Anyone who ever used Webyog's free MySQL interface claims it to be more intuitive than any other competing product in the market. Since it is "Made in India" we were obviously intrigued and wanted to know more about this startup and the people behind it. In the process we also found out how to make a million without winning a lottery.
Read ahead to learn more.
1. For starters, what is Webyog.com? Why the name Webyog?
The name was coined in the dot-com days by me and my friend. At that point in time, everybody wanted to own a catchy domain name - just for the heck of it! "Web" was a very hot word those days and "yog" gave an Indian touch to it. So we went ahead and booked the domain. When the company was formed it already had a catchy domain name. So we started calling the company Webyog.
2. What is the story behind Webyog, the company?
My brother Ritesh was doing his college project on MySQL in 2001. He came from a MS SQL/Access background and was not impressed by the quality of MySQL GUIs available at that point in time. So he started developing his own tool. Suddenly I realized that it could become a serious business with the rising popularity of Open Source and MySQL in particular ... and here we are!
3. Could you tell us more about other key players, if any?
My wife Jyoti manages all non-technical aspects of the company. We had a few people starting recently. With those we are now coming close to ten people. But we do not intend to stop here. Actually the development and maintenance of the core 'SQLyog' program has been done mostly by two persons for quite some time. We are planning to 'double up twice' in next 6 months and still have some resources to put into new projects. Further, we outsource all website work, icon design and such things, so frequently we have people working for us that are not employees.
4. How successful has Webyog been so far? Any significant milestones?
Yup, more than 1 million downloads have taken place for the Community Edition and 6000 customers across 90 countries have deployed the Enterprise Edition. We are the first company in India to make a serious contribution to the open source community.
5. Where do you plan to take Webyog going forward?
We aspire to make Webyog the world-leader in database tools.
6. What are key technologies your product or service is built upon and why did you opt for them?
SQLyog has been developed using C++ and Win32 APIs. No STL, MFC or ATL was used. The SQLyog binary is very compact and efficient without any external dependencies.
7. Your thoughts on opensource revolution.
As a businessman, I think open source represents a great platform for Indian developers to make their product known on a global scale. Open source reduces the barrier of entry for Indian businesses.
As a developer, open source forces to you to write top-notch code. The code that you publish is downloaded and used by thousands of hackers from the community. If you do something foolish, you will be ripped apart!
8. Does Webyog have any competitors? If yes, who are they?
We are not aware of any competitors. (with products matching our feature set)
9. What are some of the challenges in your business and how do you plan on tackling them?
The main challenge is to find competent people who can contribute to shrink-wrapped software that is used by millions of users. Most of the developers in India have been trained to do project work for large Enterprises.
10. In your experience, what has been the most effective way to market a business?
We don't have a sales and marketing team. People download our product and talk about it to their friends and colleagues. Many people blog about it. If an influential blogger talks about our product, thousands of people come to know about product instantly. Thousands of web-sites and blogs are linked to us and we are usually on the first page of Google for all relevant keywords.
11. Did Webyog receive any funding? If not, do you plan on seeking external funding?
No. Webyog is completely funded by me and my family. We have "bootstrapped" ourselves and we are not looking for external funding. Our current revenue is sufficient for our growth aspirations.
12. Do you have a business/revenue model as well as any exit strategy on mind?
We have not started Webyog to sell it! We want to be world leaders in database tools.
13. Like Webyog, why is it that there aren't a lot of startups in India that develop products even though talent is abundant? What do you think can improve this situation?
I think it is a cultural issue. We are still heavily influenced by our parents, family and the society in general. They have conditioned our mind to think that getting a cushy job in a big-company is a measure of success!
14. Do you expect to see more product startups out of India in the near future?
Yes. Definitely. I think it is high time for Indians to start developing world-class products.
15. Do you have any personal advice/suggestions for current/future entrepreneurs?
Don't listen to parents, aunts and friends when they "advice" to get a cushy job with one of the big companies! With the advent of open-source and Internet, you have access to all resources that a person in Silicon Valley has. Believe in yourself. The day is not far when blockbusters like iPod will be created in India.
16. On a personal front, who is your role model? Also, do you follow any other websites religiously?
My idol is Steve Jobs. I read the following blogs regularly:
Joel On Software, Guy Kawasaki's Blog, Raymond Chen's blog and Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog
17. How did Webyog affect your lifestyle, important things you learnt etc? Do you find this more fulfilling than pursuing a day time job? Do you get enough time for yourself/family?
One of the greatest things about not working for THE MAN is that I have got complete flexibility in planning my time. Sometimes, I work on Sundays (less noise and traffic) and go to movies on Monday afternoon (less crowded!).
18. Our final question, One thing that you love the most?
I love playing with my 3 year old son! Besides my family, I still love coding.
19. What is the question you would like to answer and still nobody asked you?
Yes. Q: Is it possible to become a millionaire quickly without winning a lottery? A: Yes, create software than "delights" your users!
We were definitely delighted to hear from Rohit Nadhani of Webyog and also seeing India leap forward to take over the current domination of free software community predominantly by our friends in the West.
That day is not far. We will do it. Don't you think so?