Interview with Fixico’s CTO: How Gapstars contributes to the car repair management platform remotely

By Jonathan Francis

Recently, we sat down with Mujib Azizi, Chief Technology Officer at Fixico, to find out more about their innovative technology and the team that’s redefining the car repair industry.

Mujib shares how Fixico is continuously evolving to drive growth and further expand across Europe. Next to this, he shares how Fixco has extended its development team with dedicated remote developers, has some best practices for hiring and managing them, and speaks on his experience of working with Gapstars.

Mujib Azizi, Chief Technology Officer at Fixico

Q: Could you start by telling us about Fixico and how the platform is redefining the car damage repair space?

Fixico is Europe’s leading digital car repair management platform. We connect drivers, businesses, and body repair shops in entirely new ways and on a mission to reshape the industry’s ecosystem.

With our digital expertise and pioneering approach, we improve the repair handling process from every perspective; drivers experience an effortless repair journey, businesses increase operational efficiency, and body repair shops optimise their workshop utilisation.

Our platform gives access to a marketplace with a network of over 2,000 body repair shops across six countries. We are backed by a group of world-class investors, and work with more than 100 leading fleet-, lease-, rental- and insurance companies across Europe.

Q: How has the platform evolved? Tell us more about some of the new technology developments.

In the last five years, we’ve evolved from a local repairer comparison app to a fully-fledged end-to-end repair management platform used by drivers, businesses and body repair shops across Europe. By using the latest technology, we aim to improve our platform continuously.

Last year, we started using AI to detect different types of damage and vehicles. By automating the determination of specific repair requirements further we can increase the accuracy of our allocation methods. This way, we can better identify the optimal body repair shop for each damage occurrence.

Next to this, more and more of our customers are requesting a direct integration with their existing systems. Currently, we are testing API integrations between our platform and third-party fleet owners to optimise this process.

Q: Could you tell us about the tech team and development practices at Fixico? What values do you share within the company? How big is the team, how is it distributed?

We are firm believers of agile adaptability. With this mindset, teams have more freedom to manage their work more independently. We want everyone in our team to constantly challenge themselves and make continuous improvements. No matter how far down the development pipeline a project may be. 

Today, we have five developers working at our headquarters in the Netherlands, and seven developers at our remote tech centre in Sri Lanka (with expertise in React & PHP). Recently, we added four new Software Engineers and hired a QA Engineer. 

Q: What were the reasons for Fixico to start considering building an extended remote development team as a viable option? And why did you choose Gapstars over other service providers?

Before partnering with Gapstars, we already outsourced part of our development work to various other partners. So we had some experience with the different approaches available in this field. However, Gapstars out-performed them on the aspects that were most crucial to us. For example, it’s great that we have a dedicated team that we can manage ourselves.

Gapstars enables us to oversee every aspect of the development process directly. It helps us have a more hands-on approach. We work with a remote team, but we can still apply our agile methods and make necessary developments on the go, without any hassle. Because of this, we were able to eliminate any miscommunication and unnecessary interference from any third party.

The arrangement at Gapstars fits our plans well and allows developers to work seamlessly, without the need for extensive supervision or formalities. Despite being miles apart, managing remote development workflows feels just like working with an in-house team. 

Mujib Azizi CTO, Yorrian Mathot People and Culture Manager – Fixico
and Hugo Hemmen, CEO – Gapstars during their visit to Sri Lanka.

Q: With more than half the development team located in a different time zone, what sort of impact has it had on the business? 

I think our remote working arrangement with Gapstars actually served as a good example during the temporary Dutch lockdown due to the COVID-19. All of a sudden, everyone in our team was working remotely, but we still ensured business would run as smooth as possible.

The pandemic also inspired us to complete our backlogs and prepare for whatever the future holds. We decided to upgrade our back-end systems to create a more robust digital platform. We also included additional developers to our Sri Lanka team.

Q: In closing, what are some of the key tips and practices you’d like to share with tech leaders looking to build a dedicated offshore team?

I think there are a couple of crucial factors when building an offshore team. The first would be to take your time, even in preparation. Start with an open mind, and determine what skill and cultural requirements you have before even speaking to possible candidates.

The second would be to overcome the distance by making sure you treat every remote team member just like you treat any of your in-house team members.

It may sound obvious, but it’s important to make everyone feel trusted, valued, and accountable. As a manager, I think it’s your responsibility to get to know your new offshore team. It’s important to be aware of and embrace cultural differences so that you can create an inclusive working atmosphere.