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Bootstrapping Using Services: InRule COO Rik Chomko (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, Oct 3rd 2014

Sramana: What I’m trying to understand is how did you manage to bootstrap the Version 1.0 piece of your journey? Was there some of the services money that this company was paying you that went into building the product?

Rik Chomko: Yes. That’s exactly how we did it. So we bootstrapped it and were trying to do double duty. There are three of us. Two of us were focusing on the services work while our chief technical officer was focusing on the development of the product. Well, all three of us contributed to it. So during the day, we did the work on the services side and then at night, we worked on the product.

Sramana: Okay. How long did it take you to bring the products to Version 1.0?

Rik Chomko: That’s a good question. We started the company in July 2002. I think we delivered our beta version four months later and then the Version 1.0 came probably six months later around January 2003. I think they went into production probably another three months after that.

Sramana: Is this an insurance company?

Rik Chomko: Yes.

Sramana: And how much did they pay you for that product?

Rik Chomko: It was in the upper tens of thousands.

Sramana: Okay. And that gives you some cash and it was a one-time payment? What was the model for charging them? Was it a time fee for this product that you were charging them? Is this not ongoing product, ongoing fee?

Rik Chomko: Back then, software service really wasn’t a concept, so it was a one-time upfront chunk of cash. It was a perpetual license front.

Sramana: So, you now have a chunk of cash and a Version 1 product, by what the beginning of 2003?

Rik Chomko: Right.

Sramana: What happens next? What’s the next set of customers? And how long did it took you bring that on? And by the end of 2003, where are you?

Rik Chomko: We thought we should go ahead and start to target the insurance industry because that was where we had our start. We took some of that money and in May of 2003 went out to a couple of conferences focused on the insurance industry. Around March 2003, we set up our website. We got a designer to help us design it and put it up. I think putting up the website at that point of time helped build up that little bit of initial awareness. That was really where we would consider ourselves as having gone to market. We started getting leads—not a lot, but a few.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Bootstrapping Using Services: InRule COO Rik Chomko
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