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Bootstrapping All The Way: Infinitely Virtual CEO Adam Stern (Part 2)

Posted on Friday, Jul 17th 2015

Sramana Mitra: What is the reception for the concept of hosting a virtualized infrastructure in your client base? What was the level of awareness? Were you doing missionary selling? How are you getting customers for that particular value proposition?

Adam Stern: We did talk to existing customers about what we were doing, and only a handful saw the value in it initially. We set down the road of building an e-commerce site with the idea that we were going to sell a very transparently-priced product to our customers. We built e-commerce where people could design their hosting environment online. It took a long time. We started writing articles for digital press to inform the public about what this was. It took a little while for people to really catch on. Very early on, we got some core customers who were great sources of word of mouth. Our growth in the early years was just astronomical. Part of it was to educate possible customers about what the value of this environment would be versus co-located hardware or managed hosting.

Sramana Mitra: How did you phase that? How did you position that value proposition that got through to these customers? It sounds like you got your positioning right very early on.

Adam Stern: We’ve always focused on the SMB. We just talked to our customers the way we had always done – with a consultative basis. We would say, “This is one of the things that you’re worried about. These are the things we can do to fix that. If you’re worried about downtime, we can offer you 100% uptime. If you’re worried about data loss, we’ll handle the back-up, and restore and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. With virtualized infrastructure, you can instantly restore the entire server.”

That’s a novel concept for an SMB who is used to locally installed servers. At that time, VMWare was still thinking about how to get into the SMB. They started to give away their Hypervisor. This was in 2007 I think. The SMB market had never even thought of virtualization as a way to achieve these capabilities. We said, “You don’t have to be Fortune 500 now to do this. You just need to let us do it for you.”

Sramana Mitra: How did you get the company off the ground? Did you bootstrap? Did you raise capital?

Adam Stern: I mentioned earlier working for the company. The reason why I made sure that one company was mentioned is because during that time, we were the parent company to Tutor Perini that had begun purchasing other construction companies including three other corporations. During that time, we were contracted to help them with this massive merger of companies. In the end, it was around 40 plus companies.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Bootstrapping All The Way: Infinitely Virtual CEO Adam Stern
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