Our founder and CEO is Nir Simionovich. He has worked for 20 years in the open source and VoIP communities. Ever since he discovered the world of Open Source communications, he’s been excited by the possibilities it opens. With Cloudonix, I’m taking that same passion and excitement and taking it 10 steps forward, into the realm of communications infrastructure. Taking complex, expensive and archaic communications concepts and turning these into cloud based, software defined solutions. Cloudonix is where communications technology is turned into a commodity.
With his experience on all sides of the customer journey, he brings an insight into the customers pain points and architecture that enables him to point out potential solutions – even when they are unrelated to the Cloudonix technology.
When was Cloudonix started? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
Cloudonix was originally bootstrapped, meaning that we were doing consulting jobs while building the core solution that would become the platform we are now selling. This meant that each feature was validated by multiple customers requiring all or part of it in their solutions, also this meant that platform was designed to bring the advantages of API based communications to the market at a more flexible and economical model than the existing solutions.
After the core was released, new requirements and features were added based on a combination of our noticing holes in the existing market offerings and requests from start-ups that were looking to use our solution. But keeping close to the start-up community we are better able to keep the roadmap rolling with new ideas.
What are your company’s values? What is Cloudonix operating philosophy?
Our vision is to make in-platform communications accessible to all – simpler, faster, and more affordable than ever.
What sets us apart is that we work with the customer to understand their needs and to help them get the best solution for their needs, where others in our space try for a “one size fits all” solution. This gives us more direct contact with the customer and can see their needs which can help us define the solution and our roadmap.
What factors influenced or motivated you to start this venture?
Funny you should ask that, our original solution came after the 3rd customer asked for almost the same pain points with similar requirements. This led us to investigate and to see there was a much larger need than we had realized.
What are the biggest challenges you faced in the initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
The biggest challenge is to not grow as fast as you think you can afford. Make sure that you have at least 6 months of salary in the bank (and leave it alone) for each job before you hire. Otherwise, you can hire and let go faster as the monthly revenue (MRR) can fluctuate in ways that will make it hard for the CEO to sleep. Also, the most important part is to be sure of your product market fit, make sure that you are really solving a serious pain point rather than just adding a nice feature.
But the biggest problem is identifying who you will be selling to and why are they buying. Originally, we thought that a tech solution should go to the CTO/CIO. But they saw us as an expense, and thought they could do it themselves. But when we moved to selling to sales and operations, the response and time to close improved immensely. This means you really need to know who to approach, and then to find out who else is part of the decision process. As they may love the product but have no authority to sign for it.
What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?
Our founders already had a reputation for solving unusual problems and being very direct. If we can’t help, we don’t pretend we can. If there is another option that will do be better, we tell them. This has helped maintain a reputation of both being helpful and honest that has led to many referrals.
What’s so different about Cloudonix and why opt for it?
The combination of the flexibility of our platform, a flat-rate pricing model, and our reputation for helping act as strong differentiators that bring and keep the customers on our platform.
How is Cloudonix helping users by providing an end-to-end service.
Cloudonix does not pretend to have every piece of the equation, that would neither be economical nor realistic. So, we partnered with other companies to provide things like phone numbers, outsourced call center services, and natural language processing. These are tested and approved to work with our service, allowing us to concentrate on what we do best. In most cases, we will introduce the customer and the partner and let them form their own financial relationship rather than act as a middleman that adds a percentage on top.
What gets you most excited about Cloudonix future? What is the long-term strategy for Cloudonix?
This past 18 months (of the pandemic) have led us to adjust our solution and sales model in ways that are really resonating with the market. This growth in terms of customers, partners, and features will have long term influence in our planning as we have mapped out new services that we are developing.
About adaptability, how do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this highly volatile market?
When Covid-19 hit we realized that our ability to bring sales calls into the call center when the customer is hot to buy was less useful when the call centers were working at about 20% staff. So, after a discussion with a partner, we flipped the solution over and started to enable those same call centers to securely connect their work from home staff into the office phone systems. This flexibility helped a number of companies to recover faster. In some cases, going from 20% of call center staff working to over 85% working. This reduced wait times, and improved their end user experience.
What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your business?
Our management team is not only built up of 3 long term friends, but they bring partly overlapping skills to the equation. Oded is a great designer and programmer, but does no sales. Nir is a frontend developer who is great in understanding the customer’s needs. Eric is a reformed developer who is good at finding leads and the operations side. These overlaps enable the team to cross cover as needed, while better enabling discussions of needs.
What are your messages for budding entrepreneurs/young generation?
Look for a serious problem and how to solve it, then find out who it affects and how badly. This part of what is known as Design Thinking, and it should be built into everything your company does. Who is the prospect and what features do they need? Who is the buyer and what pain do they suffer from? Who is customer and what support do they need? Keep looking at it from the point of view that you are dealing with a person at a company, and not some soulless company, and it will improve your product and sales.