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  • Writer's pictureMart Lumeste

Coffee break with Intium's co-founder, Mart Lumeste

Today I am having a coffee break with Mart Lumeste, co-founder of Intium Tech. Mart has 20+ years of experience in the tech industry as both a developer and a manager. His knowledge in the IT field is very well-rounded and deeply rooted in hands-on experience and although Mart and I know each other from university, it's great fun for me to introduce him better to everyone else.


Mart Lumeste standing outside

Mart, thank you for sitting down with me and talking a little bit more about yourself. Could you relate your past work experience and career for us? Perhaps relate it in a narrative fashion reminiscent of 'Slumdog Millionaire'?


Mart: My career has been a little bit different than that of most. I have moved both vertically and horizontally through positions and companies and I’m never afraid to take a new step if the position and job are interesting and challenging for me. I have many job experiences but I think some are more pivotal than others.


I started working as a cable guy when I was 16. I went to work for my father’s company and started laying cables from point A to point B. I think that's where I got my interest in computers and the Internet and decided to study it at university. My first proper job was at Telia (then Elion), the largest telecommunications company in Estonia. I was working on the product side with data centers and infrastructure. Then I moved over to software development. I went to work at Eesti Energia- the world's biggest oil shale-to-energy company. I was tasked with leading the biggest IT development project at that time- the energy market's transition from closed to open market.


A clear turning point came when working for Crosslake, our now competitor, as a consultant. That experience was crucial in terms of knowledge. At Crosslake, I truly saw how my previous experience enables me to be great at tech advising clients and deals. I felt like I was meant to do this line of work and help others benefit from my experience. It was like a light bulb went off in my head and things just clicked.


When Covid came and changed the world as we knew it, both Agu and I decided to search for opportunities during the crisis. We also noticed many people around us, thinking in the same way and looking for a chance to find value in tough times. This is also a very Estonian trait- you need to make things work, no matter the times. And that is how Intium Tech came to be.


What's your vision for the technology consultancy sector, and how do you see it evolving in the next 2-5 years?


Mart: The challenge for us is very clear- how to scale a business that traditionally is very human-labor intensive. We see clearly that not only is there a finite number of consultants available, but also their expertise varies greatly between subjects. So the question then becomes not only about automation to scale successfully but how to do it without making concessions on quality. Technological advancement allows us to automate a lot of the work and get vast amounts of data and formatting automatically. When we think of throwing also AI in the mix- things start to get interesting..:) We clearly see at Intium that the tech consultancy sector will change shortly to become automated and focus on creating value for clients through agile deals that align with their investment thesis.


Tough times lately have already shown us that tech valuations are not increasing like previously projected. Before it was relatively easy to grow in value as the market was also growing. We know that a calm sea never made a good sailor and that is very true for business leaders also. Savvy people can use this as an opportunity to pivot businesses or to grow by experience.



What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement, and why?


Mart: I’m most proud of myself for being able to make drastic changes in my career. I want to grow and learn in many ways. For some people, changes like this can be stressful, but I always see it as going on a new adventure and learning new skills. Today I feel, that I have a very good understanding of tech and to achieve this, I have had to learn both how to be a good IT manager and also a good software developer. We have a good saying about this in Estonia- rabbits don’t drink champagne. To reap the rewards, one has to be brave.


How do you approach leadership and building a strong team culture within the company?


Mart: We try very hard to hire professionals into our team, that already carry Intium’s core values. This point is especially important to us because the people in the team are the ones that carry the values in their work and also organically change them with us.

Leadership always starts with setting a good example to follow. If you pick the right specialists, give them autonomy, and lead by example, most things fall into place naturally.


Values are a topic that needs to be a continuous discussion subject. Not because people have different values but because people see those values manifest in different ways in everyday situations. This is a natural human bias and having discussions around these questions helps the team align our understandings.


What advice would you give your younger self about entrepreneurship and life in general?


Mart: Buy DogeCoin in December 2020 and sell it at the beginning of May 2021 :) With all seriousness, I would tell my younger self to keep working on things I like and have an inherent affinity for - whether it be hobbies and sports or my professional life. It is very easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks with time filling in quickly. I try to remind myself to have fun in life and I consciously make time for it.


Secondly, one doesn’t have to be right all the time and it is human to err. Somebody told me years ago that making a wrong decision is always better than not deciding. Usually, you are not that off, and mistakes can be corrected down the road.


What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?


Mart: I have always loved playing basketball; sports are a significant part of my life. I started playing already at 8 years old and I have never stopped since. I don’t play as many tournaments as I previously have but I’m planning to participate in at least a couple this year. Of course, now I’m playing already in the veteran league.

I also enjoy snowboarding very much. Every year we have a fun-filled snowboarding trip somewhere abroad.


As I am the proud father of 1 with another one on the way, a lot of my time is spent with my family, and has to deal with raising my child. At the moment we are also renovating our house so there is always plenty to do. As this renovation has proven to be a much longer and bigger process than planned, anyone in need of a construction consultation can email me.:)



Thank you, Mart, for this time together! If you would like to contact Mart and hear more about our Sonar product and tech due diligence, contact him directly at mart.lumeste@intiumtech.com




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