Interview With Boris Sokolov and Peter Ivanov
Describe your product or service:
“Microweber is a new generation website builder and drag-and-drop CMS.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Make any kind of website without the need of coding.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“We are a self-funded company.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“A time ago, we had a business as a web design company. The current solutions were too hard for our clients, and we decided to develop our own content management system and provide it to our customers. When we see that the solution we made is [a] perfect fit to our clients, we decided to focus our efforts on it, and we release it as an open source web-based platform for building websites.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“This is a funny story, actually — we used a name generator for it, and we found ‘Microweber,’ and we decided to continue with it as our brand name.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes, one of our ideas was to become real entrepreneurs and build our own company and software which we can offer to the people and businesses around the world.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“As [with] each startup company, we have problems with finding resources to expand the team and focus only on the product development. Also, [finding] the right team is a very sensitive task, which is very important and the company's success depends on it. The biggest challenge was to find a way to support the current clients and have time to expand the functionality of the system.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Our market groups are end clients, freelancers, web design and marketing agencies, and hosting Companies. Because Microweber is open source software, we have close relationships with all those groups of business and people.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“We planned to start advertising our new website Microweber.com as software-as-a-service and to invest our profit in different marketing channels. In the days we live, social networks are very important, and we plan to focus on using them to generate traffic.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“We have more than 100,000 installations around the world, but [these are] not paid customers. For sure, we have more than 100 customers, and when we release the new website, we plan to start with real marketing to increase the number of clients.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Honestly, we are [trying] to listen to the feedback of our customers and community. There is an active community in GitHub and also in our support center where we are caring for the need of our users.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘The Year Without Pants’ describing the story of WordPress by Scott Berkun.”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
“It depends on the current task we follow during the workflow, but mostly we prefer to listen to chillout music as a background.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“We are using frameworks to follow the standards in Internet development. A few of them are Laravel and Bootstrap.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“The freedom to make something like you imagine it, this gives you great energy and focus. The possibility to be part of a team you lead it and the passion they have [for] this product is also something that you can't get from doing any other job.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“We are working as a team; this means that there is a time for work and time for personal lives. When we are in the office, we are focused on the current tasks, and when the working day is finished, we are focused [on] family and friends and use the time to rest as normal guys.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“Be focused on what you are doing. If you are not feeling 100%, then rest and come back later and get the job done.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“One of the things that I understand is, no matter how many things you start, it only matters how many you finish. So when you start doing something, make it to the end, then you can continue with a new one.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“My first job was as a web designer, and [it taught] me to be careful to detail.”
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