founder

Founder Profile: Bringing Zen To Website Management

Summary

When silly cat photos go viral sometimes those sites go down because they don’t have enough juice to handle the extra load from millions of people deciding to descend upon the site all at once.

Capacity issues with hosting websites are just one major challenge faced by website owners and the list is a mile long. Thomas Fanelli, Founder & CEO of Convesio experienced many of these challenges and more in his numerous years helping others run their own websites.

That’s why he set out to make sure that no silly cat photo website (or any other website for that matter) ever has to worry about the bevy of challenges that come with making sure every person who needs their fix of cute photos can get them again. All kidding aside, the problems that Thomas is solving are a real challenge that millions of website owners deal with on a daily basis.

Convesio is the engine that is going to help run the internet better than it has ever run before.

Check out our conversation below to learn about how he and the team are doing so.
Chris Lustrino

Can you talk about how your background has informed the creation of Convesio?

Thomas Fanelli

As the founder of Convesio, I know the stress of a website agency owners all too well. For the last two ecades, I have been helping businesses establish and thrive online.

Over the years, I have switched web hosts dozens of times, in hopes that I would find a host that was as obsessive about uptime, performance, and security as I was. As technology progressed, it seemed like web hosting providers were frozen in time, with little motivation to truly innovate. Tired and frustrated, I decided to build it myself.

Chris Lustrino

What problem are you solving for website owners?

Thomas Fanelli

For a lot of website agency owners, that ever-present anxiety that comes with managing client sites, and having to drop everything at a moment’s notice when a client calls, often at the worst possible times, can keep you up at night. It’s knowing that your client sites are vulnerable, and it’s that nagging worry in the back of your mind that your backups might not be working.

Chris Lustrino

Do you have a sense of how large the web hosting market is today?

Thomas Fanelli

Managed Hosting (Convesio’s segment) is a $75B a year market by 2020 and growing at 18% CAGR vs Shared hosting (legacy hosting) is growing at half of that. These market conditions in addition to our differentiated product and the growth of WordPress, in my opinion, insulate our segment of the market from becoming a commodity for the foreseeable future. 

Chris Lustrino

How does Convesio differentiate from other web hosting sites like GoDaddy?

Thomas Fanelli

The hosting market as a whole has been commoditized over the last 15 years. Companies like GoDaddy and other large hosters have been racing to the bottom of the market. As the collective experience of the market is maturing, businesses now realize that cheap shared hosting is not sufficient for serious businesses. A $3 a month hosting account for an ecommerce store selling $30k in product each month, is not a wise choice. 

Shared hosting typically uses many off the shelf products to offer a very generic hosting solution designed for a wide array of websites (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Shopping Carts, Custom Apps and more). Convesio is 100% focused on hosting WordPress. Our entire stack was designed specifically for WordPress. We do not support any other content management systems or custom code outside of the WordPress framework of Themes and Plugins.

Unlike traditional WordPress hosting solutions, Convesio addresses limitations in shared and VPS hosting by providing a multi-tenant, redundant environment powered by Docker Containers. Each site running on the platform is backed by a redundant file system, database cluster, scalable PHP Runtime, and self healing architecture.

Chris Lustrino

What does your typical customer look like?

Thomas Fanelli

A typical Convesio customer is a WordPress website agency (including designers and developers). Depending on the size of the agency, they could have 10, 30, 100+ websites. Agency users are fairly tech savvy, require less support, and have natural expansion of sites as they growing their base clients. 

Chris Lustrino

Do you have a sense of how much you can save businesses with this solution?

Thomas Fanelli

Our value proposition is really two fold. For agencies we save them time, money, and help protect existing customer revenue. Using our tools, agencies will be able to easily manage their portfolio of sites, which is a significant time savings. Their end users benefit from having faster websites that are always online and scalable. This means more leads, revenue, customers etc. We know that speed of a site is a direct correlation to ecommerce and lead conversion rates. For those end users it translates directly to increased revenue and customers.

Chris Lustrino

What kind of feedback are you getting from customers?

Thomas Fanelli

Customer feedback has been exceptional. Early feedback indicated that users loved the concept and idea behind Convesio. We had many people tell us they have been searching for a product like Convesio. They shared how challenging it was to scale WordPress, and some had even tried to create a product like ours only to discover how difficult it was. 

As we migrated more users to Convesio we conducted head-to-head performance testing against a multitude of existing hosts. We consistently outperformed companies like WP Engine, Kinsta, Flywheel, GoDaddy, and many others. Customers were ecstatic to get results of their site’s performance testing and see the results of their current host vs Convesio. 

Chris Lustrino

How are you going to market and how will you scale this business up?

Thomas Fanelli

The funds we raise during this event are going to be used to drive sales, marketing and customer support/on-boarding. Our product is nearly complete and ready to come out of beta. In order to scale sales we need to invest in resources to generate leads, close deals, and support customers. 

Since we are targeting agencies, designers, developers and early adopters our strategy is to participate in as many WordCamps, Meetups, and online communities where these people thrive with their peers. We are also using content marketing to get the word out about our product and how we are different from the competitors. This will also help drive our organic SEO and social media strategy as well.

Chris Lustrino

Moving websites to a new host can be a hassle. How are you removing this friction in order to win over customers?

Thomas Fanelli

We don’t think switching hosting providers should be a hassle, so all site migrations are free! We’ll migrate all your sites to our state of the art, container based hosting platform free of charge, no matter how many site migrations you need.

Chris Lustrino

Where do you see an exit coming from for investors?

Thomas Fanelli

It is hard to forecast specific exit events, but let me provide two points of reference, Flywheel who was just purchased by WPEngine (see our media section for the press release) had been in business for 6 years before selling. They were doing $18MM in Revenue with a 50% YoY growth rate. WPEngine on the other had has been in business since 2010 and is nearing an IPO after approximately 9 years. 

These do not guarantee similar performance/events by Convesio but rather can help to understand potential opportunities. We believe there are many companies who would be potential suitors for Convesio from the large Managed Hosting providers to Cloud Providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Thomas and his team are creating a new generation of hosting tools that are robust and effective for managing quick growing websites and businesses that just need more flexibility than commoditized solutions can offer.

It is a really unique and brilliant idea born from experience and that is typically the type of company we get excited about. Understanding the problem you are solving through and through is a powerful way to build a new solution from the ground up.

With an intelligent initial go-to-market strategy and tech nearly complete for full launch, we think this is an intriguing investment opportunity. Stay tuned for further coverage of the business.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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