This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.


Joberty  is listed as one of the startups to watch on Western Balkan. It is conceived as a workplace community for developers who share their work experience. It is allowing developers to choose the best workspace based on reviews and discussions with others within the platform. Companies also can register on the website and hire the best workers, but they have no option of removing or changing the ratings they disagree with. Yet, they can respond to reviews if they desire. The idea is to have transparent and fair feedback to help candidates find suitable jobs. Joberty has over 70K professionals and over 1500 companies registered.

We had a great pleasure talking to Dušica Lukić, Co-founder and product manager at Joberty, she shared with us her experience on how it is to run a successful startup in Serbia, but also what are the trends in the local job market.

Joberty is growing fast, after Serbia, Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria you just opened two new markets, North Macedonia and Slovenia, how challenging is it to offer your product in various markets?

Our motto is - if you don't grow fast enough, you won't survive. Although it is riskier and involves far more effort and resources, we have selected that path of rapid expansion because it is consistent with our original plan.

Joberty is currently operational in six markets, and during this period we have learned a great deal, gone through a bunch of iterations, and incorporated enhancements that have allowed us to define the final design of the product. Each market provided a chance to test new theories and features that should enhance user experience and enable us to offer even better support to the developer community, giving them a taste of what it's actually like to work in IT firms.

How do you prepare for launching the product in new markets?

The real challenge is to understand the true differences between our, some might say, similar regional markets - to identify the real causes of major global trends like the Great Resignation in the USA, and to create real value for our users by giving them the chance to make an informed choice about their employment and work for a different employer.

We always customize our products in addition to localizing them, and we adjust to the unique characteristics and opportunities we come across - different regulatory frameworks, pay scales, special perks, or cultural differences - all of these things can have a significant impact on how our platform ultimately performs in the new market.

As a product manager, I value competition research and mapping out the specific requirements of our users. I also work closely with the developer community and do my best to avoid making assumptions in favor of actually confirming my hypotheses on the ground. Our satisfied customers are living proof that we are moving in the right direction.

Where did the idea for creating Joberty come from? How did you recognize the opportunity on the market?

Joberty was developed at a specific moment when Serbia's IT sector was already recognized as a leading sector, as it was in the global market. Our co-founder Nikola Mijailović, an HR professional with years of experience, was well aware of these changes and how difficult it is for businesses to recruit programmers for particular roles, to succeed in winning them over and ultimately keeping them for a longer period of time. Because of this situation candidates ended up being flooded with offers, without adequate information on what the real conditions in those companies are.

It was obvious that our platform should offer a dual solution,  both to programmers and companies (B2B and B2C). We came up with the idea, we prototyped extremely quickly and published the MVP in six months. It received a really positive response right away, and in my opinion, any startup should aim to create an MVP as soon as possible in order to test it with people, make the initial adjustments, and then move on.

What are the main milestones in the development of your business?

In order to reach the first milestone, which is customer validation - assurance that someone will actually pay for our service -  we had to build a community of developers on our platform. Their overwhelmingly positive reactions meant a lot to us and brought on several businesses, including Endava, Seven Bridges, and Saga, who became our first customers right away after seeing the true value of our product. We know that employers and developers are mutually dependent on one another, Joberty's mission is to bring these two parties closer together and enable their optimal pairing.

What do you think is the key to your success?

I believe that Joberty has all the expertise and abilities required to create such a product. Our co-founders, a product manager, two software developers, and an HR specialist were committed to increasing the level of transparency in the IT sector, and I believe we have made significant progress thus far.

In addition, we have a powerful team. Joberty expanded significantly in just one year, going from 5 to 30 employees. We are fortunate that Nikola, one of the co-founders, has a vast amount of HR expertise and is a true pro at hiring people. Our hiring process has always prioritized team fit, and for us, this is really important. Our employees are completely free to design their own work experiences and have flexible working hours. They support the development of the company as well as the success of the industry and products. As users of our own platform, our staff members also post reviews of Joberty.

What is your experience in creating and maintaining a startup from Serbia? What kind of conditions in the local startup ecosystem you find stimulating?

It was natural for us to create a startup here in Serbia. The specific hype and trends that emerged around the IT sector undoubtedly worked for us. Based on our experience, we can say that the startup ecosystem is real, there are a variety of resources and financial support is also available, but it is up to each individual to take initiative and search for what they require. Perhaps there are moments when it's difficult to navigate and locate everything, but if you're running your own business, it's expected that you will take the initiative and manage to find what you need.

In your opinion, what could be done better in order to support businesses like yours to become regionally and globally competitive?

Networking among founders is crucial, and I believe that this new initiative, which was started through the Tenderly garage, will help us a lot and complement what happens in hubs like Nova Iskra, Startit and ICT Hub, where startups organically network and connect in daily communication and exchange through sharing workspace.

In order to dispel the myth that working for a startup is stressful and insecure, it is crucial to promote the startup culture and inspire other actors to join us.

People with specific expertise from a variety of fields should be motivated and interested in working with startups so they could contribute to the quicker development of these businesses. Through that, they will also gain a lot of knowledge that will be useful to them when they eventually launch their own initiatives, particularly those that are product-based.

From your experience, what makes one company a desirable place to work in?

 I would say that there is no such thing as a perfect company to work for. It is impossible to be a company that is perfect in everything. What can exist is only perfect harmony between employer and employee, that perfect fit.

We are focused on helping companies find their candidates and, on the other hand, candidates find their companies. And our specific goal is to help in finding a mutual fit. We are doing this now through reviews, but later we will create some other mechanisms that will help in this.

Good companies are those that give you autonomy in your work, that you can create your own way of working, that you can make a mistake, learn from it, that invest in your improvement and that you can learn new things. In addition to the good salary and benefits, people began to pay attention to the team dynamics as well as the nature of the projects they were working on.

What are the top five professions in demand in Serbia at this moment?

Primarily senior software developers, but also developers of all other seniorities, QAs, and DevOps professionals. It's interesting to note that there is also high demand for non-technical professions in the fields of marketing, sales, support, growth experts, talent acquisition specialists, and so forth. These positions are directly complementary to, or a part of, the IT industry.

What are the future plans for Joberty?

Our focus and a leading indicator of the direction of the trends is what is happening in other significant markets, such as the US, the EU, and the UK. We want to strengthen our position in this region before opening a major worldwide market at the start of next year. After this, we want to gradually move on to the USA as our final destination.

Preparation for entering these markets takes much longer. Even the development of a completely new product for those markets could result from that following stage.

How do you see your role in the future in the company?

Apart from being a product manager, I also deal with company processes, sales lifecycle improvement, company culture, administrative and financial elements, marketing, and public relations. It's quite evident that I wear a variety of hats and switch them frequently. Although I am sure that my job will continue to change over the next months, I am also certain that I would not like to go away from the product.


For other relevant stories and information, visit our Belgrade Insights page.



This article is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this program are the responsibility of Nova Iskra and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.





Stay up to date on the latest that Belgrade has to offer!

Sign up for our monthly update and be the first to know about upcoming events.