Software Sauna - 5-year anniversary

From start-up to standout: Software Sauna’s first five years

Five years. I have been building my Croatian dream since April 2018. The idea was initially born in my best man’s sauna in Espoo, Finland, in 2017. Therefore the dream got naturally named Software Sauna.

It hasn’t been only a beautiful dream filled with marshmallows, great Croatian wines, and smooth sailing by the Adriatic coastline. It has been a true rollercoaster twisted with the Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, and economic turbulence. Despite some bumps, we are still going strong, and I am enjoying every day, and wouldn’t change too many days spent on this journey.

FinnTech Sailing Seminar 2019
Smoothly sailing forward. The first-ever FinnTech sailing seminar in 2019.

Together with Timo Hakkarainen we had the idea to build a company that will revolutionize the nearshoring of the Finnish – and not only the Finnish – IT market. One cornerstone of the idea was to create a unique company culture that would set Software Sauna apart from our competitors.

From the beginning, we believed that a healthy work-life balance combined with exciting projects and a highly skilled team would be essential for the productivity and happiness of our engineers. Not to forget the freedom and responsibilities given to our people. We encourage them to gather to discuss their ideas, contribute to the company’s development, and unwind together. From the very beginning of our journey, our guideline has been “Happy Developer, happy Client.”

The idea invented in the sauna was exotic enough to drag the interest of some friendly fellows at Witted and Reaktor. We got backed up by Witted and joined the ecosystem today known as Fusion.

Sauna team in Shift Conference 2018
Sauna team in Shift Conference in 2018

Since the beginning of April 2018, the journey has been filled with hard work, a bit of sweat and tears, and a lot of determination. You know everybody should learn from their failures, pivot, and not repeat the same mistakes. Together with our team, we have overcome many obstacles and gained the reputation of a reliable and high-quality software development agency that operates remotely from Croatia and North Macedonia. Since the first fiscal year of 2018 to the end of 2022, Software Sauna has grown profitably by ca. 2000%, and today we are fighting for another year of +70% growth in revenue.

With a larger team that we have been building, slowly but determined, Software Sauna has been able to take on bigger and more complex projects, expand our service offering, and increase both revenue and team size. By delivering value to our clients and fostering a positive company culture, we have also been able to attract and retain top talent.

Fresh Sauna swag by the Adriatic in 2018
Fresh Sauna swag by the Adriatic Sea in 2018

Expanding our operation from Croatia to North Macedonia and Finland last year was a significant accomplishment that has positively impacted our business today. With our Macedonian colleagues, we can widen our reach to the Western Balkans’ top talent and better serve our clients. At the same time, the Finnish office in Helsinki operates today as the business development center enabling us to be close to our clients daily.

Throughout the last five years, we have been working with clients in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands. In the future, we are working to grow our foothold in the Nordic markets and expand clientele in other European countries as well. Well, New York sounds pretty interesting too! 😉

Looking forward to what the next five years will bring for us.


P.S. You definitely will have to try those tremendous Croatian wines and sailing by the Adriatic coastline. Just as we believe in the unique blend of work and relaxation, we are sure you will appreciate this balance, too. Simply priceless.

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