Interview with Peter Krumins, founder- Browserling
Peter Krumins is an entrepreneur who is the CEO of world’s leading cross-browser testing platform Browserling. Browserling is a browser testing platform for individuals and corporations and it’s growing in popularity very rapidly, lately becoming top 50k website in the world (according to Alexa). Browserling is backed by top Silicon Valley’s angel investors and now has more than 20,000 users.
Let’s start and see how Peter was able to build and scale the company.
- Tell us about your main project Browserling. How did you start it?
Browserling is a cross-browser testing platform which helps developers quickly test their webapps in all the browsers on all the platforms. Every browser has many different versions, too, which makes it even more complicated. To make great websites you need your site to work exactly the same way on an older computer, and on the newest computer, and on Androids as well as iPhones, iPads and other tablets. Browserling offers super easy and quick access to all browsers (MacOSX, iPhones and iPads very soon). You can just go to Browserling’s website, enter URL you want to test, and get a browser in 5 seconds.
I started Browserling together withJames Halliday (also known as substack). If I remember correctly we both were reading Paul Graham essays. They inspired us and we wanted to start a startup, too! James was reading my catonmat Blog, often commented and we were chatting on FreeNode. We created our own channel #stackvm that became a popular channel among Bay Area programmers on FreeNode IRC network. At first we created this tech that lets you use virtual machines in your browser. It was basically a VNC client in your browser butthen we realized that we need to make money too so we created a product based on top of this tech and called it Browserling. Instead of giving access to entire virtual machine we only displayed the browsers and let users switch between browser versions.
- Browserling seems to be a great name, any specific reason story behind the name?
There’s no specific story behind the name. One day we just came up with the name “browserling” and bought “browserling.com” domain.
- As founder of a successful startup, what are the most important qualities one should have to start a startup?
You have to love what you do. I like startups because I like programming. I do nothing but programming and I can do it for 20 hours, even 40 hours non-stop for thousands of days without taking breaks. I’m about to hit 1000 day Github streak and my programming blog just hit 10 year anniversary. Programming is all I do.
- Have you had any particular challenges running such a successful company as Browserling?
Biggest challenge is splitting time between programming and inventing new things and other boring things that the founder has to do, such as filing taxes and responding to emails.
- Usually entrepreneurs keep fighting for the funding but you got it quickly. How did you do it?
We just built an awesome product that solved a real problem and we got several hundred users in the first few months. We loved what we were doing and kept going to all the Hackers/Founders meetups and 106miles meetups and we demoed Browserling to everyone on my small 11” macbook air. We quickly got noticed and got our first investment on the spot.
- What are some of the challenges you have faced during these years with Browserling?
Mostly technical challenges, scaling the servers and managing the growth.
- According to you, if someone has an idea how he/she should start with building the next company?
They should create a tiny prototype as soon as possible and get as many users has they can and demo it to as many users as possible. Then use users’ feedback to improve the prototype and then repeat. After a dozen of iterations you’ll have a working product that people will pay you for.
- Startup founders should more focus on building the customer base or make it profitable. Which you focus?
You should monetize your product from day one. As soon as you create a prototype, you should have a payment link. Then just iterate, adjust pricing, add a pro plan and a yearly plan. Get those users to pay you, hire fast and keep improving the product.
- One of the major problems faced by startups these days are getting a talented resource. How did you manage this and do you have any suggestion for startup hiring?
I created a programming blog that gets millions of visitors. Hiring is the easiest thing for me. I just reach out to my followers and they want to work for me as they know they’ll learn a lot from me. If you don’t have such network then you can monitor proggit. Talented people often post their new projects there and you should PM themand hire them.
- As Browserling is already a profit making company, are you looking to raise another round of investment?
No. I’m not raising any time soon. I don’t want to give up control of my company. I know exactly where it’s going and I’ve to be in charge.
- What are the future expansion plans of Browserling?
Browserling is growing. It has been growing for the last 48+ month. The big dream is to see it become a huge company with hundreds of employees. Just like I grew my blog to millions of visitors, I’ll grow Browserling to millions in revenue!
My mission at Browserling is to create value formy users and make life easier for developer. At Browserling we’ve open sourced several hundred node.js modules and recently created 300+ free online tools for programmers.
Next, we’re launching several new products related to browsers. We want to make browsers do wonders!
- Any suggestions for the people who want to start their own company but not able to make due to various reasons?
Just do it!
Thanks for your time Peter. I am sure these will help others to make decisions and take their business to a new level.
Peter: Thank you too!