Marcus Zethraeus - Oncloudify
Marcus Zethraeus - Oncloudify
Describe yourself and your project. How did you get the idea?
About one year I noticed that every student organization in Lund handles its members on Google Drive. However, the cloud platform has its limitations: why can’t you communicate with these people directly from the data source?
Oncloudify is an extension to Google Drive that enables businesses and organizations to communicate from the cloud. The first product to roll out is an Add-On, which allows users to send SMS messages to their contacts stored in Google Drive.
Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.
Throughout my life I have been driven by a curiosity of exploring new opportunities, especially business-related opportunities. As a kid I started of selling golf balls and cold sodas during summertime. Once I learnt some basic programming I started developing smartphone apps, until I ran across the Oncloudify idea. Concurrently with Oncloudify am pursuing a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Management at LTH.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
I have great ambitions with Oncloudify and want to take the project to the next level. I believe that the key to succeed is to leave the comfort zone and start selling the product. Since the Oncloudify Add-On is technically ready for the market, there is no need for feature refinements and consequently additional delays. My focus during these three months will be on marketing, establishing new customer relationships and improving the business model.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
Thanks to Leapfrogs, I can devote all my summer to working with Oncloudify. During this time my primary goal is to break even and create a recurring revenue stream. Continuously during the summer I will collect feedback, which will be used to develop customer driven improvements of the business.
Marcus Zethraeus - Oncloudify #2
Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.
It has definitely been an eventful start of the summer for Cloudcom (yes, we have changed name of the company). Since the last blog post we have incorporated Cloudcom as a limited liability company, managed to launch the add-on worldwide and received our first customers. We have worked hard to understand the existing users of the service and acquire new users through different marketing channels. The user base has passed 700 and the feedback has been very positive.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
Prior to the rebranding from Oncloudify to Cloudcom I was actually a bit nervous for the transition. Luckily, both the technical and graphical changes worked out extremely smoothly according to our plan.
A more challenging transition was between the development and marketing stage for the add-on. Marketing in practice with limited resources has been a lot harder than we had anticipated. A lesson learned is to begin earlier with a marketing strategy, even before the product is launched.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
We have realised that most people are on vacation in July. Therefore we will use this time to produce an animated product movie. It will help new users to understand the product and increase the trustworthiness of the company.
Cloudcom will continue operating after the summer has ended, and consequently we need to establish a strategy for user acquisition, product development and routines for accounting. These are challenges we need to resolve, since Carl and I will be working with Cloudcom in different countries this fall.
Marcus Zethraeus - Oncloudify #3
How did you experience the three months?
Time flies when you are having fun! I have obviously had a lot of fun when working with Cloudcom, because I can’t believe this summer is already coming to an end. I am surprised of how far we have managed to take Cloudcom in just three months. Today, we are growing steadily and have acquired customers from every continent (apart from Asia), which I am very proud of!
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
When running a startup company you have to be able solve a lot of different problems, ranging from sales & marketing to coding & designing. The hardest part about this is to switch between activities, with the knowledge that you have limited time. You have to be a generalist rather than a specialist to quickly handle these various problems. The most enjoyable moment as an entrepreneur is when you receive a paying customer. That is the best confirmation of your product’s viability.
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
I must say that Cloudcom has achieved beyond my expectations. We have created a unique and attractive offering at a new market. The product is packaged well and fully functional.
Next week I am moving to California, primarily to study, but Cloudcom will come along and continue to operate. We have established enough routines during the summer and brought Cloudcom to a level that makes it possible for us to sustain the company from different locations.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
At this time it is hard to pinpoint exactly which lesson has been most valuable for me. In the future it will probably come clear when I look back to the summer of 2015. I have developed a broad and flexible skillset suitable for many different job positions, not the least as an entrepreneur. I have also learnt new things about myself. Now I better know how to personally motivate, plan and execute different tasks and challenges.
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
- Figure out what are the most necessary tasks for your startup to quickly get started. Then figure out at what point and in which order they should be done. These steps are iterative, since conditions changes all the time. Remember, your time is the most valuable and limited resource!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for meetings! I realised that busy people actually feel honoured and take the time to share their story. During the summer we had meetings with a couple of CEOs and CTOs.
- Write down all agreements with your co-founders. It is fundamental for both your friendship and the company to stay healthy.
- It’s not the idea that needs to be great, it’s the execution that should be excellent. Just get started! The idea will: improve, change radically or a new one will appear, once you start working!