Vitaliy Fedorchenko founder of SeekTable tells us about pivot table reporting.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Vitaliy Fedorchenko: We’re fine, thank you for asking. I’ve been working from home since 2015, so lockdowns didn’t affect us significantly. However, we really miss travels and sea vacations.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded SeekTable.
Vitaliy Fedorchenko: Almost 6 years ago I left the office of an outsourcing company where I worked for 14 years. That was a well-paid job with great teammates, but I realized that I don’t want to develop projects for customers anymore, and with my experience, it would be better to work on my own products. I’m a fan of bootstrapping, self-funding and organic growth, therefore I started small. My first products were niche .NET components. In this way, I got enough cash flow to cover my family’s needs.
SeekTable appears as an evolution of my .NET components for pivot table generation (“PivotData Toolkit for .NET”). First, some customers asked for the ‘black-box’ solution that may be integrated into any web app, and this leads to a new product “PivotData microservice”. Then, I created a web interface for reporting capabilities provided by this engine, and this was the beginning of SeekTable that was originally known as a free online tool for the creation of web-based pivot tables.
How does SeekTable innovate?
Vitaliy Fedorchenko: SeekTable is a niche player, and it offers a truly ultimate price-for-value for certain usage scenarios:
- embedded reporting
- ad-hoc queries and data exploration in small teams
- sharing of ‘live’ reports to many users with a fixed price
SeekTable has rather unique capabilities that are demanded by customers (and often missed even in the BI-market leaders), and this is how it innovates.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Vitaliy Fedorchenko: As for the beginning of 2020 SeekTable was a one-person company, and I had plans to hire first full-time employees to expand marketing and sales activities. I expected to cover these expenses by payments from prospective customers in Spring 2020, but because of the pandemic, all expected purchases from these ‘hot’ leads were suspended or canceled. As a result, the SeekTable team wasn’t expanded.
Sales returned back only in the 2nd half of 2020. It is obvious that the number of SeekTable installations was lower than planned before the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of that uncertainty, I decided to stay small and not to invest in the team expansion yet. For now, SeekTable is already profitable as a one-person company, it doesn’t require any external funding and is capable of growing organically.
With this conservative strategy, SeekTable customers may be sure that the product will be supported in the future and will not be ‘closed’ because of no funds.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Vitaliy Fedorchenko: A team of one man has its own advantages because it is possible to stay with a very simple toolset. For example, I’m still able to use Gmail as a CRM. Bitbucket is used for git hosting/tracking issues/automated builds and tests. The self-hosted SeekTable version is distributed as Docker images and in this way, a lot of installations may be maintained without much effort.
Your final thoughts?
Vitaliy Fedorchenko: Any crisis is a time for new opportunities, and the COVID-19 pandemic is not an exception. Even before that, it wasn’t easy to promote a new BI tool because this market is really overcrowded and it is hard to attract the attention of the target audience simply because of many thousands of other BI products. On the other side, in many companies, the budget for BI tools was reduced. Before the pandemic, even small companies often decided to use BI market leaders (PowerBI or Tableau) simply because they are provided by well-known vendors and ‘everyone uses them’. Now low TCO is important, and this is a great opportunity for SeekTable to attract new customers.