Open Source software is picking up fast and companies looking at cost effective solution are turning towards them. However, with open source software – the biggest problem is all round capability of the product. We all have experience that just software does not solve real world problems, we need reporting and other features found in commercial packages. Snapt takes open-source software to the next level with affordable and accessible snap-on user interfaces, complete with the reporting capacity and expert support you’d expect from commercial software packages. Since launching in August 2011, Snapt has already acquired a number of heavy-hitting international clients, including NASA JPL, EuroVPS, and NeoAssist, who use Snapt’s unique tools to effectively manage server capacity, as well as to maintain and monitor network systems and intranets. Snapt is a venture capital backed company, funded by 4Di Capital.
Dave Blakey is the founder of Snapt, a South African company that develops powerful user interface tools in order to effectively deliver open source software solutions for corporate customers. Blakey has a strong entrepreneurial background, having previously launched and developed the hugely successful hardware networking company, Opteq, in 2002. Under Blakey’s leadership, Opteq has since gone on to become a world-renowned organisation, servicing multinational corporations, network carriers and ISPs.
What is the motivation behind Snapt-UI?
Snapt was born to bridge the gap between businesses and open source software. Technically powerful software was inaccessible to businesses due to a lack of usability, reporting and support. From there Snapt has grown into a platform on its own, providing complete solutions for high end load balancing and acceleration.
The company is based in South Africa, but from the recent press reports, 95% of the consumers to the product come from USA. How is the penetration across the globe?
Currently we have around 80% of our clients in the US, 10% in Europe and 10% in Asia. This is largely due to the product itself – it manages hundreds of thousands of connections to websites a second and majority of those sites are in first world territories.
In what ways will Snapt-UI help companies using open source software?
We use a large variety of software but primarily HAProxy (a load balancer), Nginx (a web accelerator) and Squid (a web cache). Our platform merges these into what we call an ADC – application delivery controller – which introduces redundancy, load balancing and offloading at very high performance for a fraction of the cost. We offer virtual images, cloud ready images and standalone software depending on the client.
What is the future roadmap for Snapt-UI?
We have found our “niche” so far with application delivery and intend to broaden our offering there. We are also now delivering product to the larger enterprise market and intend to grow our audience and influence in that space.
Having the experience of starting up in South Africa, tell us one good thing and one bad thing about doing business there.
South Africa’s community is great – we have great developers with a passion to make something cool. It’s often quite difficult to start a business here though due to long processes and especially hard for a business like ours where we are selling almost exclusively outside of South Africa.
Best part is the people; worst part is the process (or lack thereof).
What are the essential qualities an entrepreneur must possess in order to sustain the grueling founding years ?
Passion in what you are doing. If you aren’t enjoying it and you don’t believe in it then no one else will. Perseverance – keep trying hard every day. Your large competitors can never try as hard as you can while you are a small team.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as we did doing it. Here’s wishing Snapt team the very best!