The BizSpark startup of the day is Cerebiz, based in Australia. You will find below an interview with Jayantha Ekenayake, CEO and a co-founder of Cerebiz. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Jayantha Ekenayake, CEO and a co-founder of Cerebiz
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder (the other is Peter Vroom) of Cerebiz on-demand. My focus is on Business development, Product Strategy and development and Operations.
What did you do before creating your company?
I am working at Kandysoft Global as President where we specialize in designing and developing Cloud and Mobile applications.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
I’m very pleased and excited to be a part of such a select group. I think the timing is very good for Cerebiz in that the product is one hundred percent Microsoft technology based and ready for the Cloud.
What is your company’s mission?
Our mission is to bring enterprise grade Business Intelligence and collaboration tools that are easy to use by Small to Medium Enterprises end users and are available at affordable cost. Microsoft has provided a very good stack of technologies that we build upon, but we are determined to hide the complexities and technology from the end user and deliver a solution that can be used effectively without any technical training.
How did you get the idea for your company?
It all started with a conversation I had with well-known Australian IT industry figure Peter Kazacos in which Peter said, ‘if someone can come up with a low cost simple to use BI in the Cloud it would really suit the SME market’. And so the idea for Cerebiz was born. By drawing on the background of its founders in the Business Intelligence (BI) Industry with products such as ProClarity, Microsoft Performance Point and their own Business Intelligence application the company was able to quickly identify the need for a strong, but easy to use BI offering to support the many MYOB users in Australia. The result is Cerebiz-on-Demand, which is built on Microsoft Windows Server environment, using SharePoint, SQL Server, .Net 3.5 and Silverlight technologies to provide customers a quick, powerful, low cost and easy to use solution. Cerebiz-on-Demand empowers SME companies to gain low cost subscription based access to Business Intelligence & Collaboration tools via the Cloud.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
The seed money for Cerebiz has been contributed by the founders. This has provided the proof of concept with a complete working system for the MYOB customer base, proven with trial customers, as well as providing the methodology to work with other SME business systems to expand our market reach. For our initial market push we are currently open to an investment of up to $1mill.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have 8 technical / support staff and 2 in marketing, sales and business management
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?
As part of the market push we’re particularly looking for inside sales people and sales support people.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
Our whole application infrastructure is on Microsoft technologies and Dot net Framework. The reason is to bring the product to market quickly and follow-up with new functionality with speed to market. Combining Silverlight, Dot net , SQL, and SharePoint we believe brings better user experience at a reasonable cost to the user.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?
We believe our Cloud and browser based applications that require no training on the part of SMEs customers and which are made available on an affordable subscription basis is our biggest and best opportunity ahead.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
The Bizspark program connected us up with other start up companies in the Bizspark DB. Other immediate benefits of Bizspark have been the access to MS software and tools, and a consequent subsidizing of development costs.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Get the product into customers hands for their feedback as quickly as possible and have paying customers as soon as possible.
Who’s your role model?
Ray Ozzie the New Chief Architect at the helm of Microsoft. I came across Ray when he was at Lotus and at that time even Bill Gates said “Ray Ozzie is the best windows Programmer”. The product he created at Lotus (Lotus Notes) was very much ahead of the time. Currently Microsoft technologies have provided so much better and superior technologies to Notes. i.e. dot Net, SQL, Windows server, SharePoint and Silverlight. In fact I see the latest SharePoint version as “Lotus Notes on Steroids”.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
The most important message I want to give readers is to absorb all advice you can get but follow your instinct. It’s your baby, do what it takes to get where you want to go.