Entrepreneurship has no bar on age, but nevertheless its surprising to see some youngsters making it big as entrepreneurs. In the age where most youngsters choose a conventionally safe career path, its fascinating to find people who take first steps down new roads, having complete belief in their vision.
Building an Auto Installer from scratch might’ve seemed ill-fated in an industry with big players like Fantastico and Installatron. But that didn’t stop Pulkit Gupta. Born with a silver spoon, Pulkit the teenager could’ve easily followed footsteps of his father, a textile industrialist; but then the world wouldn’t have got a product that single-handedly altered the way auto-installer market worked- Softaculous.
We were lucky to bag an interview with this great guy, so read on as Mr. Pulkit talks about the genesis of Softaculous, its success, his passion for scripting and team Softaculous.
I found that many users had trouble installing applications and the existing players weren’t doing a good job. I felt I could make such software which would help users install applications faster and also give new application vendors a chance to have their applications reviewed by users. Thus Softaculous was born.
Q : What is your name and role with Softaculous? How long have you been in this role?
A : I am Pulkit Gupta (Alons) the founder and CEO of Softaculous Ltd. I started coding Softaculous in Jan 2009 and launched our first FREE version in the first week of April 2009. In August 2009 the first PREMIUM Version was launched. The company was incorporated in February 2010 when I was 20 years of age. So I have been coding Softaculous for nearly 4+ years and have been a CEO for nearly 3+ Years. In this period we have launched 4 products : Softaculous, Virtualizor, Webuzo and AMPPS.
Q : For those who don’t know what Softaculous is, can you please brief it a bit?
A: Softaculous is an Auto Installer or some people know it as a ONE Click Installer. It basically helps users to install Applications like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, phpBB, SMF, MediaWiki, etc. by the click of a button. You can also search and install PHP OOP Classes. Softaculous integrates into Control Panels like cPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk, H-Sphere, InterWorx, ISPManager, Custom Panels (developed by hosting companies themselves) as a plugin. The users of these control panels can then use Softaculous. The Softaculous Library has 290+ Applications and over 1100+ PHP classes. We expect to add much more this year as well.
Q: You’re a person who belongs to a well-settled business family. You could’ve very easily decided to lay on your family business. What motivated you to launch Softaculous?
A: Yes, so my Dad is a Textile Industrialist and he started his own business. I was doing my Bachelor of Commerce with specialization in Accounts and Finance (BAF) when I started working on Softaculous. I always wanted to do something on my own and I love technology and software. When I entered college my brother gave me a book on “Ethical Hacking”. I got hooked and I learnt PHP from online tutorials that year, which in turn introduced me to the web hosting industry. I was working on an open source software back then. In 2009 I found that many users had trouble installing applications and the existing players weren’t doing a good job. I felt I could make such software which would help users install applications faster and also give new application vendors a chance to have their applications reviewed by users. Thus Softaculous was born.
Q: At the time Softaculous launched, the market already had auto-installer libraries like Fantastico Installatron and SimpleScripts. What led you to believe that Softaculous will beat the strong competition?
A: All these players were not really doing a good job in maintaining updates or giving a good user experience. We innovated and introduced features like ONE Click installations. When we entered the market Fantastico was 3 clicks, Installatron was like 6-7 clicks as they had this external task window stuff and SimpleScripts was majorly for Blue Host as they themselves were frustrated with existing auto installers. So we innovated and actually introduced ONE CLICK installation. We added features like Reviews, Demos, Ratings which would be available in the Panel itself. We added new scripts, ones which were popular and needed more audience to check them. So INNOVATION was something we always banked upon and continue to.
Q : Founded in 2009, Softaculous has managed to get a strong foothold in the auto-installer software products’ market in a very short span of time. When you look back, what is one specific thing that you think made Softaculous stand out?
A: INNOVATION is something that has always helped and something that will continue to help. We introduced features like ONE CLICK Installation, Installation of applications VIA API so that billing systems could be integrated, Script Reviews and Ratings System, Demos, and many more novel features. All these have helped us in many ways to gain customer support.
Q: Softaculous is a product that needs constant updation with the updated versions of scripts. It added over 50+ new scripts in 2012. How does your company manage this constant updation? Also, how do you decide on which scripts to add to Softaculous? Is the decision influenced by end user demand?
A: We have a team of 17 People and of these 8 are for Softaculous. We check every day for updates and update all scripts in 24 hours of launch. Our product engineers look for new scripts, review suggestions made by many of our partners and endusers. We also lookout for any new promising script which we feel users would like.
Q: Very recently Zurmo CRM was added to the Softaculous apps library. Can you please throw some light on this new development?
A: Zurmo is a great CRM, and our team also rated it as a script which users will like to use. Zurmo is an Open Source Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application that is mobile, social, and gamified. We recommend users in search of a CRM to try Zurmo.
A: Firstly I would like to describe what AMPPS and Webuzo are. AMPPS is basically Softaculous for the DESKTOPS and OFFICE users. It’s a WAMP AND MAMP stack with loads of features and it has Softaculous. Developers can use this FREE STACK to install and develop things on their Windows or Mac machines. Users won’t have to waste time installing scripts and it also has MULTIPLE versions of PHP. Webuzo is similar and it’s a LAMP stack. It has a FREE and Premium version. But it is also a SINGLE USER CONTROL PANEL which has DNS Management, FTP, PHP, APACHE, PERL, MySQL, MongoDB, JAVA, Tomcat, Python, Softaculous, etc. It is mainly for users to manage their Virtual Machines or VPS so that they can install hundreds of apps in seconds. Webuzo integrates into the Cloud and users can launch apps onto multiple VMs in the Cloud. We have seen great response in both the products. AMPPS has been published by many leading Computer Magazines as well. There are some great features coming in for these products.
Q :Tell our readers a bit about team Softaculous?
A: So we are a team of 17 people. We have only one non-technical person and that is our HR. Everyone else is a computer enthusiast. Our daily work is to enjoy and we enjoy computer programming the most. We love the feeling that as programmers we make and will continue to make stuff which touches the lives of so many others.
Q: To wrap things up, what’s in the bag for 2013?
A: There are lots of things planned. A new product is also in the making and it will hit the Market soon. We expect the new product to be something huge. There are also some great features coming in for Softaculous, Webuzo, AMPPS and Virtualizor. So all I can say right now is to STAY TUNED FOR MORE 🙂