Jaan Hendrik Murumets was the CEO of Krakul from 2017 to 2022. Jaan also served as a member of the management board and CTO of Bercman Technologies, which develops smart traffic solutions. Currently, Jaan works as the Head of IoT at Bolt.
We asked Jaan to talk about Krakul’s management and development.
How did you become the CEO of Krakul?
Markus Järve, my childhood friend with whom we met playing tennis, founded Krakul. Markus invited me to work there in October 2013. I became the second employee, and over the years, I held all the positions in Krakul apart from the position of mechanical engineer. When Markus moved on from Krakul in 2017, I organically became the company’s CEO.
What is your most significant contribution to the development of Krakul?
Krakul began to grow gradually – by about one person a year. Our next employees were people from the University of Tartu robotics club and classmates from Tallinn University of Technology. When I took over running the company I, for some reason, thought that it would make my life easier. It didn’t, but the nature of my work changed. Being a small company, I still did a lot of software engineering in my day to day when we were only a handful of people. The more we grew, the more I had to manage people. It was a learning journey.
So in less than ten years, Krakul grew from a two-man company that provided electronics design services to two clients to a successful company with a turnover of one and a half million, with top-level specialists and great customers from all over the world who want to make their business smarter. I consider Krakul’s great team and long-term partnerships with customers great successes. New customers often come to Krakul based on the recommendations of other customers. It’s very much a trust-based business and people are Krakul’s greatest asset, and it has always been most important to me that Krakul has good people who like to work here and feel they can do a good job here, really realise their potential and do fulfilling work.
Share a story about Krakul’s early days.
The story of smart bottle opener company Wecheer is very close to my heart because it combines excitement, drama, and an exotic land. We had just finished a new PCB revision and convinced the customer to place an order for a quick test batch so that we could test the electronics and code changes on our table before mass production starts. Everything worked as it should, and we gave the green light to start production. After a couple of months, the customer began to notice that something was wrong with the equipment. Since we couldn’t replicate the problem even after a month, we had no choice but to fly to Vietnam with a one-way ticket. We spent the first days making sure that the problem really existed and was significant, but we were still mostly in the dark. Something started dawning on Krakul’s current CEO Kristjan, and by the beginning of the second week, we at least found out what the issue was. The problem was that the battery wires ran incorrectly over the antenna. As a solution for the devices in the field, we prepared a guide that showed how the wires should be. In our opinion, we had perhaps even been too careful, but since our client was responsible for the mechanics design we didn’t think to also validate the new changes there. It turned out that in production, it was easier for the people doing the assembly to insert the battery in a different orientation than before. This caused the battery wires to run across the WiFi antenna and that caused the problem. By the end of the second week, we were back at home, happy with ourselves and had a good story to tell.
Where will Krakul be in 10 years?
I see Krakul in ten years as an international company with its own products, different business lines that work well and independently, and, most importantly, a similarly cohesive and well-collaborating team, even if it is much bigger. The DNA of the company must be preserved and if done so, I see no reason why Krakul wouldn’t have a very bright future ahead.