Monday, May 17, 2004
Interview with Greg Bolcer, Endeavors
Greg Bolcer is the founder and CTO of Irvine-based Endeavors Technology (www.endeavors.com) which develops application delivery software. Endeavors was recently recognized for its innovative products and technology by the Orange County AeA. I spoke to Greg about his company, and the prospects for the Endeavors technology.
BK: What is Endeavors, and how is your software technology being used?
GB: Endeavors is an on demand application company. We take a very small percentage of an application and stream it across a network to trick a client machine into thinking an application is fully installed. For example, Autocad 2005 is nearly 800Megabytes and takes tens of minutes to install from a CD. A user on a broadband connection like DSL or Wifi can download and transparently install a very small portion of the application in under a few minutes. We use the technology for Trialware and for on demand client delivery in an enterprise.
BK: Who are your typical customers, and why do they use your products?
GB: Typical customers are desktop software ISVs for trialware and large engineering or pharmaceutical/bio-engineering organizations. Autodesk and Discreet use our product because it gets the software in the hands of the customer faster without significant barriers to trialing it resulting in 6-10% increased software sales, 10-20% of software revenue coming in faster than it would have, and an "on demand" gratification resulting in 8-12% spillover sales for other productsj. Other benefits include cost savings over traditional CD "mass mailings" and the ability to more accurately target interested prospects based on up-to-the-second usage statistics.
Small and Medium enterprise customers use the product to help maintain control over software license provisioning, reduce the cost of software distribution within an organization, and get better visibility into the desktop application needs and requirements allowing better procurement. It allows a CIO to turn a maintenance costly set of software assets into a manageable, outsourceable software service through end-user self-service to the applications they need without IT lag time or losing control of licenses.
BK: I understand you are fairly involved in the WebDAV project--how is this related to Endeavors?
GB: WebDAV is a great ubiquitous protocol for reading and writing data across organizational boundaries because it bootstraps on top of HTTP. We have our own implementation of WebDAV and provide customers the ability to access desktop applications on demand as well as shared corporate data. We have a WebDAV-based add-on to our application delivery to manage this on demand data service.
BK: What is the history of Endeavors, and how did you decide to found the company?
GB: Endeavors started out as a DARPA funded workflow project at the University of California, Irvine. It was one of the largest non-Sun Microsystems Java projects at the time. Over time the products have evolved from a rigid workflow product to an IT friendly way to easily manage and provision groups of people, applications and data across network boundaries. After commercial interest from Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, PacBell, and Netscape, we felt we had the people, products, and interest to be a highly successful company--and the rest, as they say, has been interesting, challenging and rewarding.
BK: What are your channels to market for your AppExpress product?
GB: We have a small direct sales team for small and medium sized businesses and ISVs for trialware and internal "insourcing" of on demand app delivery in conjunction with our Microsoft Gold Partnership opportunities. We work with our US telco partner and ISPs for the software service.
BK: Are you finding much competition nowadays from alternative technology in the enterprise space, i.e. server virtualization, terminal services?
GB: Typically there's no substitute for desktop resident software. Even thin client vendors are looking for more client-resident, on demand performance. Putting desktop applications on a remote server has two limitations that users don't like. First is the user experience which includes everything from local and remote data, printing, and network lag. Second is that on the IT side, depending on the app, you can fit only 10-200 users per server, but with a decentralized on demand model like appx, you can support several thousand to 10,000 per server with the same level of central control and auditing.
The largest competition we have is companies attempting to convert all their critical apps to be Web-based, but again, for the most commonly purchased and used software on the desktop--it's either extremely cost prohibitive to re-engineer or it doesn't run very gracefully in a browser.
BK: How did the purchase of Endeavors by Tadpole come about, and how has that ownership affected how the company is run?
GB: Tadpole was Endeavors Technology's first customer. The then CEO of Tadpole recognized the technology had value above and beyond what our sister company was using it for. Being part of a publically traded company on the London Stock exchange does two things: 1) it gives us credibility with customers that we're not just a technology flash in the pan, and 2) it gives us security of incremental funding as opposed to other VC or angel-based companies who have to worry evey day where there next meal is coming from.
BK: Finally, what's next for Endeavors and what do you think is the next big step for the company?
GB: I'd like to expand our reference customers in the "software as a service" space. I can easily see a day when a CIO no longer thinks of their internal software as an asset or cost base, but a truly manageable and out-sourceable service. We truly believe that enterprises have embraced the "On Demand" paradigm for the server, we would like to bring all that goodness to bear for the on demand client. We are accomplishing this through our strategic partnerships and I'd like to see some of our popular app library titles scale globally.