Founded by Pradeep Chandru and a group of professionals who are MySQL evangelists; Mafiree provides services to cover all database needs of a business. Pradeep himself is a certified MySQL DBA and MySQL Cluster certified professional and in all, the team has an average of 6 years of experience in this field when they started off 3 years ago. We, at Yourstory.in caught up with Pradeep Chandru to know more about the venture. Edited excerpts from the interview:Mafiree caters to a very niche market. Why MySQL and how did you manage to build this competency?
We have the experience of building and managing large MySQL database server farms in our previous organizations. That experience really helped us in getting initial customers and building the first team. Once the foundation was laid strongly, we looked out for people who are in line with our vision and strategy. Our recruitment process really helped us to recruit some of the finest minds, though the process is lengthy. During these three years, we have worked with companies who are into e-commerce, financial services, product development, Web 2.0 and some startups. Today, we have almost worked in all the domains and all kind of enterprises.
You have an impressive client list. Which has been the most challenging and satisfying project till now?
Like all the entrepreneurs, I need to mention that our first assignment as the most challenging and satisfying one. That gave us the encouragement to move forward. Our first project was for Tata Consultancy Services, where we had to prove that MySQL can be suited to the needs of the customer application which were running in Oracle initially. When we started this engagement for benchmarking the MySQL servers, MySQL was taking more than 16 minutes for some of the biggest modules. We tuned the database configurations, queries and logic as well for some of the queries to overcome the time that was taken in their current live system. We did a benchmark and got success with MySQL. There has been no looking back from that point.
What is your revenue model?
Our source of income is from two ways – one is a consulting and another is an annual maintenance contract. On a consulting engagement, we understand our customer’s pain points and audit their database servers for a couple of days with our in house application. By the end of the audit, we recommend them a list of activities for them to move forward with their business needs. The annual maintenance contract package includes managing and maintaining the customer’s MySQL database servers. We do all activities that will help the customer’s MySQL database servers up and running 24x7.
Isn't it a bit risky to build a business model solely on one system? Are you developing competency in any other field?
No, we did not have a doubt about our business model. We knew that there were many companies that were using MySQL or started to use MySQL in 2008. When they scale up or grow their customer base, they definitely need a professional MySQL consulting help, which was non-existent in India. This really validated our business plan, though we did not had a formal business plan in place. Of late, some of our customers are asking us to manage their Linux servers and PostgreSQL database servers. So we started to build a team that will be complimentary in nature. This model worked for us and we were able to cross sell to some of our clients.
Tell us a bit more about the Mafiree Training.
We deliver training to our existing customers only. That training too is on certain specific areas where they need our help. Currently, we are not concentrating on training as an offering.
How big is your team and what are your expansion plans?
Our team is now 15 plus. We have more certified MySQL DBAs with core expertise in MySQL who have worked in various domains. Our team’s cumulative work experience is close to 60 years. With the current business growth, we are planning to ramp up by 150% in the next two years. We are also considering exploring the US market by mid of next year. We should be having 2-3 employees in US by end of next year.
What are the challenges that you are currently facing?
Remote database administration service is yet to catch up in India. While in US, Europe and Australia, companies are always on the lookout to reduce the operating costs and hence they will decide to outsource MySQL database administration works. They believe in the Non Disclosure Agreement and other legal documents that get signed between both the companies. But in India, that working style is yet to catch off. Most of our clients had asked us to work from their office and predominantly that will be for a consulting assignment with literally no remote work. There is always an element of doubt of data theft. Our main challenge is to convince the clients for a remote database administration work. We are able to overcome that fear of new customers with the help of good reference and feedback given by our existing customers.
For more details about Mafiree, visit http://www.mafiree.com