It wasn’t long ago that Mike Neumegen and George Phillips, co-founders of Cloud Cannon, were just two Dunedin lads hacking in their frigid bedrooms. Now they’re working in San Francisco and have around half a million in investment to take their idea to the next level. Maybe the secret to their rapid acceleration lies in the fact that Cloud Cannon is a web designer’s wet dream.
For those who refuse to use generic content management systems like WordPress, going from HTML and CSS files to a hosted website that clients can update is challenging to say the least. With Cloud Cannon, Mike and George have made it a process that lasts less than 60 seconds. The service requires no backend programming, fits in with the designer’s existing workflow, and from what we’ve heard, delivers amazing client experiences.
One of Cloud Cannon’s biggest features is its Dropbox integration. The web designer simply drags the website files into a folder in Dropbox and adds simple HTML tags where they want their client to update content. Cloud Cannon automatically downloads the files to a server, sets up hosting, and makes it instantly live on the web. The result? A client can login and update their content by typing directly on their website.
The service’s potential isn’t hard to see. With more and more companies turning to quality web designers for websites that stand out, the days of cookie cutter web properties are coming to an end. Cloud Cannon is quickly becoming the tool that web designers use to develop unique web destinations.
Cloud Cannon was one of the startups to go through Lightning Lab and receive investment. Although Mike did not want to disclose specific figures until the money was in the bank, he indicated that the investment they have received is north of the $450,000 that the company pitched for at Lightning Lab’s Demo Day 2014.
The investment will be used to launch Cloud Cannon in the valuable US market and to establish relationships with partners, customers, VC’s, and other influential people.
“Lightning Lab has been pivotal for us,” Mike said in an email from San Francisco.
“During the programme we evolved from two guys hacking in our bedrooms to full blown entrepreneurs who are taking on the world. Before, we had no network. Now, we’re embedded in the startup scene in New Zealand and have contacts all over the world.
“Lightning Lab truly was a life changing experience.”
The Lab helped Cloud Cannon through a critical phase in its startup cycle, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t challenging for the two entrepreneurs. Being in a consistent state of uncertainty is both mentally and physically taxing, and in a startup that was experiencing what can only be described as extreme growth pains, Mike and George found that change was the only constant.
“Things change in a moment in the startup world,” Mike recounts. “Servers crash, investors say, ‘Yes, I’ll invest,’ long-shot cold emails actually get replied to.”
“Some days are magical, others are tough to get through to say the least. It takes a certain amount of emotional resilience to be able to deal with the roller coaster but it’s that thrill that keeps us coming back every day.”
Mike says that he managed to tackle the instability by celebrating the small victories that the startup had.
“George and I never used to celebrate our successes, which was a massive mistake,” he said. “Instead we’d immediately shift our focus to the next challenge. The problem with doing this is that work became a constant slog and it felt like we never made progress.
“Acknowledging when we do well keeps spirits high and helps get us through the minefield ahead.”
Despite the hardships and tribulations that one can expect in any high-growth startup, the team at Cloud Cannon continues to press on.
Sam Bonney, former Programme Manager at Lightning Lab has joined the team to help with marketing, and Tim Neumegen, Mike’s brother, has been recruited as a cloud engineer.
“I’m surrounded by an absolute killer team,” Mike says. “George, Sam, and Tim are all at the top of their game and push me to be better everyday.
“Over the next year we’re building a product which stands against the giants in our field and a fanatical community of web designer deviants who can help us disrupt the web design industry.”
This post originally appeared on NZEntrepreneurs.