Startup — Tabu

An online platform that provides insight into tech salaries and counts 19,000+ users

About

Tabu is a platform that openly shows salaries in the IT industry. It makes it easy for employees to negotiate salaries, and employers to monitor their competitiveness.

Venture overview

  • Founded

    2022

  • Current phase

    Prototype

  • Sector

    Human Resources/Finance

  • Bornfight involvement

    From concept

  • Founders

    Bornfight

How Tabu works

Tabu compares salaries for all IT positions — from developers and designers to product managers and marketers. It allows each employee and employer to find out how much people are paid to do the same or similar work.

24 000+

salaries collected

50%

of the Croatian tech market covered

3 months

from 0 to revenue (26 business users at the moment)

DRAG

Key information & achievements:

  • 3 months from idea to realization and launch of the platform
  • 10 000+ entries collected in the first 2 weeks
  • 8 000+ Croatian developers entered their salaries (which is over 50% of the market, while other competitors cover only 2%)
  • Over 1 400 user feedback quotes with almost 500 users claiming that Tabu helped them negotiate a salary increase
  • Started gathering revenue 3 months after 1st contact with potential business users
  • Already used by 26 businesses (20 reference customers)— selling since September 2022
  • First business users are IT companies such as Nanobit, Greyp, dSpace, COBE, Pontis Technology, Laus CC and EveryMatrix
  • Investment amount: 100K EUR invested in the pre-seed round
     

Tabu business users

Jan 2022

Mar 2022

Apr 2022

Jun 2022

Oct 2022

Mar 2023

Jul 2023

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started working on the idea behind Tabu

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Tabu survey & platform launch

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first results announced

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start of quarterly updates

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first business users

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1st birthday celebration with a free webinar about gross salary

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TABU B2B launched

Taking the taboo out of salaries

The idea behind this platform is to remove the taboo on the topic of wages and motivate both employers and employees to change their perspective — employers to see the advantage of being transparent because they can be fairer in the market, and employees to not feel uncomfortable whenever the salary topic is mentioned.

Tabu was created as a result of Bornfight's transparent salary policy, and we can confirm from our own experience that transparent salaries are profitable in the long run, as we publicly announced salaries back in February 2020. Behind this platform is our CEO Tomislav Grubišić, who has already personally conducted a survey of developer salaries in 2018 and 2019. He has previously used Google Forms for his research, but he realized that it’s time to step up the game. 


 

FOUNDER'S QUOTE

My goal is to raise this whole research to a higher level so that the story behind the salary finally stops being a taboo topic. I can see on Bornfight’s example how much happier our employees are, how much faster they develop, and ultimately how much their output has gotten better since we made it public.

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Tomislav Grubišić

BORNFIGHT CEO

Completely in-house team

We built this platform completely in-house — from the idea, branding, and design, all the way to development and marketing. Tabu launch was accompanied by a provocative campaign, and the idea behind this was to raise attention on the market and collect as many salaries as possible.

As we attracted over 35 000 visitors at the same time, we completely filled the server’s RAM, CPU, and I/O allowed usage which made the site inaccessible for many users, displaying only an error message — we immediately increased the allowed usage of all three and ensured that the problem won't occur anymore.

Local presence & gender gap report

Based on 10 000+ salaries collected in the first 2 weeks, we did a general analysis of the developers’ roles, and Tomislav presented those stats at Debug — one of the largest developers’ conferences in Croatia. This was the most visited presentation at the entire conference — over 1 200 developers attended this keynote in person — the presentation is also available on YouTube and everyone can watch it for free.

We also compared salaries based on gender and the report showed that women are, without exception, on average paid less than men, and this difference is even greater in ranks with more years of experience.

For example, men with one to two years of experience get paid 2% more than women with the same experience, those with four to eight years of work experience are paid 14% more than women, and those with over 30 years of experience get paid up to 23% more than female colleagues with the same seniority.

Full support from experienced specialists

As Bornfight, we support co-founders on many different levels — from tech & business teams, all the way to operational services and administrative support, finances, and investment network.

We provide Tabu with access to VCs, investors, and advisors, and we also connected the whole team with successful startup founders who went through the same pitfalls throughout their journey to becoming profitable and successful businesses. Our finance team advises our ventures on revenue management, and finance models, inform them about upcoming EU funding rounds, and helps them apply, but also prepares specialized reports on budget, revenue, forecast, and lots of other useful information in real-time.

