Check out our recent interview with Chris Stoll, CTO and Co-founder at Bloomfilter.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming an entrepreneur?
My journey to becoming an entrepreneur started many years ago in public high school when an Econ teacher had us do a project that required us selling a product and a math teacher got a grant to start a super computer lab. It has traced its way through trying to start an underground dance club, war experiences, grad school, and software consulting
What inspired you to start your current company, and what problem does it solve?
At Bloomfilter we are fixing software development by enabling transparent communication about what is actually happening in the process to the rest of the business. We are starting by providing targeted information to business leaders whose actions can have a huge impact on the software team’s success. I worked in organizations where politics made the flow of information very difficult; I worked at a startup where a product team which felt inadequate next to the engineering team controlled the narrative that the executive team heard, to the detriment of the company. After that I consulted with companies who suffered from related issues
How did you identify your target audience or customer base? What steps did you take to validate your product or service with them?
I saw the need for Bloomfilter first hand from the bottom of a software organization, and I saw the need from the outside looking in at many places where I consulted. When you ask anyone who works at a leadership level in a software organization they will viscerally understand the problem of limited insight and communication from the front lines of the software teams
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in launching your company, and how did you overcome them?
Though anyone remotely close to the problem knows about it, few think it is a solvable problem. The ones that do think it is solvable think that happens by focusing on individual contributors rather than at the systems level. So, getting funding and initial customers was a real struggle. We overcame that by putting more time towards fixing how our product messages, and how we message as a company. We have worked to establish credibility and give people hope that these problems are solvable, and they must be solved since software is integral to literally everything in modern society
How does your company differentiate itself from others in the same industry?
We are taking a different approach from our competition. Instead of looking at individual developers we are looking at the system. Instead of simply bundling up tired rules of thumb we are exploring new techniques that rely upon statistics and big data. And, we are patenting our novel strategies
Can you walk us through your company’s growth trajectory, and how you have been able to scale the business?
For a company like ours, early growth is slow and methodical. We had to grow our product for every early customer, to account for the many ways in which they can configure their software development systems. We are currently making plans to emerge from beta, where we feel comfortable that customers in our ICP will be able to easily onboard and use our product. We expect to scale from our early adopter program to 30 enterprise customers by the end of the year
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own company?
Do the pre-work, build the models, and prove out the concepts before jumping in the deep end. That’s not to dissuade entrepreneurs, but to encourage them to get some of the rough edges and inconsistencies worked out early. Then, prepare for a journey, a journey that will not always go your way. Find a cofounder that can balance out your lows, because there will be moments you want to quit. Don’t quit