Oleg Kulyk and his ScrapingANT

Oleg is an entrepreneur from a small town in Ukraine. He has been dabbling in the world of entrepreneurialism since he was young and has had some successful and some not so successful ventures, but he never gave up. And then along came his most successful venture yet, ScrapingANT.

ScrapingANT is a simple scraping API that is powered by the headless browser cluster under the hood. The service provides the ability to open different web pages via browser and get the content of the page as the browser should “see” it – with all the rendered JavaScript and dynamic loaded content. This allows our users to scrape all websites based on Vue.js, Angular, React, etc. We’re making all of our requests via the large proxy pool with proxies around the World, so API requests will not be blocked by the site owners. Last, but not least, our service allows us to scrape thousands of pages in parallel and the biggest datasets can be collected much faster than with the use of single computer power.

How did you come up with your product idea? Was there another person or a situation in your life that made you want to create it?

I was getting tired of software development and I started a drop shipping business but due to Covid-19 it has been a challenge. My friend Andrii was also out of work and I convinced him to start a very complex busines of web scraping.

Our product is quite niche and was created as a quintessence of our working experience with data mining. We’re living in the epoch of information and when a lot of people around the globe create billions of terabytes of information every day, we need to analyze it with the proper tools.

How is your product different or unique?

To be honest, we were not trying to be innovative. The scraping product we are working on now is just an entry point for the data industry and we’d like to start from the roots – tooling for data mining.

Is this your first entrepreneurial venture?

Not really. There were a lot of different tries such as indie Android development, cryptocurrency collective mining, hardware development. All of them were particularly important steps that led me to ScrapingANT.

Was there anything in your past (childhood, young adulthood) that made you a better entrepreneur?

All the times I failed, when I was a child and as an adult taught me more than one success with blind luck would have.

Tell me a bit about your past as you see relevant (where are you from, where did you go to school?)

I’m from a small city in Ukraine called Konotop. I graduated from a physics and mathematics school but was never a very good student. I was always interested in chemistry and electronics. I even had my own small laboratory. I was just your average Eastern European kid with explosions and DIY electronics. I met Andrii when I was in University and we immediately found we had engineering in common. We also went to a lot of parties together (laughs).

Tell me a bit about you. (Hobbies, favorite entertainment, favorite vacation spots)

For the last year I’ve forgotten about hobbies due to Covid-19 and working on product development. That is kind of a bad habit, so try to avoid it.

When did you decide to become and entrepreneur? What were the circumstances in your life at the time?

I learned from my parents who left their jobs to be personal entrepreneurs that being an entrepreneur means I can control my life more.

Tell me a bit about your company or team (do you have any other people working with in team or you working all by yourself?)

ScrapingANT was founded by me and my friend Andrii. We’re both technical guys, but Andrii is the core technician. I’m trying to cover all non-technical duties. Pretty average startup story.

Did you invest any money in your business? Were there others that funded it?

Yes, we are investing money from our savings for this venture.

What helps you to stay on your path and follow your goal during the tough time?

Taking a pause helps me. Sometimes we must take a break, look at what we have done, evaluate or re-think what we are doing and then move forward.

What were the best decisions you made when you were starting your business?
To be iterative is the best decision I’ve made. Being Iterative helps you to be flexible and struggle less with the expectations.

What were the worst decisions you made when you were starting your business?

The worst decision was to avoid paperwork and business routines. Routines help to control keep the business organized with a small team of 2 people.

What advice have you found indispensable in running your business?

I was told to communicate more. External and internal communication brings you more ideas, more understanding and helps you evaluate your business state.

Going forward, what are your plans for this product or for other entrepreneurial pursuits?

We will be improving our offerings to provide not just tooling for data mining but also a full data retrieving cycle. We also have incredible customer support.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who just starting their journey?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Experience can’t be bought.

That is the end of my interview with Oleg. He is a fascinating person with lots to offer the entrepreneurial world. If you want to find out more about ScrapingANT or Oleg, you can follow him on his social media accounts or reach out to him on the ScrapingANT website.

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