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Igor Debatur

Uploadcare is the end-to-end solution for modern web file processing and management. Most file infrastructures today are distributed systems made up of javascript, processing servers, CDNs, and databases. Managing files is tricky, and writing distributed systems is even trickier. Our mission is to make building and running these systems as easy as writing two lines of code.

Uploadcare saves engineering teams, web development agencies, and IT outsourcing companies time and money by providing ready-made blocks for file management and delivery.

Tell us about yourself?

I started off as a developer in a software company, and in 2007, while working on our new website, I met my future friend and business partner, Anatoly Chernyakov. A year later, we founded a web-design agency called Whitescape.

In three years, the Whitescape team grew to 25 people, and the revenue grew as well. Therefore, we decided to invest money in our own products. In 2011, we got a good chance to do so while working with one client.

Among other things, we had to find a way to quickly convert and upload images and audio to the site. This is a pain for all the developers, so we tried to ease that pain by writing a program that could do it automatically. We realized it might be useful for others and created a scalable subscription service based on the technology.

We called this startup, Uploadcare, and after several tough years of trying to run both the agency and startup, looking for investors, team members and new offices, I became Uploadcare’s CEO, which I remain to this day.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

My main piece of advice has remained the same for more than five years: focus on the most important task at hand every day. And when you finish it, you can decide what to do next. Imagine that you are a hunter, and you need to hunt a mammoth to feed the family. Until you do that, it doesn’t matter what else you did. And when you’re successful with your hunt, you can do routine tasks, work on administrative stuff, or whatever you feel like doing.

What problem does your business solve?

Uploadcare helps tech companies to securely store, manage, and deliver user-generated content such as images, videos, and documents. Managing files at scale is a burden. We help to focus engineering teams on tasks that are the most important for the business while we handle file infrastructure.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Before Uploadcare, our engineering team was building a large social media. File uploading, image optimization, and video encoding were significantly hard to develop, and we understood there wasn’t a ready-made solution that could’ve helped. We asked the community at Hackernews, and many software engineers confirmed that the problem actually existed. That was our motivation.

What is your magic sauce?

We build unique algorithms for media optimization, some of which are based on machine learning and computer vision. This helps us to outperform even large competitors with better compression rates and image quality. As an engineers-driven product, we are proud of the developer experience, performance, and resilience of our solution – it just works, and this is a very important characteristic when you integrate something that should last many years.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We work on building frontend components to view content in the browser – it’s an important next step that will help engineers even more. Another thing – on-demand AI-based image and video generation, this is exciting.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

When we fundraised in 2019, we tried going upmarket – targeting large enterprises. This was wrong – working with engineers is in our DNA, and self-service and bottom-up approaches work much better for us. When we changed the direction back to more humane, product-driven growth, our traction improved significantly.

How can people get involved?

If you are an engineer, visit and give our platform a try! Or share the product with your engineering team – good chance they will thank you after.