The Force.com platform has been a great bootstrapping device for entrepreneurs. Read how Alex and Richard Britton bootstrapped CloudSense to a sizable product company on the platform.
Sramana: Alex, let’s start with your personal journey. Where were you born and raised? What are the roots of your entrepreneurial story?
Alex Fuller: I was born in Wimbledon in the UK where the tennis championship is held. My educational background was not focused on technology. I studied classics at Oxford University, which focused on Latin, Greek, and Linguistics. Before that, I had already acquired an interest in technology. I got into computing as a child when I was 12 years old. I had a keen interest in computing throughout my school years.
After I left the University, the Internet started growing. Its value proposition to everyday people and businesses was increasing. I immediately latched onto that and as a fascinating vector for what I had been interested in, in terms of publishing. The Internet was changing traditional fields and moving them forwards.
Around that time, I also started my own business doing website builds for film and TV companies. We had some good successes there, which included building sites for Channel 4 Television and 20th Century Fox. Before then, I had done some work with some telecommunications firms, which is where I met my future co-founder. The firm was a subsidiary of Sky Television and they were getting ready to embark on a transformation project to re-platform their business. They had a legacy of many different systems, data siloes, and disjointed business processes as a result of organic growth and organic business acquisitions.
When we started that project, it looked like a really difficult multi-year transformation effort. Yet through selecting cloud technologies such as Salesforce, which were new capabilities on the market, we discovered that we were able to do the entire project within 18 months with significantly less costs than we had anticipated. The value proposition that we saw from that really excited us. That is what inspired us to form CloudSense.
Sramana: What year was this?
Alex Fuller: This was around 2007 and 2008. We founded CloudSense in 2009.
Sramana: What was the premise of CloudSense. What were you trying to do?
Alex Fuller: We wanted to take our experience and combine it with this new value proposition. We wanted to leverage a rapid and agile approach to developing powerful business systems without the encumbrances of traditional solutions. We wanted to offer a new product in this cloud environment to enable businesses to reduce their cost and improve their ability to transform, adapt, and innovate in the marketplace. We saw a need for a new generation of order management tools, and that is what we set out to produce. We wanted to allow companies to improve the quality of their order capture by putting rules around that process to get the orders right the first time and reduce the cost of errors in the system.