Endurance International Group or EIG owns a number of popular webhosting companies, including Bluehost, HostGator, and A Small Orange. It’s also an investor in Automattic, parent company of WordPress.com. While I’ve read and heard a number of complaints from people in the WordPress community about EIG owned companies, I’ve never looked into how EIG started.
Forbes India has a great article that highlights how Hari Ravichandran, founder of EIG, started and funded the company. In 1997, Ravichandran spent $8K in savings on advertising in Wired and PC Magazine offering to help people create an online presence. After two weeks of no responses, Ravichandran received a call from a bookstore which ultimately became the first customer of his webhosting business.
Ravichandran goes on the describe the highs and lows of the dotcom crash of 2000 and how the company almost went under due to the lack of advertising revenue, “Advertisers started backing off and our revenue dropped dramatically,” Ravichandran told Forbes India. “When things go bad, the venture guys start running for the hills.”
After laying off most of his staff and converting 2% of his existing customers to a subscription model, Ravichandran was able to make the company break even in 2002. One of the tidbits of information I picked up from the article is that Ravichandran renamed his company from BizLand to Endurance after reemerging on the other side of the dotcom bust.
There’s also a few other noteworthy items in the article. For instance, EIG is expected to rake in $1B in revenue this year and their subscriber base is about 5.4 million customers. Also, the company is 20 years old.
It’s great to see how far Ravichandran has come and what he’s accomplished since spending $8K on advertising in 1997. While BizLand could have easily crumbled like so many other companies during the dotcom bust, he persevered and continues to manage a successful business.