Sramana Mitra: What was the concept around which you started this company?
Anthony Ferry: When we formed the company, it was a traditional consulting company where we wanted to build solutions for various industries. We also wanted to build software products and have our feet in the fire out there to understand what the needs of the industry were at that time to come up with those ideas. Consulting business was doing very well and growing very fast.
Sramana Mitra: What area were you consulting in? I am gathering that you are telling a story of
bootstrapping using services. You basically had a services company and you bootstrapped a product out of the services business. Is that a correct observation?
Anthony Ferry: Exactly. Not just one, but many. Prior to forming the company, we lived through the dot-com bubble. We’re part of a lot of different startups, ideas, and business plan reviews. That was very contagious. We loved that. Services was a great platform for us to provide those services to various industries. That’s exactly the reason for us having an incubator arm inside of the company that we formed. Those ideas would come from clients and employees.
Sramana Mitra: I would like to do this as a journey. It has to be somewhat chronological. Let’s go back to 2001 when you started this consulting company. What happened next? What kind of clients were your working with? What kind of projects were you doing? Where did you develop core competency?
Anthony Ferry: When we launched the company in 2001, it was right after the dot-com bubble. Microsoft missed the boat technology-wise with all of the website development going on. Their platform wasn’t the preferred one; Java was. Microsoft was going to be launching their new software development platform .NET, which we were very excited about.
Having a history with Microsoft and being somewhat loyal to them and their platform, that was a big part of our platform as we jumped off in the start of 2002. February 2002 was right around the launch of the Microsoft .NET platform. We wet ourselves out as the expert in .NET and learning as much as we could. It was a new platform.
Also coming right off the heels of the dot-com bubble, the technology services arena was so depressed that it was kind of like the phoenix rising from the ashes. We were competitive very quickly with a lot of companies that had been around longer who had gone through some difficult times. .NET was a big part of our platform and our launch into our services consulting offer.
For the first few years, we had very different industries, ranging from finance to manufacturing. We weren’t really specific to any one industry. The solution we had varied quite drastically as well. We were building anything from an inventory management system to website commerce solution. We followed Microsoft at that time and built expertise around their product releases like SharePoint.