Fedr8 chief executive, Dean Chapman, founded the startup in February 2012, with the goal of creating a business that helps companies adopt cloud computing strategies and services.
The startup uses its software to break down the challenges a company faces in its cloud migration into easy-to-manage chunks.
By working with enterprises, cloud service providers and system integrators, Fedr8 helps businesses fast track their applications into the most suitable cloud platform, and ensure the their cloud strategy is optimised.
Based in Farnborough's Cody Technology Park, Fedr8 has grown to 10 people, seven in the UK and three in the US, and has won multiple awards.
V3 put Chapman under the spotlight to hear more about Fedr8.
Why did you choose to set up Fedr8?
Fedr8 initially started life as a professional services company, helping firms define their cloud adoption strategy and then helping architect and migrate their applications to the cloud.
During this time, we developed a suite of tools to help us execute faster, and with less risk for our clients. In 2013, we decided to industrialise and productise these tools, and in January 2015, the Fedr8 Application Modernization Suite (AMS) went on general release.
How did you get your business off the ground?
For a few years before I finally made the leap, I had been planning the Fedr8 business, so when I finally started in February 2012, I had a reasonably clear plan for the business.
Initially the business was funded through my own personal savings and I was lucky enough to immediately gain some consulting customers.
Unfortunately, it became clear quite quickly that the initial strategy to become a cloud service broker and develop associated IP was not going to be viable and I decided to focus on professional service delivery.
What technology do you use?
We really do "eat our own dog food" and use technology very heavily across all areas of the business. As you would expect, all employees have smartphones and all applications we use are cloud-based applications, including email, accounting, expenses, as well as software development tools.
We are technology agnostic and will select best-of-breed technologies that best suit the needs of our business, so you will see a mix of products in the office including Microsoft, Apple, Google and even a healthy dose of Linux - for the developers of course!
You will often find team members on a hangout or presenting to customers via GoToMeeting and our use of technology really allows us the opportunity to offer a flexible working environment for our people.
From the perspective of our software product, it is developed in Ruby and we have recently undertaken a re-platforming exercise to move to a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) from an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform, which delivers significant commercial and operational benefits for the business, as well as providing our clients with a better experience.
What level of funding have you received so far?
Less than $1m.
What challenges have you encountered to date?
As with most young businesses, one of our biggest challenges has been managing cash flow. This was particularly important as we pivoted the business from a services business to a product business.
Coffee shop of choice?
Beverage of choice?
I'm too old to go to bars anymore.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
We do invest in formal networking, however due to the nature of our target market being larger enterprise organisations, it is not normally within the startup community.
More informally, I have a number of friends who are involved in startups and similar-sized companies and make time to share experiences and help each other.
Can the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
Yes, I believe so, and whilst I recognise that there are a number of schemes available to support UK startups today, I think this is an area where any future government has an opportunity to make a real difference.
The traditional working environment has changed forever and I believe future generations will need to be more entrepreneurial with less and less "jobs for life" available.
I have looked at a number of schemes to gain financial support to help accelerate the growth of Fedr8 and often find private facilities, such as those provided by banks, push all risk onto the business owner personally.
And government-backed schemes are highly complex with a significant time investment requirement to understand the rules and complete the forms, with a very low probability of receiving support.
For me, there are much simpler and more valuable options available such as tax holidays for the first few years of a business so money can be reinvested into the company.
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