Florian Gumpinger, founder of Verpura, wants to deliver SAP to small companies. So, he made his Windows 8 app to do just that. Enter the Verpura Timetracking Application on Windows 8. According to Florian, who is based in Austria, "It is an integrated ERP/CRM solution with interfaces to Microsoft Office 365 and with innovative features like DropBox and so on. Everything runs online, with an special frontend for smartphones and apps, with some features for Windows 8," he says.
"It helps you keep track of your working times – you also can directly write this to projects and generate invoices from there for your customers."
"This is a native Windows 8 App. We also use Azure for our communication between Verpura and Microsoft Office 365, and SharePoint API. And we have a Verpura edition using Microsoft SQL Server. You can rent or buy Verpura. When you buy it you get an Appliance with Windows Small Business Server Essential Operating System and pre-installed our Verpura," says Florian.
Florian Gumpinger, founder, Verpura
Do you build for scale first, or for revenue? How are those things related in your mind?
We build it for both. We want many users which will pay for our complete solution – you only can use the app with our web based solutions … so the app is for scale it and with renting or selling Verpura we want to get revenues.
Do you make reasonable predictions about how you are going to achieve revenue and then test them out, or do you start with a business model and deploy it, to see if it brings in revenue?
We already started with our business model with “trial and error” … we know now many things which will not work and we know some things which work.
What questions do you think a startup non-technical founder needs to answer when considering a cloud architecture for his or her startup, and I am thinking specifically here during the business model generation period?
The best investor is a customer – how will you get customers and which benefits will the customer have from your product.
What questions do you and your technical co-founder / engineering team feel are the most important to solve about the business aspects of your company?
Does it really work and is it secure?
Where do you include technical members of your team during the building of your business plan?
We worked together. We are a small company – so we know each other and we talk with each other
How much of what you are building is based on leaving a legacy and how much of it is based on technical challenges, or the ability to make something just for fun? In other words, where do you fall on the seriousness scale? For fun, for profit, for life?
For profit – and we think our solutions are cool. For example you can make your company-invoices on the point of sale with an surface, print it directly out or mail it your customer and take the money directly or let you pay with cards … and this invoices directly would be sent do your tax-expert and so on … this is much more cool than using a cash register or something like this. But you also can make your time bookings with it when you are a service provider or when you produce something in your company you would be assisted by Verpura. You also can see how many goods you have in your storage and so on – it is like SAP but for small companies and complete online. You can rent it from € 19,90 per month or buy it for running it in your company (from € 3.999,- at once).
When did you decide that you were “startup material”?
Two years ago
What impact or legacy do you hope to make in the market and in the business world?
We want to bring ERP/CRM/Groupware solutions to small companies – online for rent
What are some of the challenges you face as a founder or developer at a startup, when it comes to dealing with family life, or socially? Does working on a startup change the way you associate and interact in these areas?
Yes – the company costs much time and money … you have to do it … everytime. There is nobody else which will do it when you will not do it.
What characteristics do you possess that make you an entrepreneur? What makes your startup a startup?
I want to do something for myself and for the society … not for another company or person.
Can you describe the relationship that you have had with Microsoft in building your startup?
We had a good relationship … Microsoft took me in the BizSpark program and listed me online in the marketplace … but until now I didn`t sold anything about this. But I sold some Office-365 accounts for Microsoft.
Why would an entrepreneur turn to Microsoft for help in building scale, a team, or using software?
Microsoft could help in sales. Microsoft can help with contacts.
Tell us about your Azure based solution.
Our Time tracking App does not use Azure – it is an native Windows 8 App. But we use Azure for Verpura.
How is Azure implemented in your solution?
It is a standalone-Application which translates between Java and .net. The SharePoint API uses authentication-methods which are not available in Java. So we made our own API which uses an authentication which also works in Java … so we can use the full SharePoint-API also in Java. Our solution is made in Java – we started with it already 2005. From the beginning on complete browser based. As Microsoft decided to come in the cloud also we decided to make interfaces to Microsoft. So we integrated Office 365 with Exchange and SharePoint. So the documents also in our online data space (like drop box) can be opened for example directly with your Word webapp over SharePoint. Or the emails will directly copied to the contacts in our CRM and so on.
How did you get excited about Azure? It is possible with it to connect to SharePoint API.
What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure? With it we can use SharePoint API – directly from Java out this is not so easy because the used authentication method did not work with Java.
What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?
Florian Gumpinger, CEO