The BizSpark startup of the day is eBabel, based in the UK. You will find below an interview with Nadjib Amar, founder and main web developer of eBabel. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Nadjib Amar, founder and main web developer of eBabel
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I’m the founder and main web developer of eBabel. I work mostly on programming eBabel web applications, using the latest Microsoft technologies. I’m a big fan of ASP.Net MVC and Windows Azure. I also work with SQL Azure and Azure Storage. I believe cloud computing is the way forward for the web industry.
What did you do before creating your company?
I’ve been developing web applications since 2001. I’ve worked in Brighton and London for web consultancies and digital publishers. I had been thinking about starting my own company for some years. The ideas I’m putting into eBabel are based on my observations of what works and what can be improved when developing websites and web applications.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It’s brilliant. BizSpark is an excellent program for startups and being featured on ‘Startup of the Day’ will help raise eBabel’s profile. I’m delighted to be selected so early on in the development of my company.
What is your company’s mission?
I want to make it easier and more affordable for everyone to manage their information on the web. I intend to develop several web applications, of which the eBabel multilingual website maker is the first. Next, I will launch an off-the-shelf eLearning system, to create training sites quickly and easily.
How did you get the idea for your company?
I noticed the web agencies I worked for would spend a lot of time and energy to create custom websites. This process is rather time consuming and expensive. I realized it would be so much better to have a system that is already running and generic enough to create any off-the-shelf website. Instead of developing a single design for each customer, I decided to offer a range of ready to use designs.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
Depending on how my business develops, it may become a necessity to seek funding, but until then I won’t try to obtain any. To be quite frank, I believe startups should try to stay independent for as long as possible. I will try very hard to keep my business self-funded.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
There are only two of us at the moment, both developers, and I’m the only one who works on the business full-time. My partner helps out in his spare time and I’ve enlisted some of my friends and family to give me a hand now and then. eBabel is very much a family business.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?
I’m not currently hiring, but once the business has grown enough to justify hiring staff, I would love to hire a sales person and possibly a designer. I do love to code and I intend to keep on doing it. I won’t outsource the programming to third parties and I won’t leave the coding to someone else. When eBabel requires a business manager, I’d rather hire one than move away from what I love doing.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
I build on ASP.Net, MVC and Azure. I’m passionate about MVC; it’s a much better way to develop web applications. I started with Classic ASP and then moved to ASP.Net Web Forms. MVC is a much cleaner, more controlled way to develop web applications. Hosting my web applications on Azure makes more sense than classic hosting: buying more than I need from the start and being stuck in a given hardware specification and service is not desirable. The flexibility afforded by Azure cloud computing is so much better. Server administration is a complex area that is often neglected by web agencies. The scalability of Azure means that I can confidently grow my server capacity as and when my business needs it.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?
I see three key opportunities: Firstly, many web applications are only in English but businesses often have multilingual requirements. Secondly, non-technical staffs need to build attractive websites with a simple, visual interface. ASP.Net MVC is great product to develop these web applications with jQuery. Finally, packaged based eLearning will take off in the near future.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
It’s an amazing opportunity to be in the BizSpark Program. I was overjoyed when Microsoft accepted my request to join the program and I’ve been taking full advantage of all the great tools Microsoft has created to make the lives of web developers easier and more productive.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Take your time to think it through, make sure your product will be useful to your market, focus on the quality of the product first, plan your delivery, review it weekly and make sure you’ve saved enough money before launching your business.
Who’s your role model?
Scott Hanselman from Microsoft. I have been listening to his podcast for some time and almost feel like I know him, even though I’ve never met him in person.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
Building a business is hard but incredibly exciting. If that’s what you want to do, go for it.