If you google “Omni Calculator”, you will be amazed to see a long list of search results showing articles published in New York Times, The Guardian to Forbes! From a calculator that lets you see the effects of a black hole collision to calculators to computing business costs for startups– Omni Calculator has almost 1000 interesting calculators that solve everyday life problems.
Although the website attracts over 6 million users a month, Omni Calculator is not backed by any VC. This is what sets them apart from other startups: they’re not in the race for investment. Omni Calculator takes successful bootstrapping to the next level with a cozy office in Kraków’s bustling Karmelicka street that houses their team of 30 passionate calculatorians (as they call themselves), often working in collaboration with renowned physicists, biologists and ecologists from all around the globe.
Leading the team that comprises 7 nationalities and over 50% women is the founder of Omni Calculator, Mateusz Mucha. A self-starter with a passion for numbers, Mateusz comes across as a humble startup founder focused on realizing his startup’s mission: helping people make better decisions based on data and not intuition.
“If an investor wanted us to pivot to a B2B model where we make calculators for big corporations, it would defeat the people-centered purpose of our platform. So far, our revenue allows us to gradually develop both our team and our product”, he said at the Innovative Kraków Forum in front of investors.
Scroll on, to read the interview with the founder of Omnicalculator, and learn about his journey and his advice to the budding startup entrepreneurs.
If you had to briefly describe Omni Calculator, how would you? What does it aim to achieve?
Omni Calculator is a Kraków-based startup which aims to help people in making better decisions based on number rather than on emotions, feeling, or intuition. The problem many people are facing is that they either don’t know the formulate they need or, quite simply, don’t find enough time for it. The purpose of Omni Calculator is to remove these obstacles, making everyday calculations fast, easy, and fun. Omni Calculator has already made almost 1000 calculators which help the user make a variety of decisions, from calculating the tax on a purchased product to preparing the perfect pizza.
“Omni Calculator has already made almost 1000 calculators which help the user make a variety of decisions, from calculating the tax on a purchased product to preparing the perfect pizza.”
With the range of the calculators being so diverse, would you say the target audience favors a specific category? Which category of calculators is the highest in demand?
The most popular calculators are the profit margin, discount, and conversion between annual and hourly salary. These tools are vital for people in decisions that affect their livelihoods. However, the most unique calculators designed by our team show the unexpected applications of math in our lives – for example, how long you should chill your drink in the fridge.
Recently, one of our most trending calculators is the one simulating a collision with a black hole. We also have calculators that keep your health in check, a tool that finds the perfect time to cook an egg, and one that helps you optimize your pizza order, just to name a few. Finally, some of our most popular calculators spark a public debate – for instance, the one which shows how much a person can achieve if they quit social media.
“ There was a time when Omni Calculator was trending on app stores in Poland. It was being downloaded on par with Facebook app.”
Tell us a bit more about the journey of Omnicalculator? How did you come up with such a unique idea, and what led you to evolve this idea into a project?
Shortly after, I joined a 3-month acceleration program where I got the initial funding for my project. This is also where I clarified my vision: the mission of Omni Calculator became to solve all simple math problems that people face in their day-to-day life.
After completing the acceleration program, I decided to focus on this vision rather than on increasing KPIs for the sake of attracting investors. In hindsight, I can see that I made good decision, as Omni Calculator is now a growing, financially viable company with a team of 30 professionals. We keep our service free of charge and continue to create calculators that make peoples’ lives easier.
“It is always stressful to start something new, but if you put your mind to it, and your heart into it, it will be a struggle that you can overcome. And that is what every startup owner should focus on.”
As we know, pitching is a strenuous task for all startups, how many times did you have to endure this for Omni Calculator? Do you have any advice for budding startups?
Yes, I remember pitching my idea several times. My advice for giving a perfect pitch is to prepare and to practice a lot. Build your confidence by working on the fundamentals and delivering the purpose of the pitch clearly and impactfully. Also, remember that each company is unique, and their struggles and pitching strategies remain unique too.
You can only fail when you try to do something; people who don’t do anything, don’t fail. Learn from your failures and move forward.
My advice is to set small goals at a time and work on them first to achieve the bigger, overarching goal. It is always stressful to start something new, but if you put your mind and heart to it, you will find yourself able to overcome any obstacles. And that is what every startup owner should focus on.
Kraków has a dearth of programmers. How challenging was it for you to pick your perfect team? What do you look for in a potential candidate?
