goals with small steps. One at a time. Lots of people just give up after the first failure. For startup founders, readiness to accept failures and learn from mistakes is essential to succeed. You have to learn from each mistake and move on. Instead of freezing up in fear, the startup founder has just to move step by step, gradually approaching its goals. Instead of thinking and researching for years – better act. You do something, wait for the response, improve your product and again go to market.