I love martial arts. As a student of them, though, I was frustrated by how difficult it was to track my progress and understand how my personal habits affected my training. I couldn’t find any app I could use on my smartphone or tablet to help me. Then my friends who owned the martial arts academy I attended told me that their business management solutions were inefficient because they didn’t talk to one another. Frustrated, I decided to do something about both situations.
That’s when I began working on Azuley, Ninsoft’s flagship product. My assumption was that membership-based businesses, like my martial arts studio, should have an end-to-end solution to simplify all types of office work. That way, owners could have more time to enjoy their business and clients could get more involved in their training. Small business owners need to enjoy their business again instead of spending so much time on the tasks required to run this type of business, I thought.
I have been developing software since I was a kid in Brazil, so in many ways the solution seemed completely obvious to my technical brain. I wanted business owners to have a desktop solution that could also be accessed through the cloud. That way, owners could have constant access to information but clients could check-in to classes electronically, track their personal progress online and make decisions about their training based the personal information they decided to track.
A yoga studio owner and student, for instance, should be able to see how well a student is sleeping and how she worked out the day after a good or poor night of sleep. Owner and student could then discuss what could be done to make training more effective.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t just quit my job to build my dream solution. But to me, it had to be built, so I used every bit of free time I could to make that happen. I often stretched myself thin and gave up on many other things that “weren’t as important” to make sure I could give time to the project. I’m sure many startup founders can relate to my struggles!
I haven’t yet taken a penny of investment from anyone to build Azuley. Part of that I attribute to joining the BizSpark program. There were things I wanted to do but initially postponed because I knew the cost would be too high for my budget. But with BizSpark, I received free access to Azure and other products, which has made many more dreams possible.
One dream was to make Azulely scalable, reliable and accessible from different geographies. Working as a software developer for large corporations, I’ve used Microsoft Azure since it was introduced. I knew the combination of cloud services, service bus, Azure SQL Databases and storage would give Azuley the power and features I needed, while utilizing a familiar set of tools.
The support I received from the Azure team was amazing. They were extremely helpful in answering questions and providing guidance. I couldn’t have asked for better support.
About a year or so into the project, I hired my friend, Leonardo Fernandes, to help me out. Now, Ninsoft has four people total. We’re poking at the big players in the membership-based business solution industry, which operate with legacy technology and just can’t keep up what Ninsoft developers can create on a dime. It tickles me to know that we are the only ones in the market providing the end-to-end technical solution membership-based business owners need and we’re doing it as a small startup!
The technical piece of the business is ready to go big-time, so we’re starting to look at how we go to market. You have to wear a lot of hats as a startup founder and I’m a little uncomfortable with some things, like marketing and public relations. But I’m attending Startup Meetups, and starting to look for possibilities in financing so we can expand into countries outside the U.S.
With a solid team in place at Ninsoft and resources through Microsoft, I know it will get it done. The future is looking pretty bright right now.
Fabio Cavalcante, Ninsoft Founder