Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Jason Gleason from Eight Wire.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
Why doesn’t data integration just work? Why can’t I move thousands of tables between IT systems and the cloud without spending six months writing code and testing bugs? And why does my code crash every time an unexpected change happens?
Eight Wire’s Conductor is built to automate the effort needed to move data between any database, spreadsheet/CSV or cloud data store. It is smart enough to fix data errors automatically, so companies can spend their energy working and not fixing data feeds.
Using Conductor, businesses and consultants can integrate millions of rows of data between thousands of tables without writing code or dealing with cross-platform inconsistencies. For customers moving to Cloud infrastructure or linking systems together, the most difficult part can be done in a few weeks instead of months or years.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
We’re based in Wellington and have completed an angel round of investment here in New Zealand. We are using it to cement our expansion plans and grow into international markets. To accomplish this, we are working with Amazon, IBM and Microsoft partners that are moving customers to plaftorm-as-a-service (PaaS) platforms. With the growth in companies moving to PaaS, we can quickly show value to our partners and support their customers.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?
From a technology perspective, the biggest challenge is scaling our technology to handle everything customers can throw at it. We are automating development tasks that would be done manually, so building code that can work with messy data without crashing has been a real challenge.
From a business perspective, gaining the traction in New Zealand that can launch us offshore has been a real challenge. Our funding round has helped through adding the sales and technical staff that we need, so now we are putting our plan into place and tweaking it to work in new markets.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
Coming from a data consulting background, we have years of experience with our competitors’ products and processes. With this knowledge, we know where their strengths and weaknesses are and know how they can’t meet business needs. To differentiate from them, we focus on the business benefits, rather than the technical requirements of data integration. This means we can talk about their specific issues and quantify the benefits when compared to the status quo, which is a compelling position.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
I wouldn’t be able to live without the Google Apps stack. Having my emails, calendar, docs, spreadsheets and everything else synchronised between a laptop and phone wherever I am is a huge benefit. When I wiped Windows on my laptop a few days ago, I started up Chrome and had everything running again in minutes.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
I remember being told by some entrepreneurs when we founded Eight Wire that their only success came from never giving up no matter how dire things look. As we’ve moved from two guys coding and selling from borrowed desks to executing a global growth strategy, refusing to give up no matter the odds has been invaluable.
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