When we initially launched the company, we started with a single server in our home turf of the UK. Unlike other software companies, we rely on having solid bare metal hardware located close to our customers. This makes expanding into new markets more difficult that a typical software company. Our approach initially was to trade flexibility for margins, instead choosing to rent our metal completely. This way, we can move quickly into a new market and begin setting up our customer base. Afterward, we co-locate our hardware again - increasing setup costs but allowing us to slowly increase our margins once we reach critical mass. The whole process of expanding has been a learning experience for the team - taking our services from just one location to global in under three months has been a very exciting ride. With things set to increase even further in 2021, we can't wait to bring you all along with us. Our next expansion will be happening in Q2 this year in Australia and Singapore!
For a company like ours, automation is absolutely critical. From the usage of continuous integration in our development pipeline, internal tools to simplify and decrease time wasted on trivial tasks, and using language recognition technology to proactively read support tickets and summarise their contents, you can say we have done our fair share of automation. This is a critical part of scaling - we are a small team, and every minute we spend on an automatable task is a minute we could use building awesome and industry leading features. Our development speed is everything to us, the fact we deliver better features, fast than our competition is one of the reasons we have seen such growth in the past three months.
Data... data... data.
As we've begun to collect data from different sources we very quickly realised we can make better decisions if we have a way of understanding all our data - so we built internal tools! With a bit of assistance from a friend with a degree in Financial Maths and Statistics, we built out a wide variety of projects that accurately model and predict where, why and when we should be expanding our business. I won't go into this in too much detail, it is very much a trade secret, but this is a critical step in scaling a tech company: Follow. The. Data.
Handling multiple currencies has been especially difficult and remarkable simple at the same time - let me explain. All of our software is built in-house, including our billing system, and as we were designing the system we knew we had to support multiple currencies. The early stage planning really paid off as we were able to technically support new currencies basically overnight. However, the business side of things was not so simple. There are a wide variety of card processing providers - we settled on Stripe, and we don't regret that choice at all. Apart from one or two minor gripes with the platform, we are quite happy, they allow us to accept multiple currencies from one account and even pay out to our USA and EU bank accounts. However, if you have using online shopping before you know there is also another company that dominates the e-commerce world - PayPal. We have spent countless hours on the phone with PayPal as arbitrary restrictions have been placed on our account, these restrictions make scaling our company that bit harder and as a small team trying to build a global product we could really do without the headaches that PayPal cause us just to maximise profits for their investors - we were, and still are, very close to removing PayPal from our platform.
Hack it out!
Before 2020, the team enjoyed venturing around the world to a variety of different events, accelerators, hackathons and other conferences - so when confined to our dwellings in 2020 and 2021 we decided to keep the spirit going by running internal hack projects - the most notable is Among Servers which was built by the team in just under a day - flat. We will be continuing this idea well into 2021 and later years and new features, new products and completely new ideas are bound to emerge!
Scaling a company is hard. It is always going to be hard, and as we begin to take on thousands of new customers from around the world things are likely to get more stressful for us - but the ServerFlex team is ready and even as we begin to deploy hundreds of servers a week, you can be sure that ServerFlex is still, World Leading Game Hosting.
Stay tuned for more!