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This is an exclusive interview conducted by Backup Review (here on referred as â€œBRâ€) with Robert Schovenberg (here on referred as â€œRSâ€), CEO of CM4all.
BR: Please give us some background information about your company, such as how it was founded, by who, how long you have been around, where your headquarters are, how many branch offices you have etc. Is your customer base mainly in US or do you have substantial international presence as well?
RS: Content Management AG (CM-AG) is an independent software company, founded in 1999 by CTO Cornel Schnietz and CEO Robert Schovenberg, who are major stakeholders. The company is profitable and includes other private investors â€“ no venture capital. Our headquarters are in Cologne, Germany with a subsidiary in Boston, USA and a sales office in Paris, France. CM-AG concentrates exclusively on web site creation solutions and online storage with backup.
Exclusively offered through our OEM partners, the CM4all software will be delivered with customizable graphical user interface â€“ instantly available to be licensed and installed in their or third party data center. While our partners will benefit from remote maintenance and update processes, they can
Tailored to individual demands, the CM4all software is currently being distributed worldwide via leading telcos, MSOs, ISPs and web hosting companies, like Daily Internet Ltd., Digiweb Ltd., Group NBT, Hostway, Tiscali S.p.A., T-Online (Deutsche Telekom), Terra Networks S.A., Swisscom Fixnet AG, Verio Inc., NTT Communications, and 1&1 Internet AG.
BR: How many employees do you have and how big is your R&D department? What are your best selling products and services and why are they selling so well?
CM4all WebsiteCreator is a Do-It-Yourself web builder available in two editions: Consumer and Business. The Consumer Edition is oriented towards the residential market and very simple to use. The Business Edition is designed for small and medium size businesses, allowing a non programmer to build a professional web site in about 20 minutes with 350 templates, a shopping cart, a business blog, driving directions, and other options. Both versions require no technical knowledge.
CM4all OnlineDrive is an online file storage, sharing, and backup solution, oriented towards residential and small business users.
CM4allâ€™s future proof technology is based on a high-speed XML application server and operated on an ASP model. Thanks to almost nine years of international experience in the software industry, our extremely scalable CM4all software is available in 15+ different languages and can be tailored to individual needs.
2.5 million paying users for our products, including more than 1 million users of CM4all OnlineDrive worldwide, show our success.
BR: What makes your company and its services different from others?
Since we offer our software through OEM partners, we have to provide easy integration with provisioning and hosting infrastructures of our partners. We are able to do this with our multiple APIs and extremely flexible architecture.
We can offer special custom features to our partners, such as T-Online in Germany, which are not normally available from backup vendors. For example, we can provide integration with our partnerâ€™s email systems, allowing incoming attachments to be saved into an online storage account. We can also allow pictures, stored in an online storage account, to be sent via MMS to a mobile phone. Furthermore, we can develop mobile clients to access the CM4all OnlineDrive via cell phone.
So, we view online storage as an integral piece of an overall value-added service suite. From an online storage account, a user can send files to mobile phones, personal web sites, photo printing services, and other places.
At the end, we can deliver a private labeled online storage solution, which is reliable, scalable, easy to integrate with and provides the storage and backup features that end users demand.
BR: One of the biggest concerns of online backup users is data security and privacy. How have you addressed these issues?
BR: What kind of growth rate have you been experiencing? And what is your expected growth rate for the next few years?
BR: How has online backup business evolved in the last few years, and how do you see it further evolving?
BR: Whom do you consider your main competitors? Do you have any?
CM4all OnlineDrive is the perfect answer for reducing churn rate and creating valuable contacts for cross and up-selling. Through our technology, partners can live up to high expectations on professional file storage and a file sharing solution, which are especially demanded by digital media consumers. For the overall success of our partners it is of strategic importance to lock in their existing customers by offering online storage and encourage them to use this value added service. This is notonly crucial because of customer retention but also to being able to monetize on the customer relations by generating returns from complementary services like photo finishing, multimedia messaging or paid contents.
So what we essentially do by licensing our technology is enabling our partners to being able to compete with existing and future offerings also from major companies like Microsoft and Google that start pushing into the online storage market.
BR: Large companies such as Microsoft and major telco’s have started offering online backup business. Do you fear them? How do you plan to compete against such formidable adversaries?
As a trusted partner they are in a prime position to develop a long-term relationship with their customers and be a safe keeper of peopleâ€™s pictures and other files. Giants like Microsoft, on the other hand, have many challenges ahead in trying to convince people around the world that they are a safe, secure, and reliable place to store your most precious memories. Not to talk about catering for the needs of the individual and local markets in an area that is not one of their core competences (yet).
BR: There has been quite a bit of M&A activity in the industry lately (such as xdrive being acquired by AOL, Microsoft acquiring Foldershare and LiveVault by Iron Mountain, and Evault by Seagate). What is your strategy? (being acquired, IPO, etc…)
BR: What is your opinion about Google entering the online backup business?
BR: Do you feel that Google will dominate the market?
BR: How does your proprietary technology compare to the proprietary technology of main competitors?
BR: What is the most regrettable mistake that you or your company made in the past? How would you handle that mistake if you got a second chance? In the future, say five years from now, do you think the cost of online backup will remain as today or will it go significantly cheaper (For example to backup a 1 GB file)?
BR: How many subscribers do you have? What is the amount of file you backed up in your servers?
BR: What do you see as the greatest challenges facing your company today? And what are your biggest accomplishments so far?
We count the worldâ€™s largest telcos, such as T-Online in Germany, Terra Networks in South America, and NTT in Japan, as our partners. Considering our size, we can offer a full hosting platform and a suite of value added service applications, including online backup, and deploy it in several months. We are thriving in an industry, where most of our competition has either failed or is consistently losing money.
BR: What are the key competing technologies and what are some of the advantages you offer over the competition?
BR: Can you tell us about your servers? Where they are located, how many backups you perform, if server room is controlled for humidity?
BR: Any other news about your company you care to share?
Robert Schovenberg is CEO of CM4all.
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Tags: CEO Interviews