Sramana: How long did the parent system integrator company have to subsidize Sitecore?
Michael Seifert: Sitecore as a company has always been profitable, however, we would not have made it without our sister company. If we had a cash flow crunch, they could help us out. I think that if we did not have our sister company, then we would have had to take angel investments at an early stage.
Sramana: You essentially bootstrapped using services, and the services were able to finance the development of the product. That is an effective and common model.
Michael Seifert: Yes, because you get some real world perspective and experience.
Sramana: It also allows you get perspective and visibility from customers, because the product you are building would essentially be in the same domain.
Michael Seifert: Exactly. The product itself rose out of our services business, so we had a great understanding of the market we were building the product to serve.
Sramana: What exactly does Sitecore do?
Michael Seifert: That is a journey as well. What we did back then is not the same as what we do today. In the beginning, the problem that we solved was called Content Management and Web Experience Management. Back when we started, there was a lot of competition. Most systems at that time were predicated on the concept that you created webpages and published them into static HTML files.
One of the key differences in what we had made is that our system was fully dynamic. Every page you saw was generated on the fly. That was a combination of advances in hardware since computers had gotten faster, as well as advances in Microsoft .NET and web technologies. We came in at an interesting time with the ability to create those dynamic pages.
We were founded with the heritage of creating dynamic experiences. At times, we lost to static systems because those systems were faster. However, today that heritage has proven to be a strength.
Sramana: What was the competitive landscape like when you entered the market?
Michael Seifert: What is very interesting is that initially we only sold our product in the Danish market. We did not come to the US until 2004. During the initial years, the competition was against Danish vendors and there were a lot of them. Competition was pretty fierce.
Sramana: What about the international market?
Michael Seifert: What has been very interesting is that for the first few years, every time we opened in a new country, we would see a new set of competitors. There was not a single global competitor. That has been true until about two years ago. There has not been a single system that has been present globally. Obviously, a lot has changed over the past years.
Sramana: What was your sweet spot? What type of website would you be brought in to build?
Michael Seifert: At the time, we were working with large Danish companies and some SMB. Our business was very horizontal. We had a strong appeal to Microsoft customers.