Tom Potanski expands DevsData LLC to the UK

Margaret Nguyen
3 minutes
Tom Potanski expands DevsData LLC to the UK
In this article

DevsData is a multinational company based in Warsaw, Poland with a second office in Brooklyn, New York that provides professional services for companies looking to expand or grow. With about 50 people on staff, they manage clients from Germany, Singapore, Norway, and Portugal to name a few, as well as over 10,000 database candidates since the company’s founding in 2016.

Executive Vice President and Founder of DevsData, Tom Potanski, runs recruitment for clients mostly based in the US, but also on a global scale. DevsData provides their clients with pre-vetted software engineers, project managers, DevOps platform specialists, and more while also setting up offices for them. 

With DevsData quickly gaining momentum in their industry, Potanski knew it was time to expand further. One of the main reasons for their expansion is due to advanced negotiations with a global federal company, one of their larger clients, that needed assistance in the US as well as Europe. 

“London is the most important technology hub in Europe. So [the UK] was a logical [place] for us to expand to.” 

- Tom Potanski, EVP, DevsData

Challenges associated with expanding to the UK

There are a number of advantages for those looking to expand their business to the UK. But with success comes challenges to hurdle along the way. 

Finding an accounting firm

Potanski explains that he dealt with many small challenges rather than a few large ones when expanding DevsData to the UK. Dealing with many small bumps along the road — such as vendor selection regarding their accounting firm — was very time-consuming. 

One of the largest firms to handle accounting in the UK is Crunch. However, Potanski wanted a firm with specialties in more than sole traders and freelancers. 

“We wanted something a bit more extensive, [a firm] that could also provide us with tax advisors and legal advisors, so we interviewed a couple of accounting firms and selected one. This is one of the important steps.” 

-Tom Potanski, EVP, DevsData

Another option that eliminates the need to interview multiple firms is to use an eCommerce accounting solution, such as A2X. A2X makes it easy for expanding businesses to manage their books from anywhere.

Maintaining momentum

Before DevsData, Potanski created an eCommerce private-label business for the US Amazon marketplace selling a niche, highly ranked product. While sales were consistent and seemingly on autopilot, the product didn’t resonate with Potanski’s interests.

Once he moved on to create DevsData, his interests in technology, software, and recruiting were better aligned with his professional pursuits. Working in areas that satisfy your genuine interests is what drives momentum in company growth, and DevsData expanding to the UK is a perfect example of this.

“Running a business is like a marathon,” Potanski explained. “Starting is easy, but then you need to have the willpower to keep going, scale up, and tackle the obstacles that you face almost every day.” 

UK bank laws

In order to open a UK bank account or any other country and use your home country’s currency, you need proof of a UK address. This takes a considerable amount of time for most companies, depending on the bank. 

DevsData was able to open a UK bank account as well as a local bank in GBP to maintain a couple options.

Advice on expanding to the UK

Potanski had some advice to share with other businesses looking to expand to the UK.

Look at the numbers

Paying attention to the numbers is one of the most critical steps when expanding to the UK or any other country.  

Potanski recommends that you “look at the specific country’s value, populations, market size, [and other] numbers related to the market where the company operates.”

Find a good law firm

Taking legal precautions is incredibly important when expanding to a foreign country. And it’s wise to hire a legal firm to help you maneuver through the legal intricacies to save your business from potential trouble.  

Complying with local regulations is likely the most important step you can take when expanding abroad. And it’s typically only the local firms who know the local laws inside and out. 

Take small steps

Even as your company grows, there will always be people and bigger organizations ahead of you. But it’s important to start small and only take on reasonable amounts of work that you know your team can handle. 

“Small companies can still move very quickly and outpace the bigger players in the market, especially if they target niche markets or something that is new or trending,” Potanski explained.

It’s important to be very clear on what your company’s objectives and goals are, as well as which countries you want to target or expand to. Documenting your hypotheses and discussing them with other people on your team or in your field is key to avoiding mistakes in your expansion strategy.

“Take small steps, baby steps. Things are not as complex as they might sound.” 

-Tom Potanski, EVP, DevsData

How Airwallex helped DevsData expand to the UK

DevsData signed up with Airwallex in June of 2021. Using a global business account from Airwallex helped the company to successfully expand and continue their operations.

“The next thing is obviously to open a bank account. And here, again, Airwallex is something that helped us a lot because we've been able to start more quickly without the necessity to fly there locally.” 

-Tom Potanski, EVP, DevsData

Potanski explained how DevsData was previously using local bank accounts — one in the US and a couple in Europe. However, this setup wasn’t convenient. The transfers were slow, and receiving funds was more expensive. 

Airwallex was a convenient tool for DevsData to use because transferring funds in multiple currencies from the US to Europe was instantaneous, allowing the company to move faster.

“The exchange rate is very good and I was able to receive funds from different markets and different clients instantly,” added Potanski.

Additionally, paying overseas suppliers, vendors, and freelancers through Airwallex helped DevsData stay on top of their finances. 

When asked what advice he had for other businesses considering Airwallex to facilitate their international expansion, Potanski said:

“This is a really important tool that will help them with international expansion. So whichever market they choose, because there are many different currencies in Airwallex, [a global business account] will surely help them… It's quick to set up and very intuitive to use and operate.” 

-Tom Potanski, EVP, DevsData

Potanski believes that creating a successful business is similar to a road with failures along the way. But the more failures you come across and tackle, the more you learn how to do things differently.

Contact Airwallex to jump start your UK expansion

Fintechs such as Airwallex are transforming cross-border payments with innovative technology that allows businesses to make same-day payments, while also avoiding fees and high exchange rates. 

Sign up today to learn how foreign currency accounts with Airwallex can streamline your international transfers and facilitate your expansion to the UK. 

Related article: The best way to transfer money from the UK

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Margaret Nguyen
Marketing Manager

Margaret runs marketing for Airwallex US, working with great companies across eCommerce, consumer goods, consulting, and tech to deliver excellent experiences to shared audiences.

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