Our specialists also take care of accounting, tax advice, and payroll management along with lots of legal advice, and People Operations handle new hires, insurance, contacts, and the onboarding process as it is crucial for a startup to find the right candidate for a position, especially in an early stage. Other than that, as administrative work can be extremely time-consuming, our IT and office teams ensure that founders don’t get drowned in paperwork, buying or maintaining the office equipment, devices, tools, and network services. With full support from specialists in every aspect of building a business, we make sure that our ventures can completely focus on the product and its growth.
 

QUOTE

As with the general Tabu research, where Tabu helps everyone working in IT to find out how much are they earning compared to the averages in the industry, with this report we hope to help women to equalize their salary both in relation to the general average and in relation to the average of their male colleagues. We believe that with the help of information transparency, discriminatory practices like this can be changed.

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Ines Rudan

MARKETING OPERATIONS MANAGER

Preserving the users’ anonymity is of the highest importance. That’s why Tabu will only show data for a particular set of criteria if there are enough data points. Also, TABU will ever only share some information with third parties in aggregated forms, never as specific entries.

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Vatroslav Mileusnić

TABU PRODUCT LEAD

As with the general Tabu research, where Tabu helps everyone working in IT to find out how much are they earning compared to the averages in the industry, with this report we hope to help women to equalize their salary both in relation to the general average and in relation to the average of their male colleagues. We believe that with the help of information transparency, discriminatory practices like this can be changed.

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Ines Rudan

MARKETING OPERATIONS MANAGER

Preserving the users’ anonymity is of the highest importance. That’s why Tabu will only show data for a particular set of criteria if there are enough data points. Also, TABU will ever only share some information with third parties in aggregated forms, never as specific entries.

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Vatroslav Mileusnić

TABU PRODUCT LEAD

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Protecting the privacy and anonymity of every employee

Tabu helps equalize salaries and expectations by providing statistics and pay averages based on gathered data. This helps both employees and companies to structure fair pay for their job positions and ranks. In order to avoid situations in which the employees do not know how to assess the value of their work, and the employers do not have an overview of the current state of the market to know what salary to offer to their future employees, Tabu collects wages on the Croatian tech market.

Employees don’t have to worry if their entry is unique for a particular position, seniority level and combination of other parameters — the salary is not displayed until enough results are collected to guarantee anonymity.

Key challenges & our approach

Until now, Tabu gathered over 24 000 salaries, which means that over 50% of the entire Croatian tech and more than 8 000 Croatian developers participated in this survey.

As this platform covers 2 different types of users — employees as private users and companies as business users, it’s important to find a balance and bring benefits to both parties by protecting the privacy and anonymity of every employee, while still bringing valuable insights to business users.

Some of our key challenges are:

  • finding a product-market fit for both private and business users
  • keeping the system fresh so that users actively fill in data
  • obtaining data in gross rather than net amounts
  • system upgrade by creating an application
     

Business user quote

The number of Tabu users - employees who participated in the survey, intrigued us the most. We compared the data with other research sources and decided on a longer-term cooperation with Tabu because it offers a credible overview of the current salary situation.

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Zrinka Peharec

HEAD OF HR, DSPACE

A product like this was missing on the market, and it has already become an indispensable component in Nanobit's business. We are satisfied users, whether we are talking about the data, the ease of use, or the support we receive.

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Lea Bošnjak

HEAD OF HR, Nanobit

The market has never been more challenging and only those who take action will survive. The number of our employees has increased, which is certainly in favour of the Tabu platform, which “warns” us to react and correct our compensation plans. If salaries are not adjusted to the market, everything else falls apart.

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Luka Juričinec

HEAD OF HR, EVERYMATRIX

The number of Tabu users - employees who participated in the survey, intrigued us the most. We compared the data with other research sources and decided on a longer-term cooperation with Tabu because it offers a credible overview of the current salary situation.

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Zrinka Peharec

HEAD OF HR, DSPACE

A product like this was missing on the market, and it has already become an indispensable component in Nanobit's business. We are satisfied users, whether we are talking about the data, the ease of use, or the support we receive.

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Lea Bošnjak

HEAD OF HR, Nanobit

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Business users & future plans

Tabu business model completely relies on business users — companies that sign a contract that allows them access to a general report on current salary ranges for different positions. Tabu currently counts 21 business users in the Croatian tech market — first, we plan to gather more business users in the Croatian tech market, and then either expand to other countries or into other industries that can benefit from Tabu. 

As for the development plans and our approach to the key challenges of this platform, we have a couple of things in mind — the next step would be to increase mobile support and make the platform more accessible for mobile phones. That would allow us to provide more options for surveying and displaying results, and, over time, Tabu could transform into a salary management tool that covers the entire lifecycle of salary and other additional benefits in the compensation package.
 

VISIT TABU.HR!