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Vevs.com - the market and the team

Thursday, 27th November

If you've read my previous blog post Vevs.com - Business Website Builder then I am sure you will be interested to read the answers to the remaining questions asked in the Forbes.com article 65 Questions Venture Capitalists Will Ask Startups




MARKET

What is the actual addressable market?

The strategy, the objectives and targets will depend largely on strategic partnerships. We have a strong base of knowledge and the skills to develop high quality software solutions for a number of vertical markets. This is what we do and what we are good at. However, at this time we are not able to organize marketing activities, sales efforts and the support needed in every language and territory. Something that works in a given region or country, will not necessarily work the same way in a different location. The approach, methods and solutions should be different in the different regions.

For exactly that reason, we plan to aim at English speaking markets only – USA, UK, Canada and Australia. Of course, any website created using the VEVS website builder can be translated to any language. Currently we are not able to provide technical support and carry out any marketing activities for the local non-English markets.

The first year we plan to offer solution for the following industries:

• Hospitality and accommodation – hotels and restaurants.

• Health and beauty, for example, beauty salons, spa centers and massage therapists, etc.

• Consultancy and industrial services.

Our plans for the second year include expanding services and expanding the number of vertical markets where we offer solutions.

The English speaking markets offer a huge opportunity. Currently, I do not believe any competitors can embrace all the vertical markets and offer a strong industry focused and to-the-point solution.

What percentage of the market do you plan to get, over what period of time?

As I mentioned, above our target markets offers enormous potential. There are more than a million small and medium size businesses in the hospitality industry. At the same time, over 80,000 active Google searches for such products and solutions. Therefore, if we aim at 1,000 new customers each year, for the second and the third year after launch, this would be around 1.25%-3% of the market (individuals and small businesses actively seeking for a new business website and business software solution).

Considering that the subscription payment method applies to the VEVS services, a thousand customers would generate over $300,000 per year in revenue, and we consider that a realistic goal for the first 3 years.


How did you arrive at the sales of your industry and its growth rate?

Google Search Volume data is gathered through the Keywords Planner tool of Google AdWords. The data is limited to searches coming from the target markets - USA, UK, Canada and Australia. It also represents a shortlisted search of the most common and broadly used keyword phrases, such as “hotel website design.” Certainly, defining a longer list of keywords that correspond to the kind of products and services that VEVS.com provides, will result in the search volume increasing. At the same time, it is likely that researchers execute several searches to find what they need.

We used data and annual statistic reports from acknowledged organizations. For example, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) provides public annual reports about lodging and the tourism industry. According to an AHLA report in 2013, there were 52,887 properties with 15 or more rooms and 29,264 properties with less than 75 rooms. According to the findings of the annual HAC Hotel Economic Impact Report, throughout all of Canada there are approximately 8,508 hotels, motels, inns and resorts.

Why does the company have high growth potential?

First, we have experience with startups. This gives us a real advantage in anticipating challenges and knowing how to best deal with them. My company began as a small freelance business with three people selling $20 software. Several years later, it had grown into an international business with over 25,000 clients around the globe.

Second, the market needs a solution. We have the solution, a better solution that meets the needs of customers more effectively than anything our competitors can offer. We know how to deliver the solution and target the right customers who have a real need for our services. There are huge opportunities in the market but demand can be brisk. We need to provide our solution while the need is still at a peak.

I firmly believe tens of thousands of small businesses will use our website builder within the next couple of years. The market has a problem and we have a great solution created by proven software developers. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is our product is affordable.

Therefore, you have demand (a need/problem), a high quality solution and a high quality solution offered at an affordable price. In addition, the solution just so happens to solve a problem that millions of people have. Economics 101, right?


FOUNDER & TEAM

Who are the founders and the key team members?

I started PHPjabbers.com 8 years ago and StivaSoft Ltd 5 years ago. All began as a small freelance business and in a matter of a few years grew it into an international company. What began with a couple of friends of mine selling $20 software quickly became a large global operation with more than 25,000 customers worldwide.

I had experience as a programmer and with Search Engine Optimization, which created a natural path to developing my own web software. Although, it was not easy, most of the business growth came from sheer determination and ambition, at that time there was no budget for marketing.

Today, StivaSoft is an established and innovative business that provides solutions to customers across the globe every day. The company culture centers on innovation, creativity and determination, the very same qualities that started the company years ago.

The company has a knack for providing customized solutions with “out of the box” thinking. Our #1 focus is to deliver a product that is exactly what the customer wants, a product that is unique, created based on that specific customer’s needs.

