The BizSpark startup of the day is Vembu Technologies, based in India. You will find below an interview with Sekar Vembu, Founder & CEO of Vembu Technologies. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Sekar Vembu, Founder & CEO of Vembu Technologies
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I’m the founder & CEO at Vembu Technologies.
What did you do before creating your company?
Before Vembu, I was a co-founder at AdventNet. They’re now called Zoho Corp. When I was there AdventNet was focused on building Network Management software for the telecom domain. I was technically involved in creating a carrier scale Network Management platform at AdventNet and that experience gave me the technical depth and confidence to work on our current product, StoreGrid.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It certainly feels good to be selected. Microsoft is especially relevant considering that over 90% of our deployments are on Windows Operating Systems. Additionally, our software, StoreGrid, is used to backup a lot of data created with Microsoft applications like Outlook, SQL Server & Exchange Server.
What is your company’s mission?
To bring enterprise grade data protection & restore functionality to small & medium businesses and individuals. We want to remove the drudgery involved in backups and make it very easy to setup and manage to the point that we are obsessive about the user experience and put a high amount of effort into enhancing the user experience.
How did you get the idea for your company?
My own experiences with protecting our company data by striping it across available computers (nodes) led to us starting off StoreGrid as a peer to peer backup solution. In line with market forces and demand from Managed Service Providers, we quickly repositioned ourselves to focus on the online backup space. We have signed up over 1,500 partners across the world, each of whom is offering businesses commercial online backup services – based on the Vembu Storegrid platform! Earlier this year, the wheel turned full circle when we released a consumer backup service called Vembu Home (http://home.vembu.com ). It’s pretty interesting and the user experience is light years ahead of other solutions in the market. In fact, Vembu Home is the only FREE consumer backup solution for free local backups and optional Cloud backups.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
After some personal seed funding at the start, we raised a small amount of angel funding. This was done primarily to get more ‘brains on the table’; the three angel investors we have are established & successful techno-entrepreneurs and comprise our advisory board (http://www.vembu.com/advisory-board.php). We are now profitable, and are not actively seeking funding. However, if there is an opportunity for a ‘meeting of minds’ between us and a potential investor, we’d certainly be open to exploring a fit.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We’re 85 people in all – with 70 in Development, QA and Technical Support.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?
We’re growing and yes, we’re hiring. We’re always looking for good developers and QA people, and are now also looking for some people to add to our marketing and sales teams.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
Most of our core development for the StoreGrid product is on C++ (a lot of that on Visual Studio). We’re also building atop the Adobe Flex platform – primarily for Vembu Home, our FREE consumer online backup service. The rationale behind choosing C++ was primarily to ensure a small ‘application footprint’ and high performance. Adobe Flex was chosen for the Vembu Home product as it allowed us to leverage the ubiquity of flash to deliver a superior user experience.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?
We see a lot of opportunities in the personal data management space – for applications that enhance productivity and dovetail with the way people work. In fact, we’re doing some interesting work in the ‘data sync’ & ‘online data consumption’ space. We also see continuing opportunity in the SMB space – for ‘no nonsense’ productivity applications that deliver on their promises – with minimal fuss.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
Developers and ISVs are spoilt for choice these days. In this context, the Bizspark program is a good way for the development community to maintain a two way conversation with Microsoft. Microsoft is obviously relevant considering the omnipresence of its operating systems and applications in the software universe. I also think the Bizspark program has successfully been able to connect with start ups (and early stage companies). Immediate benefits of Bizspark obviously include access to MS software and tools, and a consequent subsidizing of development costs. However, at Vembu, we also had the opportunity to articulate specific goals relevant to our organization. The Bizspark team rallied appropriate resources from across relevant geographies, and facilitated various conversations and connections for us. The depth and quality of Bizspark’s involvement was really impressive, and reflected efforts taken by your team(s) towards understanding nuances of our business.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
My biggest advice to young software entrepreneurs is to understand that there is no one sure way to start and run a company. Each one has to find her own way. Listen to advice but do not be under pressure to follow it if you do not believe in it as every situation is unique & different. And finally – it’s your baby! So, you need to choose the way you want to nurture and grow your company.
Who’s your role model?
There is no one individual I can think of considering that we all get influenced and inspired by so many people we come across- from popular and successful people to ‘seemingly’ ordinary individuals.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
The most important message I want to give readers is to follow their instinct and have their own definition of success, which is to say “never get influenced by other people’s definition of success”. At the end of the day you have to be at peace with yourself and not end up chasing others’ dreams, just for the sake of it, or to ‘conform’.