During his 18-year tenure at Infosys, Pradeep Prabhu pioneered the IT company’s cloud business. Along with colleague Prasanna Raghavendra, the engineers saw a need for a developer-facing platform that could still work with common plugins and integrations.
They decided to take the startup leap and in 2011 launched CloudMunch, a software deployment platform for developers.
“CloudMunch was created to be an open-source plug-and-play DevOps platform that enables orchestration with all of the popular DevOps tools—Chef, Jenkins, Jira, etc.,” said Prabhu. “The platfrom currently has over 250-plus plugins and integrations.”
Prabhu believes CloudMunch’s products can improve deployment volume by 60 percent and enable teams to better scale their software processes. The platform, he says, enables “better software delivery at the intersection of cloud, DevOps and agile development.” CloudMunch customers include Adobe, Honeywell, Panasonic, and others.
We caught up with Prabhu for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “CloudMunch enables teams to deliver software faster to meet today’s rapidly changing business needs.”
Inspiration hit us when: “When I read the article, ‘Why Software is Eating the World’ by Marc Andreessen, in August 2011 in the Wall Street Journal. I wanted to do a startup and was exploring many different ideas. In the article, Mark shared his thoughts on how the world was being transformed by software:
‘We are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy. More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services — from movies to agriculture to national defense. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software.’
Fast forward to 2015 and what he predicted is coming true. Every business is now becoming a software-driven business — the next battleground for every business is software.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We took angel funding on Day 1 and the founders invested as well. We went for angel funding as the angel was a serial entrepreneur with a great track record. In 2014, we received a strategic investment from a large technology global leader.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our platform architecture. As a platform (not a tool), CloudMunch can plug-and-play with any tool (legacy or new) and provide insights and orchestrate all parts of the application lifecycle. We get data from all the tools, provide insights and visibility, and enable data-driven software delivery.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Focusing on the enterprise segment. We started with focusing on SMB, but as we saw demand from enterprises, we pivoted and today we count Adobe, Honeywell, Panasonic, as our customers and they have helped shape our platform.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Offering a freemium software model without understanding how to do it. Before you place your bets on a freemium model, understand what you are getting into. If the product you are building is geared for that, know how to convert freemium customers into paying customers.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos. Bezos sees the future and is innovating across industries and he dreams big. With AWS, he has changed the IT industry.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “Getting out of the office, taking a walk to get coffee, two-to-three times a day. This is a nice way to stretch, get some fresh air, talk, and bond. We also do team lunches and we try to do that outdoors if possible.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Passion. You need to have a passion to create, to try something extraordinary, to learn something new. Without passion, startups are not going to be fun.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Get a real feel for customer pain and find out what the market really needs — not what you think the market needs. By doing this, you’ll be able to get your product-customer fit early on and get market traction.”