Timur Csillik was not your typical 14-year-old. While most boys his age were looking for a summer job at a grocery store or restaurant, Csillik had started his first business venture selling Chinese-imported gadgets on Hungarian websites. Csillik quickly developed a knack for business and entrepreneurship and at 26-years-old he is now the CEO of his own company called Rendi – an online platform for on-demand cleaning services. The company is not even a year old, but Csillik has been met with great success since he developed the idea only nine months ago. Just two months ago, Rendi received a big investment from a Hungarian venture capitalist firm.
Csillik was born in Budapest, but spent half his life moving around to different countries with his parents. Csillik studied economics and management at Oxford Brookes University and he has over three years experience in international trade. In 2015, Rendi was shortlisted for the “Startup of the Year Award” at the Central European Startup Awards (CESA).
Csillik says he devotes at least 12 hours a day to his company, but when he finds the time to blow off steam he loves to play sports and practice kickboxing.
Today, Rendi is the only company of its kind in Hungary and Csillik plans to expand the brand across Central Eastern Europe in Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, and the Czech Republic. Csillik plans to do all this in the next five years – something he admits is ambitious, but he is entirely confident will be possible.
What sparked the idea for a cleaning service like Rendi?
We asked a lot of people in our market research and discovered that it is very difficult to find a cleaner. The first thing many people do is ask a friend or relative. I was searching for a cleaner for my parents and when I found one, she was really loaded with other addresses. That is when I realized I could create a platform where people could find a cleaner. Also, the sharing economy is really getting more popular here in Hungary and we thought that could also happen for this cleaning company.
Up until two months ago, the company was called Helpy. Can you explain why you changed the name to Rendi?
We got a lot of requests from clients that because we’re based in Hungary and we’re a Hungarian start-up, the name of the brand should reflect that. The Hungarian people really disliked the name Helpy because it’s international. Even though our aim is to reach the Central Eastern European (CEE) market, we decided that we would change it to Rendi so the Hungarian people could feel that the brand is closer to them.
What are some of the challenges your company is faced with today?
Our main focus right now is to gather as many customers as possible, so growth. Our monthly average growth is 75% so I think we’re pretty successful in that. However, with this rapid growth there are a lot of other things coming to the front. Right now we have around 110 cleaners and because of this really rapid growth we need to grow the cleaner base as well and we have to focus on the quality match.
What’s the competition like in Budapest?
In Hungary, it’s mainly independent cleaners and companies but their capacity is really low so I wouldn’t say that we have big competition in Hungary. I’d say that’s another reason why we’re growing so fast. We do have some competition in Poland; there is a company that offers a similar type of service. But the reason why we will be better is our team itself. Here everyone is really ambitious – they really like what they’re doing and they’re pros. I think that’s the most important part.
What makes Budapest such a thriving market for start-ups?
A lot of guys here in Hungary have great ideas. Hungarians have invented a lot of stuff and I think in start-ups, innovation is what matters most. Also, we have a lot of help in growing the start-up scene. There are a lot of meet-ups and events that bring in people from other countries and connect them. Unfortunately, when it comes to implementation of these ideas, we’re not that good.
Why do you say that?
I think Hungarian people, this is my personal opinion, are a bit lazy. A lot of people don’t have the courage to start.
Where did you get your courage?
I love this venture thing and the whole adrenaline it gives me. It is a lot of risk and this risk really gives me a lot of push, so that’s the reason why I jumped into this. It’s a cliché and everyone says you have to do what you love, but I’ve worked at a couple of other workplaces and I hated them…and it’s totally different here. This is my hobby.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
Sometimes we haven’t focused enough on quality when we were growing. Because of the rapid growth we had to get cleaners a lot faster and we couldn’t provide as much. We got a lot of bad feedback from customers and then our ratings went downhill. I’d say that was a good lesson, to focus more on the actual hiring of cleaners. We’ve just hired someone whose only job is to interview and hire the cleaners, conduct test cleanings and do a thorough background check.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as an entrepreneur and having three or four projects running at the same time. My plan is to sell Rendi in 3 years. At this stage we’ll have such a crowd and customer base that the company will have a high value. Our business plan is based on a very quick growth so we want to be in five other countries in two and a half years.
If you sold your company today what would you want to gain?
I would like to gain the team itself. I think we have created a strong team. I took a lot of time in interviewing the full timers and they have really shaped the whole company structure. Everyone is a friend here, we feel like a family.
Do you do a lot of team-building activities?
We have different events on Fridays and weekends. We do company drinks every Friday and we’ve also done paintballing and these kinds of activities. It’s really nice that even when I’m not there, they’re organizing it for themselves. They’re not doing that just because the boss is telling them to.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Don’t be scared to start. I think a really big hold back for people is that even though they have really good ideas, they don’t go one step further and actually do what they like. Also, build a good team. Alone, you cannot really accomplish anything. If you have people around you that support you and believe in your cause then it will be a lot easier for you.
Do you have any final thoughts?
Be ambitious; always have big dreams. Don’t think of small projects. That’s why we are planning to reach five countries in two and a half years. I think that’s something that’s not too easy to achieve, but it’s important to try.