Today, we are going to present you Petar Tahchiev - the founder of Nemesis Software - and to share the story of how Nemesis platform was born, what it took to build a world-class team of solution architects and what the future lies for the Nemesis team.
Petar, tell us more about your yourself and your background. And let?s make it more challenging - what if you were to use 3 words only?
I was mathematics enthusiast since high school and ended up in Sofia University Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics. Problem-solving has always been my temptation and Mathematics was my tool. After finishing high school, I took up several jobs in Bulgaria as a software developer, but open-source software was what inspired me most. I set up my own company and we started implementing e-commerce projects on enterprise platforms. I was chief architect for implementations of online stores for clients like Microsoft, Samsung, Triumph and others.
On a personal level, I do my best to spend quality time with my family and friends. I create music and also have my own SoundCloud channel :) I love going to the gym and enjoy playing football. If I had to use only three words, that would be hard-working, dedicated and human. Sounds cool, right?
What was the reason you started Nemesis?
I spent more than 9 years consulting different e-commerce clients and implementing SAP Hybris platform for customers like Samsung, Bridgestone, the National Lottery of Britain, etc. After working many years in an industry, you start seeing certain patterns and opportunities and that?s exactly what happened with me. I saw a market niche that no one has served back then. And at the same time I was a very active contributor for the open-source community - submitting code, speaking at conferences, writing books, etc.
People say you should start a business with the things you know best and for me - being a software developer with e-commerce experience - this was a perfect match. And I just told myself ?It?s now or never?. I had all the pieces of the puzzle in my head and If I didn?t give it a try, one day I would regret it. So the journey began...
What were the main challenges you faced when working for all those big e-commerce guys around the world?
The challenges were always the same and that?s why I thought there must be a better way. One of the key challenges was the lack of people. Every time I start a project, I?m the only one who knows the SAP Hybris platform. It?s really hard to find good people, because Hybris is a proprietary software and you need to be certified in order to use it. What?s more - this is a software written some 20 years ago and good developers don?t like old or proprietary technology. That?s why I decided to build Nemesis on top of open-source technologies that every Java developer knows. We use JSR standards and if you don?t like one implementation of the standard you just switch to another one. That flexibility makes the onboarding of new developers much more easier and the whole development process way more pleasant.
The other key challenge was that many enterprise e-commerce platforms did not work on the cloud. I felt as we are screwing up the client really badly. They are paying a lot of money for license and hosting and at the end of the day they receive software that is not horizontally scalable and you cannot deploy it on any cloud. Which ultimately leads to very poor performance and customer dissatisfaction. It just wasn?t right.
Do you think open technologies are a good solution for enterprise applications?
Yes, of course. There are open-source projects which are so well documented that they are far ahead of any closed-source enterprise project and they offer tremendous support. For example, the Spring framework team ? you write them an issue on the chat, or you raise a ticket, or you just ask a Stack Overflow question and 2 hours later you have the answer or you receive feedback from them. This is amazing! I have never seen anything like that in a proprietary project.
On the other hand, you know, when people hear open source and free, they think of somebody who is doing something as their hobby. Yes, it could be the case. Though, behind some of the big open-source projects like Spring, JBoss Drools or Hibernate, for instance, there are people who are being paid for that work. And very often those are some of the best developers you can meet out there. Pivotal is paying a lot of money to the Spring developers, Red Hat is paying a lot of money to the Hibernate and JBoss Drools developers. And these are technologies that we rely on in Nemesis.
Actually there is a huge trend nowadays of big corporations using open-source technologies on their business. There was a big mindset shift in the last decade and the big guys are already judging a product for its real value and have left their prejudices aside.
Would you quickly summarize what are the key advantages of the Nemesis platform and what makes it different?
On the technical side: Nemesis is a cloud-native application and you can deploy it on any cloud you want. You can choose from private, public or hybrid cloud as well as on premise deployment, based on your business needs. It is really an open platform, because we expose every API via REST. It?s not only the database layer or the CRUD operations but also the application?s logic is exposed via REST. This allows you to connect to IoT devices, build mobile applications, integrate with any external CMS, ERP, warehouse software or other business solution. Nemesis platform uses proven and popular technologies which make it easy to be developed and supported by any experienced Java developer you can easily hire.
