One of the latest companies to join our community is Nemesis Software - an e-commerce platform using the latest and greatest of the open-source world. I recently talked to their founder Petar Tahchiev to learn more about how they started the project and what talent is hidden behind their platform for helping medium and enterprise companies grow and scale their e-commerce businesses with incredible technology stack and seamless customer experience.
The company was founded in 2012 by Petar– a leading Java developer and a long-time open-source contributor. After spending 9+ years implementing over 30 challenging and successful e-commerce projects for some of the largest corporations in the world, Petar came up with an idea for a modular customizable platform that provides options for e-commerce, B2B/B2C commerce, CMS, CRM, analytics, financial services, marketing tools, etc.
5 years later, Petar is not alone on his mission and the Nemesis’ team is growing fast. The technical team consists of 6 experienced and cool Java developers and software architects, as well as an expert e-commerce solution architect. The marketing and business development team comes with a vast technical knowledge to support the growing online sales processed through Nemesis.
Wait, shoot... I’m getting into too many details and Petar was the one supposed to talk about this. Let’s just jump straight into it.
How did you come up with the idea of Nemesis?
What was missing on the market to make you build something new?
The idea of Nemesis was born while I was working on huge e-commerce projects worldwide where I was implementing SAP Hybris - one of the biggest enterprise solutions on the market. I was constantly seeing companies paying tonnes of money for a product that will not bring them the value they needed. It was either too slow and not scalable or too expensive and difficult to support. That’s how I saw a niche for a product that can offset those drawbacks and really help growing business focus on driving revenue, not worrying about technology. I believe there is a stage in the e-commerce business cycle where companies can no longer continue to run on the platforms they have started with, but at the same time, they are not big enough to afford the products of giants like SAP, Oracle or IBM. That’s where we wanna be!
What were the first steps that you took to start
the project and get the right people on board?
I started working on the project on my own and invited other people to join when the product had already taken shape. It was easy to find and attract good developers because I have worked with a lot of quality people on previous e-commerce projects worldwide and they clearly saw the value of the product. Our approach was to build the product first and then focus on sales, but we quickly learned that the other way round works better. And after we had a solid core of developers, we were quick to add marketing and business people to the team to drive the business development.
You built Nemesis using open-source software. Why did you decide to use open-source tools and how does it affect the development process and the customer trust?
I’ve been an active open-source contributor all my life, so it came naturally to me to use technologies which I already know and use every day. No quality developer would use outdated technologies, so it’s in the DNA of Nemesis platform to actually use the latest version of all core technologies. Our version release cycle follows strictly the one of Spring framework and it usually takes us less than a week to be fully synced. Big businesses are still about to understand all the benefits of using open-source technologies, but the trend is rising and we see companies like Microsoft, VMWare and Oracle embracing it.
Tell us about the potential users of Nemesis.
Do you remember how you got your first paying customer and who they are?
We split our customers into three main use cases: 1) companies who still run a brick’n’mortar business and want to digitise their commerce 2) companies who currently sell online, but want to offer an omnichannel experience for their customers 3) companies who want to replatform from their existing e-commerce solution because their business needs have changed. We see the most potential in this third case. And this is what we do for one of our biggest current clients - a major local Telcom, that will run all of its client online interactions through our platform.
You’ve been doing this for 5 years, which sounds a lot (especially in today’s market). What happened during these years?
What were the biggest challenges and the happiest moments?
Yes, it does sound like a lot of time, but the first several years I really treated it more like a side project and the real action started two years ago when the other people joined and we focused more on selling the product, not building it. The biggest challenge was definitely finding the right business partner that can help me take the business to the next level. We really do our best to keep the company culture cool and find a way to have fun every day, even when the challenges are more than we can cope with.
What about the resources used during this period? How much money and resources were invested and how much do you want to invest?
The company was initially self-funded with my own savings. Thankfully, working with big enterprise clients helps us charge a fair amount of money for our product and we can sustain the company operation. But I clearly see how fresh capital can fuel the growth of the business and help us expand to new markets faster and at the same time further develop the platform functionalities. So currently, we are working on our first round of external investment.
What are the next steps?
In order to make the company even more attractive to potential investors, we focus on developing our integration partners network worldwide and at the same time piling up case studies with successful projects. We have definitely switched focus on business development and growth than product development. Of course, we never lose sight of the product roadmap and I can promise we have prepared some really cool stuff for the next year!
To get ready for this interview, you sent me a comprehensive presentation that is comparing various e-commerce platforms. Can you summarise the info for our readers? How is Nemesis compared to Magento and Shopify?
Basically, Nemesis does not compare to them. We target different customer segment and consequently different customer needs. While you can easily set up on your own a Shopify store for a day and sell your grandma’s knitting products to your friends, or maybe use Magento if you have a hundred products you want to sell locally and use it to run your business, well, Nemesis is quite different. We are a perfect match for companies that have thousands of products, millions of visitors and transactions, need very custom functionalities and integration with existing business software like ERP, CRM, Warehouse, etc. Nemesis is a highly scalable solution, that can be deployed on any cloud and at the same time brings total cost of ownership down because it can be supported by any experienced Java developer. Will be happy to share more with anyone who is interested to know more.
That’s enough business-related questions. I want to know more about your passion and hobby of contributing. Why do you think it’s important to be part of a community that is constantly working on improving technologies? What is a community for you?
You said it right! The key word is constant improvement - it’s all about learning, doing and sharing. Through open-source projects I have met some of the best developers worldwide, I happened to write a book and talk on many international conferences. What makes your efforts meaningful, is really being part of something bigger than you that brings value to people. It all comes down to that at the end.
As part of this strive to help, you and your team are organising an event in our event space (the Foundry). You are going to show us how you use open-source technologies to make an enterprise-grade e-commerce platform and lead digital transformation in growing businesses. Tell us more.
Thanks for bringing this on the table! We really want to share our passion and knowledge for technologies with the rest of the coworkers and use it as an occasion to get to know each other better. Anyone who is interested in e-commerce, Java, open-source or digital transformation, is more than welcome. Will be happy to see many people and have a meaningful discussion on any of these topics. Can’t wait to see you there!
That’s all folks! If you’d like to know more about Petar, Nemesis and the whole team, be sure to stop by the Assembly line in the Factory and say hi. Their event on 27.06.2017 is a must-attend one, so be sure to check the details here and to add it to your calendar.
Petya is the Chief Navigator of Puzl CowOrKing. With the spirit of a teenager, she deals equally swift with both management issues and snowy mountain slopes.