Where to start a billionth company
What do many entrepreneurs do when they sell a multi-million dollar company? Found another. This happened with Andrei Baronov and Ratmir Timashev. When they sold their first company, Aelita Software, they got the idea to create a new project, and so Veeam Software came about.
It all started with a tiny room in one of the business centers of St. Petersburg, which housed only three desktops. Why not rent a large office in Singer’s house, because there was money already? Everything is simple. The founders of Veeam worked on the principle of "start-in-garage" - creating a company and making first profit at minimal cost (this principle is described in detail in the intensive educational program Start in Garage for entrepreneurs engaged in business in Internet, cloud services and software development).
As a result, Veeam Software began to be built with a small room, several desks and a computer for $ 600. Here's what Veeam's first data center looked like (Photo 1):
Photo 1. The first data center of Veeam Software, 2006. The virtual domain controller, mail server, file / print server fit here. The total cost is $ 600.
For the same reason, it was decided to virtualize the server. Why buy multiple physical machines if everything can be run on one and save? This decision seemed especially successful, because if the number of users increased by 100 times, upgrading the infrastructure would simply come down to buying a few new servers and migrating virtual machines. As a result, the virtual infrastructure of the Veeam Software startup included three virtual machines with three employees, and all of the company's network equipment was reduced to the presence of the legendary D-Link DES-1008D switch.
Photo 2. The first network equipment of Veeam Software, 2006, is the D-Link DES-1008D switch. The total cost is $ 30.
By the way, the choice of virtualization for their servers subsequently played an important role in what Veeam Software is doing today.
Virtualization reduces costs, saves time, and generally simplifies the work of administrators. However, there were several problems. In particular, copying files from or to the ESX host required the configuration of additional services and was rather slow. The idea to simplify this task for the administrator came by itself, and the developers decided not to miss it. So the first Veeam product was the free FastSCP program , which made it possible to quickly and conveniently copy .ISO / VMDK files between the ESX server and the Windows machine. FastSCP turned out to be very, very popular and helped the company quickly gain the trust and favor of VMware users.
Today, FastSCP is used by more than 170 thousand system administrators in different countries of the world. All this is due to the fact that the product solved a real, not a fictitious problem, which was found by one hundred percent server virtualization in its own IT.
Since then, virtualization has been a central theme in Veeam's business. Over the past 6 years, the company has grown from a small company with three employees to a large international company, a leader in backing up virtual machines. The main product of the company - Veeam Backup & Replication today protects more than 4 million virtual machines around the world. Eventually:
- Veeam Backup & Replication has received more than 20 international awards;
- Over 1 thousand employees work here;
- The company has 17 international offices (the central office is now located in Switzerland, and head offices are open in Ohio, Paris and Sydney).
Photo 3. Veeam booth at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco, USA
The history of Veeam Software is a prime example of how useful it is to bring ambition into reality. The founders of the company clearly realized that at the start the company had crumbs in the asset, but they were not afraid to recognize the circumstances and accepted the working conditions as they are. At the same time, they always remained true to their dream - to build a company for a billion.
So how do you start a company for a billion?
- Do not be afraid to start an IT business in the absence of money. Their absence or a small amount only stimulates the search for new progressive solutions;
- Save on fundamental things. Do not rent an expensive office, do not rush to purchase expensive equipment and hire expensive employees;
- Find your niche. This is especially important with a minimal budget;
- Buy the same equipment that customers use, even if it’s not the best. This will help to take their place, which means finding a problem whose solution you can offer them. There is a problem - there is a solution, prepare and sell it.