On the business side: Developing your e-commerce project on our platform saves you tons of time and money by bringing the total cost of ownership of such platform way down. Our promise is that with Nemesis you get a future proof solution. No one knows how the future will look like in 5 years?, but what we can promise you is that using our platform will set you in the right position to painlessly face and adapt to those changes technologically. We give you the total flexibility to integrate with any external software or device, to use the full benefits of the cloud and at the same time have an architecturally modular system that you can extend and modify, based on your needs.
How do you offer Nemesis on the market? Which are your top markets?
We have chosen a business model where we work with partner companies that make the contact with the end client and implement the Nemesis platform for them. If a lead comes to us, we always tell them to contact one of our partners in their region and we will work on this opportunity together. We believe success is good when it?s shared. We work really hard with our partners and help them with the whole pre-sales process - from meetings and demo to final contract we fight for the client together. That?s why we have focused all our efforts on expanding our network of partner companies. This year we are exploring the European market - primarily Benelux, Central Europe and the Nordics. We see a lot of potential in the rising markets in Asia and we will be looking for ways to expand there may be next year.
Tell me more about your ideal partner? It seems this is a key element for your business?
Yes, it is! We are looking for integration partners all over the world that have a Java division and use the same technology stack as we do. This will help them see the platform benefits right away and help them take the maximum out of this opportunity. They need to have e-commerce experience in order to understand the client needs and deliver actual value in the process. We start developing our partner network in Europe and then we are going to concentrate in US, Asia and Pacific. That?s pretty much it. We believe creating a vibrant community of partners based on trust and professionalism gives us a strong backbone.
And what about the clients? Who do you target and why?
From what we?ve seen so far, the companies that get the most value are fast growing mid-size businesses. Usually, they have a lot of traffic and a lot of products, and they just need a scalable solution to expand to new markets or segments. Often they have been previously running on Magento or some other open source PHP platform, but currently it doesn?t meet their requirements or future growth plans. They?ve outgrown those platforms and want to make the next step, but they are still not ready to pay millions of dollars for the solutions of the big guys like SAP, Oracle or IBM offer. They need a step in between and that?s where we come in.
From a business point of view, we work with companies in any industry? from telcos through retail to manufacturing. What unites them is not the industry, but the desire to undertake that digital transformation and take their business on the next level.
What is next in the product roadmap? There are some pretty exciting technologies out there currently like VR, AI, IoT, etc?
Our roadmap is mainly driven by two things - the technologies we use and the feedback we get from clients. Our version life cycle is tightly linked to the one of our core open-source technologies, so we really keep everything up-to-date. We are currently experimenting with reactive APIs, we have done a major refactoring of the commerce module and also look for ways to improve the marketing automation module. At the same time we keep our finger on the pulse of the market and closely follow the development of any new technology and how it can be applied to the e-commerce landscape. New things are cooking, but I?d like to keep them as a surprise.
What were the biggest challenges for Nemesis as a company in the last 4 years?
It was actually a shift in mindset that I had to embrace! Being a software developer all my live, it was hard to switch from building a product to building a company. And those turned out to be totally different things that require different skill set and attitude. I still can?t say I am where I need to be, but when you already know what you have to work on - it?s way easier. The other major thing was of course building and developing the team. Unlike in math, here is no correct answer and you learn by doing and mistakes are often more than successes. But if there is a clear vision and roadmap how to get there - it all comes in place eventually.
Tell us more about the team. How many people are currently on board and what do they do?
We are currently 10 people strong. We have got a core team of developers who work on the platform. I love to joke by calling them ?machines? - they are really some of the smartest people around. There are also marketing and sales guys who keep the whole company up and running. We also work with many external subcontractors, because this is the way to utilize the best talent available out there.
Where do you see the company in 5 years? time - big milestones ahead?
In these turbulent times we live in, it?s really hard to make a prediction of how the e-commerce landscape will look like and what our role will be. What I am sure about is that we are going to stick to our values, we will continue to innovate and listen to the market. The rest will come.
Thank you for your time! Anything else you would like to share?
Yes, thank you for inviting me to share all this. It was my pleasure. Stay tuned for more exciting news very soon!