Fenero is a provider of 100% licensing-free cloud-based contact center software for sales, customer service, and support organizations worldwide.
At whom is your startup aimed?
There are two segments in our market:
Organizations of any size that requires easy-to-use technology to run their customer service and sales operations, and business process outsourcers (BPO) who are in the business of outsourcing call center operations.
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
Our business model is very unique and one that our main competitors do not offer. Essentially, we provide our software for free and provide a truly pay-per-use model that is transactional driven. We do not generate revenue unless our customers are in the process of executing an activity that may result in revenue generation for them.
Additionally, we do not believe in partnerships with 3rd party technology solution providers for our core features. All aspects of the Fenero platform are built-in solutions, most of which were designed from the ground up to meet the needs of contact center organizations and some of which were based on proven open source technologies.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
I spent the last 10 years working in the information technology department for a popular and large-sized business process outsourcer in Miami, FL. In my initial role, I was responsible for writing various software applications for the organization, eventually becoming the Director of Information Services – overseeing their entire information technology operations.
A critical responsibility was to source and procure the platform(s) that we would implement for clients, forcing me to negotiate, learn, and implement numerous contact center platforms for our organization. This experience combined with several failed attempts at building our own internal call center solutions lead to my epiphany – an opportunity to provide a very powerful platform that’s very easy-to-use and was based on an uncommonly simple business model.
From our perspective, this experience gives Fenero the upper hand – we have years of hands-on experience utilizing the platforms from organizations that are now our competitors.
Did you have any concerns when starting your business, if so what were they?
As previously mentioned, my experience for the past decade has been in the contact center industry. Many enterprises, including my previous employer and their clients, were somewhat reluctant when it came to implementing “new” technologies. This common mindset was my primary concern – would these established organizations decide to ditch their existing platform from vendors who have been around for at least a decade, to a potentially disruptive startup?
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
I studied business software applications in Central Florida, which was a unique set of courses that integrated business and technology – beginning at the age of 16. The knowledge acquired then was critical to developing my desire to launch software-based businesses. I have since launched a healthcare-based startup that was acquired by a competitor as well as several other ventures that weren’t as successful.
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
Fenero was primarily bootstrapped during its first year. Within that timeframe, we had acquired 30 enterprise customers and generated over $150K+ in revenue. In the end, it was due to our initial traction during our bootstrapping period.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
There has been several – the most significant was being awarded the 2014 Contact Center Technology Award.
How have you kept your business relevant and engaged with your audience over the last three years?
We’re constantly innovating and improving our product – within our first 12 months, we launched new apps for iOS, live customer chat, browser-based screen recordings, and other significant features. Many competitors simply partner with 3rd party providers for some of these capabilities, further increasing the costs for their customers.
Content marketing, email marketing, and a strong social media presence also helps keep us relevant.
How long has your business been in making, and who is the team behind the business?
Roughly 24 months. Our team consists of experience contact center technology professionals with various educational backgrounds.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Penetrating a market with very large and established competitors.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
Our most important initiatives for the year are to continue on our quest for great talent and increase our marketing efforts.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
Anticipate, appreciate, embrace and expect the unexpected.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Follow your dreams with 100% dedication and commitment, and ignore the bystanders.