I came across Xoreax when looking for a company who does software development tools in Israel (since this is my playing field). Uri Mishol, the CEO and co-founder, and I met a few years ago, so it was only natural to look him up and meet.
Xoreax is an ISV which builds one truly great product - IncrediBuild. The tool allows distributing the load of the build procedure between several machines in a very transparent and non-intrusive way. It supports VisualStudio and mainly geared towards C++ development. Considering the size of Xoreax, it's a huge success. Recently Xoreax started offering IncrediBuild as a general-purpose framework for accelerating Windows-based processes through their distributed processing engine, and this new offering also appears to be gaining momentum.
- The beginning: At first, Uri came up with the idea. He then partnered with his friend, a gifted developer and software architect, to lead the product development. This move proved itself. After researching their idea for some time they decided to quit their day jobs and focus on their new product. Uri was doing the business side. His partner developed the initial version by himself.
- Market research:
- He did the usual market research.
- Look through user forums to see if users are complaining about the problem.
- When you pitch your product - the people who can't grasp your product may help you better understand who's not your target audience.
- He recruited about 9 Israeli companies as beta sites. It was not enough, but it did produce great feedback.
- He suggested around 15 beta sites as the optimal number.
- You can say that IncrediBuild was carving out a new niche, as almost no other tool offered similar functionality.
- SEO - Uri did it himself by researching the subject and working on his site.
- Using AdSense.
- Community sites - Create a list of forums where your potential users hang out. Participate in this forums and use your signature.
- "feature articles" in famous blogs and on-line magazines sites.
- Trade shows - it's a good tool for business development, less for actual sales.
- Creating a viral effect:
- Discussion groups.
- Promotions based on "invitations" - encourage the user to invite friends.
- Coolness factor - give a sleek UI which makes users talk about it.
- Trial version:
- It's a must. They give 30 days free.
- They let the users extend by 15 days in exchange for registration.
- E-mail only. Available for users who pay maintenance fee.
- They offer good on-line manuals. No on-site training is offered.
- It is Uri's opinion that today's solutions like web-casts and on-line training videos are more than adequate for training. ISVs in their initial stage should try to avoid offering on-site training, and instead invest in high-quality documentation, tutorials, support and UI.
- Cold calls in the early days.
- Most of the sales are done on-line - using e-mail, conference calls, web casts, etc.
That's about it. Hope this was educational for you as it was for me. If you have some more questions, feel free to leave a comment and I'll try to get some answers from Uri.
I want to thank Uri for his time and wish him all the best in the future.