Today’s Featured BizSpark Startup is Eight Wire from New Zealand.
Jason Gleason, Business Director and Co-Founder, tells us how he helped create the world’s fastest cloud migration software with automatic error fixing.
What is your company’s mission?
We want to change the way businesses manage their data assets. We are accomplishing this through building smart and innovative SaaS applications that work with businesses and allow them to grow and change without being held back by complex IT processes.
How did you get the idea for your company?
Nigel, my Co-Founder, and I were 7 months through a nightmare of an integration project for a power generator and retailer. We went out for lunch to have a gripe and decided we could do things better if we used our knowledge and skills to throw out the rule book. From there, we started designing how to flexibly handle changing data and insuring there was a market for our product.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment since founding your company?
It was probably when one of our first customers told us that he had gone to his boss with a three-week estimate for integrating data between local and Azure databases, and he used Conductor to do it in a morning. So, we knew we were onto something, and had a very happy customer that has been very supportive.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding?
We are currently looking for seed round funding. We started our funding round in late May and are nearly halfway to our target.
How many employees do you have? How many of them are developers?
Three employees. Two of them are developers.
Microsoft technologies that you are using in conjunction with the development of your application:
Visual Studio, .NET, SQL Server, Azure, Windows Server, IIS.
Tell us about your Azure based solution.
Since we are built on Azure with Microsoft technologies, it is very easy for us to move our customer’s data from disparate systems onto Azure.
How is Azure implemented in your solution?
We use Azure in several ways. First, our production solution is hosted on Azure VMs built with Windows Server and running SQL Server. These are currently in Singapore, but we will be standing up more servers in the US to meet demand when needed.
We have also stood up an HDInsight cluster to build and test our Hadoop connector. By using the Conductor app, our customers can seamlessly move from structured data to unstructured storage such as HDInsight within a matter of hours.
How did you get excited about Azure?
When we logged in and saw a simple, clean interface that could scale automatically we knew Azure was perfect. Simple, clean and powerful are all strengths for Azure.
What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?
The simple billing process means we never get surprised by costs, the site is very easy to use, and the automatic scaling and network features were enough for us to know that Azure would meet our needs well.
What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?
Do it! The cost, security and robustness are all better than any company can hope to do on their own. To be honest, I don’t know why anybody would buy a server.
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 started off with predictions on how we would achieve revenue and then tested them with customers. Within a few months of starting, I made a PowerPoint storyboard to show how our product would work and met with a dozen peers and potential customers. I interviewed them to find out how they fix this pain at the moment, would they use a cloud hosted solution, and how much they would pay for software to handle data integration.
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?
We felt it was most important to determine what our competition was and how we would be a differentiator. We all have years of experience using other integration tools, so we know what works and what can be improved.
How much of what you are building is based on leaving a legacy vs technical challenges vs making something just for fun?
We are both on the for profit end of the scale. Eight Wire was founded by two cubicle refugees that decided to leverage their skills for to build a product to deliver real value. That being said, I’ve never had so much fun at work before, and can see myself making a career as an entrepreneur.
What impact or legacy do you hope to make in the market and in the business world?
We want to be a step change in how business IT systems are run. Before Eight Wire, data integration was an expensive necessity that businesses just suffered through. After Eight Wire, this critical phase of development is handled seamlessly and allows the business to move and shift without needing to wait for their IT team to catch up.
What characteristics do you possess that make you an entrepreneur? What makes your startup a startup?
The characteristics that I possess are a firm belief in my product and company, and my desire to build something from the ground up that can scale to a global presence. My company is a startup because we are going down a technology path and disrupting our industry using our drive, technology background, and skills.
Do you have any advice for young startups?
Believe in yourself, especially during the bad times. Work with good co-founders. And everything will take longer than you think. And will cost more.
Can you describe the relationship that you have had with Microsoft in building your startup?
We had a relationship with Microsoft from the beginning through the BizSpark program for startups. We knew that our product would be of a great benefit to Microsoft, but we have held back on growing our engagement until our product was production ready.
What do you think of the BizSpark Program?
We really like it! The program has been great for startups to get through the first few years of development, and the access to Microsoft Azure will be beneficial for worldwide growth.
Why would an entrepreneur turn to Microsoft for help in building scale, a team, or using software?
I don’t know of any other companies that are offering as comprehensive a solution to entrepreneurs as Microsoft. Providing cloud infrastructure, software, and marketing opportunities is an incredible resource for entrepreneurs and is invaluable during the first few years.
View product demo here.