Michał Skrzyński

Co-founder and Partner

I’ve always been very much into tech. Fascinated by programming in my early days, I’ve taken part in many programming competitions (without any big successes though). This has defined my education the most: following my programming passion.

I graduated with an IT degree at Warsaw University Of Technology. In the meantime I and few of my friends (e.g. Mariusz Gralewski) inspired by the entrepreneurial culture made our first steps with startups. Our first bigger project, a SaaS school register was a failure. Not only because it’s been ahead of trends by ca. 5 years, but also because we’ve made many mistakes. They truly taught us a lot, though.

During my last year of bachelor degree, I’ve set up a small software house and started to build products for our UK partners and for the Polish public sector. Struggling not to go under taught me the ‘cash is king’ principle. That’s also motivated me to do a masters degree in management and finance at Warsaw University.

In 2008, tempted by booming online services, we’ve resigned from the software agency path and founded Niania.pl. Together with Marcin Kurek and my other friend we’ve built a national leader in childcare and few other household services. My role was initially programming, then COO and CFO, at the same time experimenting with Search Engine Optimization which became my new passion.

In 2011 we’ve exited Niania.pl to Edipresse Polska media group, providing our investors ca. 12x capital gain. Our investors (Łukasz Gadowski and Paweł Chudziński – now Point Nine Capital) were always playing fair and had a fundamental role in our success:
– provided the right amount of capital
– taught us to be fully KPI driven: measure, implement, measure
– made us plan long term, even under huge uncertainties
– showed us how to see the bigger picture

Year 2011 was the beginning of my business angel path. At that moment we felt that not only could we raise a financing round, but also our group could provide the team with necessary knowledge – crucial for the first years for any startup. Those years were still the golden years of SEO that I loved, thus I focused on sharing my skills with such startups like Allani.pl, ZnanyLekarz.pl,
Gastronauci.pl, LaModa.pl and more. Not all of those appeared in our portfolio, but that wasn’t the most important thing. I strongly believe in ‘pay it forward’ rule, especially when it comes to sharing knowledge. There’s nothing that can build your network better than helping others succeed.

In 2013 we wanted to increase the scale of our activities and established Protos VC. We’ve invested in 15 companies, both in Poland and abroad. We’ve learned we perform best when we invest in what we’re really experienced at: marketplaces. Although I didn’t expect that in the beginning of my career, my strong involvement into SEO made me a traffic acquisition maniac. I believe some
businesses win, because to win you need to be the best i.e. need to have the best product (biggest ARPU, LTV), lowest cost base possible (provided they don’t hinder growth), and last but definitely not the least: the best marketing (vast and low on CAC). Marketing is where the SEO comes in handy, and often it’s the key to winning other channels.

To sum up… I’m a numbers person, trying to bring P&L into the black, but not at the cost of growth. I Iike new ideas and risk, but I cannot say I’m that much of a visionaire as my friends Marcin Kurek or Mariusz Gralewski. I’m a tech lover, not a great programmer now, but still skilled in terms of planning architecture and IT organization. I value knowledge sharing. If your project is interesting I’m eager
to help you with big marketplace SEO that I mastered. I respect playing fair.

„You are the average of the five people, you mostly spend time with” - work and accompany with those you share same values