Josh Breeds started a Web hosting company at the age of 10, picking up business lessons from his entrepreneurial father. Now, at the ripe old-age of 22, Breeds is back in the saddle. While studying biochemistry at the University of Washington (where he’s currently working to finish his degree), Breeds formed ServedBy the Net.
The Seattle company is providing many of the building blocks that businesses use for cloud infrastructure efforts, such as virtual storage and server backup. We caught up with Breeds to find out more in our latest installment of Startup Spotlight.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We provide virtualized hosted infrastructure (from servers to phone systems), on demand, in a utility based model (like electricity).”
Inspiration hit when: “I had a position where I designed solutions for small to medium businesses at a Managed Services Provider. With a background in both Internet hosting and IT management, I suddenly realized how powerful a simple and reliable infrastructure solution could be. It was an opportunity to provide the market with the enterprise systems they so crucially needed without the capital expense that many can’t even begin to afford.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap. My interest was to provide the best product possible to those who needed it most; allowing corners to be cut while designing and implementing the system simply wasn’t an option. My interest was to provide a premium product with more flexibility and reliability than your normal Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider. As a previous business owner I knew the possibility of an investor’s drive for a quicker profit would detriment our core intentions.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “To keep it simple: coffee and dry-erase boards. In this industry there could be a thousand ways to “plug in a light bulb.” I’d like to say that, with the help of many colleagues, I’ve at least contemplated the benefits and risks of many options in any decision I’ve made.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “The decision to build our product from the ground up. In the beginning I decided that starting from scratch was the only way to go. Making this decision and adhering to it allowed for us to build a system designed to avoid silent mistakes made by larger companies in the past.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “The amount of time we waited to provide publicly available information. It doesn’t matter what you can explain to a client or spread through word of mouth: without a simple public message and readily available information, it’s very hard to lock-in new clients. It’s an area where we can only continue to grow.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Without a doubt I would rather have Zuckerberg in my corner. I can’t say that I’m not inspired by the power of one person to create a simple program capable of reaching such an expansive audience. The unprecedented pace by which Facebook began and continues to this day is something that has very few competitors with regards to recent technology.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “Don’t tell anyone, but, we’re already well on our way.”
Rivals should fear us because: “With the flexibility of a small business and services backed by many industry leaders; we have found the symbiosis between interoperability, cost, and functionality.”
We are truly unique because: “We have many unique factors that differentiate us from most companies in this space: most notably our company size. I personally believe the most powerful differentiator that will continue indefinitely is the thorough testing and research of every possible solution that our clients are able to run within our environment.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Going live with our initial environment. It required a great deal of input and planning to create a solution both stable and secure while cost-effective and agile. Strict adherence to procedures was essential to our business continuity success.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Think long and hard about how much you will enjoy what you plan to do. For me it came down to a decision between work and sleep. For those who know me well: that wasn’t a hard decision to make.”