Hiring is definitely a challenge when it comes to building a spectacular team. Currently, we have three programmers, so our experience in this area is limited. For all positions in our team, though, we’re looking for skilled people with a strong sense of purpose. Many of our team members either hold or pursue their PhDs. Of course the degree is not a requirement; we tend to look for good work ethics, regardless of the academic degree.
Motivation is a must. With motivation comes drive, and that drive is what helps us design the most unique calculators – ones that not only peak our interest, but also help in our day-to-day life. One of the most exciting things during a job interview is listening to the candidate, discovering their emerging ideas for calculators in their field of expertise.
“Talent is not limited to one nationality – our team members come from Poland, India, Philippines, UK, Hungary, Spain and Canada.”
Your team has diversity in terms of country, culture and gender ratio. How does this diversity benefit your organization?
When it comes to building new tools, it is great to have people who view the world from different perspectives. Strong scientific background helps in creating the calculator but at the same time we need laypeople to review it and make sure it’s understandable for the general audience.
Talent is not limited to one nationality – our team members come from Poland, India, Philippines, UK, Hungary, Spain and Canada. This cultural diversity allows us to empathize with people from different parts of the world and understand challenges unique to specific groups.
As for the gender ratio, we did not actively work towards this balance; the hiring process focuses on skills and talents of each candidate. We are lucky to have such a balanced team.
Would you tell us a bit more about your educational background? How big of a role has education played in bringing the idea of Omni Calculator to reality?
I studied Sociology and Psychology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, but I didn’t complete my graduation. I created my first website when I was in high school and dabbled in programming for quite a while. I worked on multiple projects, each time determined to finish on my own. I would consider this, my stubbornness, one of my weaknesses that I can sometimes use in my favour. It’s always good to know your strengths and weaknesses.
How do you balance your personal and professional life? Do you have any mantras or books that inspire you?
If there was a balance scale, the work side would tip down further than the personal one. However, I am blessed with a supportive wife who helps me maintain this delicate work-life balance. If it comes to pieces of literature that inspire me, I prefer reading articles and listening to podcasts, especially science- and startup-related. As I come from a similar background, they tend to inspire me a great deal.
“Our aim is to grow our website to 300 million visitors per month. Currently, we are planning to tackle a massive project of translating it into 15 languages. We also plan to create a platform that allows users to build their own custom calculators.”
Where do you see Omni Calculator in the future? What are your plans for the company?
We’ll definitely continue to focus on our core technology. Growing the user base is one of our key goals. As of today, we have around 6 million visitors per month, and we would like to grow it to 300 million visits per month. 30% of the traffic comes from non-English speaking countries, which emphasises the need to go global rather than to focus on a specific region. Currently, we are planning to tackle a massive project of translating the website into 15 languages. We also plan to create a platform that allows users to build their own custom calculators.
Moreover, we are hoping to become even more user-friendly by introducing features such as voice assistant support, a spreadsheet plugin, etc. so that both the technological gurus and the lay people can get their calculations done.
I have a vision for people to use our app the way they had used a physical calculator in the mid 1990s, just after it was invented. In simpler words, I wish for Omni to be as revolutionary as the physical calculator was in its time.
“I remember earning a mere 300zl per month before my second daughter was born. However, I was set on pursuing my idea because I know that it work some day. Thanks to my super supportive wife, I kept going.”
Entrepreneurs are often rewarded for success but talking about failures is also important. Tell us about your most spectacular failure and how did you handle it?
Yes, Omni Calculator has had its fair share of failures as we continue to grow and learn. Without going into details, I would like to mention one of our marketing campaigns, which was planned as an ambitious project. The extremely cost-intensive launch was supposed to go viral, but things didn’t go as planned. I would be lying if I said that it had no effect on me. I was disappointed and upset, but I knew that it was a temporary circumstance and we’d eventually come out of it. Of course, my family’s support helped.
On the positive side, we did learn a lot and decided to take it one step at a time in the future.
After the interview with Mateusz, team #OMGKRK also got an opportunity to interact with the team of Omni Calculator who spoke very positively about working at the startup and solving all the exciting challenges that get thrown at them every day. Mateusz also mentioned the contribution of his team several times during the interview. It shows how this startup is a closely knit community guided by not just a boss but a true leader.
We wish Omni Calculator the best for all their future endeavours and success in every path they choose to take.