We’re happy to interview Laurent Vergnaud from Themecloud.io, the French managed WordPress hosting service (available to French and non French obviously), as part of our series on WordPress SaaS founders: Weglot SaaSy.
Q#1: What is your background, what should our readers know about you?
I am the CEO of Themecloud.io, yet another managed WordPress hosting platform. Our goal is to help freelancers and agencies save time and stay focused on their business by taking care of everything from security to performances, automating technical tasks and providing instant expert support.
I have always been entrepreneur-minded, I started working in digital agencies and worked as a freelancer on my days off. When I first used WordPress (after a couple of years using Flash or custom code), I immediately fell in love with it. I then started using it exclusively, embraced the WordPress community and even started a WordPress business to solve the problems I was facing as a freelancer.
Q#2: What’s your main activity within WordPress today?
I mostly work on product design and acquisition but I continue providing WordPress support to our clients and even create a few WordPress sites from time to time!
I am also an active member of the WordPress community as I take part to local meetups and contribute to WordCamps as a volunteer, a speaker or an organizer (WordCamp Paris 2018, grab your tickets guys!)
Q#3: Why did you choose a SaaS (subscription service) model? Did you change your model from your beginnings? and if so, why?
I have always wanted to build a SaaS product as I believe it is the model of the future.
What I like about it is that you can focus more on providing an excellent experience to existing customers rather than acquiring new customers.
I couldn’t imagine using another model for hosting, anyway. Could you? 😉
Q#4: What’s the key metric you’re closely watching on a daily basis?
I use ChartMogul to follow our metrics. It provides a simple dashboard with all the key metrics (MRR, churn, growth…) so that every day I can take a quick look at all of them.
What I focus the most on is churn and conversions because it helps us understand if we are going in the right direction when pushing for product changes.
Q#5: How do you handle support? And how important is it to you?
Support is certainly a very important aspect of WordPress hosting, but to us, it is especially crucial. My apologies in advance for the long answer to come.
I have noticed (and often experienced) that people are struggling with WordPress support because their host support says the issue comes from a plugin, the plugin support says it comes from the host, each answer taking days to come and the client being completely lost in the meantime.
That’s why we have made support a key value of our brand and we provide instant chat support for any WordPress related issue. We use Intercom rather than a classic ticketing system and we solve 99% of the problems in real time by connecting to our clients’ websites while chatting with them.
Thanks to that, we don’t have to handle information request back and forth, nor manage a customer support queue.
It is a much better experience for the clients and it is way faster and easier for us to manage too.
We are very proud to have an average response time under 3 minutes and more than 92% of our clients being happy or very happy with our answers.
Last but not least, we strongly believe in proactive support so we monitor uptime, security and performances of our client’s websites in order to fix issues before they even know about them.
Q#6: What will be the next big moves for you within the WordPress ecosystem?
First, we plan to build a community of WordPress freelancers and agencies that could talk about productivity and share good practices on WordPress development, maintenance or even client acquisition.
We have seen that a lot of our clients are not aware of the tools and processes that could save them a lot of time and make their customers happier with their work. We think that we can help them improve their everyday life and work by building a strong community around those topics.
Secondly, we plan to launch a new product targeting high traffic sites. It would provide enterprise grade scalability and resilience out of the box and for a fraction of the price. I can’t say much about it yet but it will rely heavily on Docker and Google Cloud.
Q#7: What’s your favorite SaaS reference?
Q#8: What was your toughest challenge in your entrepreneurial journey?
There are quite a few! But the one I struggled the most with was to build a team. I think that choosing who you will work with might be the most important decision you will make about your business. Even more important than choosing what you will work on.
I have made a few costly mistakes on that matter but I could not be happier with the people I work with now and I want to thank all Themecloud team members for that.
Q#9: Whom should we interview next & why?
I’d go for Nicolas Lecocq from OceanWP theme. He has created a beautiful and very successful theme in a super crowded market. He also provides stellar support and he is French on top of that. 😉