Interview with Boris Siegenthaler, CEO of Infomaniak
It's always fun to learn about hosting companies from near and far, representing the fibers of the HostAdvice team as well (we, too, are global). Infomaniak is a European-based hosting company that emerged from unconventional roots. The journey has been a profitable one for them, though. Boris Siegenthaler, Infomaniak's CEO, gives us a tell-all about the company, the offerings, and the plans for the future.
Could you tell us about Infomaniak and how the company was founded?
Before being the #1 web hosting service in Switzerland, Infomaniak was first a computer club in a Geneva garden shed. In 1990, the personal computer market was in full expansion, and the big brands were selling their computer equipment with very high markups.
In 1994, Fabian Lucchi and I – both self-taught computer enthusiasts - founded the company under the collective name Siegenthaler & Lucchi, Infomaniak to sell computers that we built ourselves. With competitive prices, custom recommendations, and quality services, the store quickly became a big success.
By the end of 1994, Fabien and I discovered the potential of the Internet, and gradually began to focus on website hosting. In June 1999, under my direction, the company became Infomaniak Network SA and offered web hosting services at prices well below those of the competition.
Today, Infomaniak is a neutral, independent web hosting service whose only shareholders are its founders. The company continues to focus on what made it a success in the first place: quality, "Swiss-made" products, easily accessible support, and a good value.
What services does Infomaniak offer?
Infomaniak offers shared SSD Web hosting, email hosting, SSD Cloud servers, housing, and streaming video and audio services. Since 2007, Infomaniak has also been a registrar who currently manages over 200,000 domain names.
Where are you based and how many people do you employ?
Our company runs three datacenters in Switzerland and all of our products are developed in our offices in Geneva. The company currently has 60 employees, all of which are based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Where do your customers come from? Could you give us some demographic data on your customers?
Infomaniak's customer base is composed of businesses (70%) and individuals (30%). Small to mid-sized businesses and organizations thus represent a significant portion of our sales. Some 30% of our customers come from France and Belgium, and our know-how also draws customers from throughout Europe.
Could you tell us more about the streaming services (and video/audio on demand services) provided by Infomaniak?
Over 300 FM radio stations use our streaming audio solution, and over the years, we have become a key player in audio and video streaming. The Solar Impulse solar airplane project, NRJ radio, or RTBF (Francophone Belgian Radio & Television) have chosen our video and audio streaming services. Infomaniak also offers a video on demand (VOD) and audio on demand (AOD) service.
Where are your datacenters based?
All our datacenters are located in Switzerland and Infomaniak is their sole owner. With a power usage efficiency (PUE) rating of less than 1.1, our latest datacenter is the most environment-friendly datacenter in Switzerland. As it is a Tier III+ datacenter, it does not require air conditioning to cool it down.
How does the partner agency program you have set up work?
We have over 1,000 partners/resellers in Europe. They enjoy our high end hostings for their customers, and they can freely re-invoice for all our services. They receive privileged access to our support, significant discounts on our products as well as many other advantages: free WordPress themes, (Elegant Themes, WooThemes, and Thrive Themes), free VOD space, free SSL certificates, SSD Web hosting, etc.
Would you say that you are more a domain name registrar or a web host -- or something else? How would you define your business?
Infomaniak has been hosting websites and email addresses for over 20 years. In 2007, it felt natural for us to offer a full service for managing domain names easily, and that's how we became a registrar. We would define ourselves as a registrar and host of online services because we host websites and email addresses, video and audio streaming, and also a professional newsletter tool.
Having founded and developed a company, what ideas/conclusions could you share with our readers who are entrepreneurs?
First, it's easy to have ideas. The hard thing is to make them a reality. To do this, outsourcing services and development is not necessarily a panacea in hosting online services. At Infomaniak, we design and develop most of our products internally because that lets us control the security and evolution of our products. Recently, we were able to quickly switch all our hostings to SSD technology, and our company was one of the first French-speaking hosts to offer free Let's Encrypt SSL certificates.
Secondly, it is possible to offer high-quality hosting at competitive prices while making the environment a priority. Since 2007, we have followed an approach aimed at significantly reducing our footprint on the environment. That way we fully offset all our CO2 emissions, we exclusively use renewable energies, we share our energy-management know-how, we are ISO 14001 and ISO 5001 certified and we have built the most environmentally-friendly datacenter in Switzerland. Consumers are sensitive to concrete, measurable actions in favor of the environment, and as an entrepreneur, it is essential to keep the environmental dimension in mind because companies have a big responsibility towards the future generations in terms of protecting the environment.
Lastly, it is important to remember why a company exists and for whom: to offer a quality service to its customers. With the growth of your company, it is therefore important to maintain quality relations with your clients and partners, all while staying attentive to the needs of your market and business sector.
What are your future development plans?
Infomaniak will soon be launching a complete solution for sending newsletters online. This tool will make it possible to measure the effectiveness of your mass mailing campaigns, to easily import contact lists and to create online registration forms in order to enrich your prospects database.
We have also begun the process of obtaining ISO 27001 certification, and we should soon begin to offer a new generation of Cloud SSD V2 servers with even better performance and increased redundancy for more reliability.
In parallel, we are constantly improving and enriching our existing products. It’s in our DNA to offer what is best in terms of technology and performance. This philosophy recently led us to replace all the traditional hard drives used for our hosting with latest-generation SSD drives.