Sramana Mitra: The truth is we have seen a lot of these people coming out and building companies. I think that trend is going to accelerate.
Sebastian Stadil: That is my story as well. Before founding Scalr, I worked at a company where I was manually managing infrastructure for them. The experience that I got from that allowed me to have the inside expertise of managing infrastructure.
Sramana Mitra: You had a visceral understanding of the pain so that you had the confidence to go out and build a product that would solve that pain. What is your story? Tell me a bit about how you built Scalr.
Sebastian Stadil: It started out when I was 15 years old. When I was 15, I was quite poor. I had to buy myself a new hard drive for my computer. I didn’t know whether I should buy a big hard drive and spend all of my money on it, or whether I should buy a smaller one and use the savings to buy another one in a few years. Most Li-On storage is every 12 months. You get twice the amount of storage per dollar. I wrote a little paper on that and submitted that paper to Slashdot and Slashdot wrote an article on it. They linked the article to my website. It was a shared host so when I got all the traffic from Slashdot, it completely crashed the server that I had. I thought to myself that it would be cool if there’s a system which would automatically scale capacity. Fast forward many years and it is 2007, that’s when we started working on Scalr. That’s how Scalr got its name. It started to solve that specific problem. It grew there. By starting with a small focused problem and expanding, it’s helped us to be very developer friendly.
Sramana Mitra: Is this a venture-funded company?
Sebastian Stadil: Since we started as an open source project, we actually got revenues ahead of incorporating. As we grew, we grew in revenues. We were able to bootstrap our way without having to raise any seed or venture capital money.
Sramana Mitra: So your business is a bootstrapped business?
Sebastian Stadil: That is correct.
Sramana Mitra: How far along are you?
Sebastian Stadil: Today we are in the mid-seven figure revenues. The latest count is 35 employees. We’ve been growing quite fast. We had 135% revenue growth 2013 over 2012. We’re on track to make that happen as well for 2014. Our company is still engineering focused with more than two-thirds of the staff as engineers, but we’re starting to invest more heavily in marketing and sales as well.
Sramana Mitra: Nice talking to you, Sebastian. Thank you.