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The Journey from CustomWare to ServiceRocket

Posted by Rob Castaneda on May 15, 2013 11:00:08 PM

In 2000, I moved from Sydney to Silicon Valley for a job with a small company that had one of the best leaders I have ever met. During the experience, I was inspired to start my own company and moved back to Sydney to start CustomWare.

I still have the original one-page business plan. The initial focus was on providing training services to enterprises on behalf of technology vendors. Leveraging the knowledge gained would allow us to expand our offerings to provide mentoring, high-end architecture and consulting.

On day one, we started to run training courses in the Asia Pacific region for both BEA Systems and webMethods. Shortly thereafter, we were helping ATG and even running the Enterprise Java training program for Sun Microsystems.

Still a small team, we then expanded our service offerings to including implementation services and delivered some large projects for customers like Johnson & Johnson, Sony and Woolworths. By that point, we had built up an infrastructure based upon open source and related projects to deliver our projects. It was based upon CVS, Mantis and Jive Knowedgebase.

In 2003, I was introduced to Atlassian. Oddly enough, it took a contact in Silicon Valley to introduce us to the Atlassian team based only a few blocks away from our Sydney office. That’s just how things seem to work in our industry. Shortly thereafter, we replaced Mantis with JIRA and Jive with Confluence version 0.2 and started servicing customers worldwide on the Atlassian toolset. We even built out an Atlassian training program.

As a small Australian company, we were happy to concentrate on the Asia Pacific region. We thought that would be big enough for us. Over time, and after receiving an increasing number of requests from companies in other parts of the world, we changed our mindset and decided to become a global provider. Our mission became clear - help companies adopt software and spread its use throughout the enterprise in a self-serve manner.

We opened a small office in Singapore, and then a larger shop in Kuala Lumpur in 2005, and we have never looked back. In 2009, we jumped across the Pacific to open our first North American office in Palo Alto.

After arriving in the US, we quickly realized a few things. First, we learned how important branding was to our future. As we started to expand into more low-touch offerings, our brand would become our primary connection to our customers. The second thing we learned was that the CustomWare name, while good to us in our early years, did not match what we did. We simply weren’t a custom software company. We also found out, unlike in Asia Pacific, that there were already several other Customware organizations in the US. We knew we were unique and we knew our name should be as well.

The other big event occurred in 2010, when we acquired our second product. We were transforming from a pure services company to a solutions provider. The product was a training administration and delivery platform and it needed a name. We settled on the name TrainingRocket. While we were at it, we also registered a few complementary names, ServiceRocket being one of them.

It was then we knew that ServiceRocket would make much better sense for the company and we’ve slowly been working towards this day.

Today, ServiceRocket is formally taking off, with an incredible team of 120 exceptional men and women spread across five countries, each and every one dedicated to delighting the customer.

I would also like to recognize the hundreds more who helped along the way, too many to name here. I’d like to personally thank all of you, even those that had trouble understanding a small, bald Australian entrepreneur who had a dream about changing the way that software companies could service their customers.You have all helped to make ServiceRocket what it is today.

To the ServiceRocket team (past and present), our families, our partners, customers and suppliers - we thank you for giving us the opportunity to do what we love. Now is the time to reach for the sky and show the world what we can do.

Oh, and the inspiring leader from my first job in Silicon Valley was Salil Deshpande, who went on to achieve great success in the VC world. He has now joined our board of directors, along with a group of other highly experienced and uniquely inspiring leaders.

Thanks to everyone for sharing our journey!


Topics: Company