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Scaling to $10M ARR with a Virtual Company: Fred Plais, CEO of (Part 2)

Posted on Thursday, Aug 2nd 2018

Sramana Mitra: We’re going to need to double-click on that. What do you actually provide? My understanding is that Magento is a hosted e-commerce platform.

Fred Plais: Exactly. When you take a look at what a development team on the web is, you’re going to have 3 to 4 people that are managing the servers. Out of 10, it’s four people. We basically automate everything around managing those services on the platform so they can refocus on building the right experience.

They can focus on the UI. They can focus on things that are relevant to the end users. They don’t need to manage all the pieces around infrastructure because we automate everything for them. We make it extremely simple with the right abstractions for them to handle those services.

Sramana Mitra: There are several layers of the stack that you’re providing that relieves the work on their side to build on top of those layers.

Fred Plais: That’s exactly right. What we really provide is all the dev ops. We help people deploy with one click. You can make sure that your tests are actually going to work when they go to production. We make it very safe to deploy. All this is faster time to market, more productivity for developers, and less things to do so they can refocus on what’s important.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s go back to the beginning. What year did you start this company?

Fred Plais: I started the company back in 2010. We made a pivot in 2015. The company was started as an e-commerce company. We split up the e-commerce and cloud part and focused on cloud.

Sramana Mitra: In 2010, you were a services company. You were setting up e-commerce websites for other people. Is that correct?

Fred Plais: In 2010, we were an open source company that was providing a framework for people to build e-commerce websites. That was in 2010. We were delivering a software called Drupal Commerce. In 2015, we launched the cloud business. It was immediately successful, so we decided to spin off the original company, which was the e-commerce business. On the other company, my former CTO took the lead. We refocused the existing business to only cloud.

Sramana Mitra: The period between 2010 and 2015 when you were doing the open source company, you had something on an open source platform. People were downloading and you were providing support, training, and maybe premium software on top of that.

Fred Plais: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: How big a business did you build doing that?

Fred Plais: It was pretty much €3 million. There was an existing business. We had 25 consultants. We had support and training. That’s when we decided to split.

Sramana Mitra: Was this based in Brittany?

Fred Plais: No, we were delivering most of the services from the US. Two of my partners were from the US. We had one foot in US and one foot in Europe. Today, more than 60% of the revenue comes from the US.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Scaling to $10M ARR with a Virtual Company: Fred Plais, CEO of
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