Sramana Mitra: In 2015, you decided to create this cloud stack. Then you started getting traction with other customers like Magento. How did you get to that? What gave you the idea of building that stack?
Fred Plais: We were involved in several e-commerce projects where things were failing because of DevOps. It was always that the infrastructure was not there. Developers were doing great. We thought there was an opportunity here. We tried to think of what would be the product that we would want to use in the infrastructure.
The one thing that we’ve done is make staging environments that are exactly the same as the production website. We worked for three years on building something that creates clones of existing applications very fast. That’s the unique capability of our platform. In 30 seconds, we make a clone, which is exactly the same as production with a URL. You can clone it as many times as you need.
For every single feature, you’re going to have this staging environment. You’re going to be able to go on it and see what it looks like along with the changes you’ve made on it. Looking at that, you know that what you’ve developed is working well or not with just a click of a button. It’s very repeatable. You can do that five times a day. We make deployment extremely simple.
Sramana Mitra: How did you validate it? What process did you go through?
Fred Plais: That was an out-of-the-box idea. It was not the traditional lean startup thing where you start small and iterate. We started with an idea that we wanted to deliver. It was hard to do. It required a lot of time, so it was risky. We still did it. Then we started building the product around that innovation. That’s when we started working and talking to customers regularly and getting our partners involved. The initial idea came as a hard conviction that this could thoroughly change the way people work.
Sramana Mitra: How did you get your first customer?
Fred Plais: It was a customer using Drupal Commerce. We already had a business. The product was built for Drupal Commerce. People that were using Drupal Commerce are trusting us because we have a relationship with them. We quickly started working with agencies that understood the rationale of the product. It’s quite easy to convince people when you’re getting them to save a lot of time and money. That’s how it started. Four years later, we got 650 enterprise customers on the platform. Thousands and thousands of developers are creating clones every day.
Sramana Mitra: You finished developing this product and you went to an existing customer who’s already using Drupal Commerce and you sold the product to them. How many customers did you get from your existing install base for Drupal Commerce?
Fred Plais: I’m thinking enterprise customers. We probably had around 15 or 20.