StivaSoft now offers a wide range of products from web design tools, to PHP scripts, to CMSs and even free resources that anyone can use. The Company is still growing and exploring new ideas, new products and delivering real innovation to the marketplace.

I consider every employee at StivaSoft a key member of the company. Every individual brings something new, a new perspective, fresh ideas and a different type of creativity, that is all their own. We rely on that to keep StivaSoft on the cutting-edge and constantly pushing the limits of what is possible. A large portion of the employees have been with StivaSoft from the beginning, and the company is only 5 years old, that should speak volumes about how we do business and our company culture.

I know that people are the #1 asset in any business, relationships and trust is key. I never sacrifice my core values for anything, which is one of the reasons people stay with StivaSoft. We have a full crew of highly experienced and dedicated web developers, web designers, SEO technicians, sales and marketing and professionals across the entire spectrum of business. We are unique and diverse!


What relevant domain experience does the team have?

Our team consists of a number of experts working at different levels, and combines extensive practical experience in web programming and implementing web software solutions in various industries such as the hospitality industry and rental services. All of our web developers have great experience in PHP, MySql, HTML, JavaScript and CSS, personally I never compromise with that.

We have many talented individuals that contribute; however, there are four individuals who have their thumb on the pulse of everything in the web development area for StivaSoft.

Alexandar Valkanov - 15+ years professional experience, friend of mine for 20+ years

Dimitar Ivanov - 11+ years professional experience, 5 years with StivaSoft

Kostadin Todorov - 12+ years professional experience, friend of mine for 20+ years

Plamen Ruskov - 11+ years professional experience, 5 years with StivaSoft



You hear the term “guru” a lot in the online world and it usually refers to someone that pretends to know what they are talking about, but really just have a cute marketing campaign. The names I just mentioned are the real deal “gurus” when it comes to web development. Their dedication and creativity is amazing.

What key additions to the team are needed in the short term?

To start, we will need additions to the sales and marketing team. Until now, we have been primarily in the Business-to- Business (B2B) sector, which keeps the scope of sales and marketing efforts much more narrow. This product will be marketed to the end user (B2C), so the sales and marketing efforts will need to be on a much wider scale.

Every start up requires hard work and you cannot see everything in advance. Some of the needs will depend on what our strategic partner can bring to the table. If the growth happens as fast as we think it will, we may need to fill gaps in all areas to keep up with demand. It is something you have to look at every day and coordinate with your partners to ensure everyone is getting the support required.

Why is the team uniquely capable to execute the company’s business plan?

Simply put, we have the knowledge, experience and the right expertise. The model is based on added-value products- we create value. We already have the right software solutions done and our experts are proven specialists in building web based booking engines, appointment scheduling software solutions, rental software and more. There a number of website using our products right now – we are just expanding our business model from only B2B to both B2B and B2C.

How many employees do you have?

Our team consists of high performing and experienced professionals who specialize in the delivery high-end web based software solutions. Currently the team consists of 23 people including highly skilled and experienced professionals ranging from web developers, programmers, designers, managers, marketing specialists. We plan to reorganize and make changes to the team to optimize the work and productivity.

What motivates the founders?

Recently, I have taken on more of a management role and trying to teach others what I know and how I see things, and then let them take things over and run with it. I enjoy it but I also really enjoy the creative part of new markets, new products and new challenges.

It is an amazing feeling when you bring a product to the market that you know people need, but they did not they needed until you showed them. There is nothing quite like it, at least for me. Additionally, one of the great things about being in this business is meeting fascinating people from all over the world.

You never quite know how they will affect your life, but many of them do in fabulous ways. Creating bonds with people and forming solid partnerships is a fantastic process and something I have always enjoyed as well.

Our business is growing and we intend to keep it growing and see where it goes. Many of our clients are getting larger and we need to develop new products and keep up with the demand of our existing clients as well. Growing and taking on new challenges is healthy across the board and has positive effects that are hard to measure.

I am always open to anyone that is experienced has great ideas. If you are looking for a great partner and you have great idea, I am ready to listen!

How do you plan to scale the team in the next 12 months?

More than 30% of our team is currently involved in this project and we have two sub-teams working on the project - Business planning and Technical Development. That’s a total of 8 people working on the Vevs.com website builder. We expect that with first launch of the system we will need at least 2 full time working CSS/HTML coders who will expand the portfolio of website templates that we offer with our builder and at least 2 more support staff members.


....In next couple of weeks my team will make a video demonstration for Vevs.com website builder and I will post it here.

Visit Vevs.com and sign up to stay tuned.