Morfik - Development Tools for Rich Internet Applications

Vishal Monday, July 07, 2008 , , , , , ,

Today we showcase an exciting and a successful technology business co-founded by Aram Mirkazemi, from Tasmania, Australia. Morfik - a commercial vendor of professional software development tools. Morfik was established to address the need for an integrated high-end development tool that empowers software developers to leverage their existing skills to build Rich Internet Applications without the need to master Web technologies such as HTML/CSS/HTTP/SOAP etc.

In a recent email based interview with Aram, he gave insights into his venture and how he is progressing with it. This is what he has to say:

• Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?
I am a professional software developer with many years of entrepreneurial experience in developing commercial CAD systems and Web Application Development tools. My interests are Rapid Application Development (RAD), Integrated Development Environments (IDE), Rich Internet Applications (RIA) Using Ajax and emerging technologies, protocols and standards.

• Who are the people behind this and how it started?
After a very successful venture in Electronic Design Automation (CAD) that resulted in an Initial Public Offering in 1999, myself and Sharam Besharati (another former Protel employee) started Morfik in 2000.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
Our vision of using the web technologies to develop applications that rival the desktop was considered by many as too radical and unachievable in year 2000. Developing an integrated professional tool to achieve our vision necessitated inventing several new techniques and enabling technologies without circumventing existing standards. It took five years of research and development before all pieces of the puzzle fitted together and we were ready to deliver the first public beta of our flagship product.

• What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
To help software developers who have missed the professional Web development opportunities to join the game and leapfrog to the top.

• What type of customers you are targeting?
Software developers who are not active in web application development, as well as existing web developers who prefer to use a professional Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

• How many people are using your services?
We have had over 10,000 downloads to date

• What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
Internet marketing mainly

• How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
Number of licenses sold!

• What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is there any new model, which is being tried?
We prefer the simplicity of the long-established sale of software licenses. Should there be a demand we will also consider offering a simple subscription model similar to Microsoft’s MSDN.

• Which are the main competitors or major players in this market segment?
The main players are Microsoft, Adobe and Google. However, only Microsoft offers a commercial Integrated Development Environment. Microsoft, Adobe, and Google promote different exclusive technologies. As a development platform, Morfik follows the established standards and is more inclusive. Morfik applications can incorporate some of the technologies promoted by these players. So while commercially competitors, technologies offered by these vendors do not necessarily compete with the Morfik platform.

• What are the main technologies used behind this venture?
Compilers, Relational Database, Web Servers and W3C standards.

• Are you using lot of open source tool sets for this?
No

• What is your operating environment (operating system) and what type of database you are using?
The development environment is Microsoft Windows. Morfik web applications can run both on Windows or Linux based operating systems including Mac OSX.

• What’s your thought on being an entrepreneur? How tough it is to start a venture in Australia?
Being an entrepreneur is one of the greatest and most fulfilling journeys in life. It is very easy to be an entrepreneur; you just need to work hard!

• What’s your thought on the start-ups culture and innovation coming out of Australia especially in Software?
There are great Australian software start-ups that are world class. But unfortunately they go mostly unnoticed until they have success oversees. This has resulted in a cultural gap between start ups and the support infra-structure that helps them get started.

• The conventional computing model is shifting to Cloud computing which is comprised of SAAS, PAAS and IAAS (infrastructure). This has resulted in changes to conventional monetising model? How do you see the future of business in terms of technology and revenue model?
With cloud computing now being well on its way to deliver computing as a utility, businesses need to change their focus from IT infra-structure to business intelligence and automation. The market will no doubt experiment with new revenue models and over time the right model will emerge. In terms of software development tools no significant change in revenue model is necessary. The simplicity of either sale of licences or a subscription models will serve the purpose.

• What do you think the government (federal and state) should do to improve the culture of innovation and the telecom industry?
They are already doing a great job with the R&D tax rebate and export marketing grants. The federal and state governments are the largest user of ICT technologies. My advice to them is to look at home first otherwise in many cases you will be paying a lot more to buy Australian technology from overseas!

• If you are given an opportunity to change the nation, what 3 things you will do?
I will invest in that which will put Australia in the forefront of globalisation.
I will reward all innovation by assisting in its commercialisation.
I will reward productivity through profit sharing.

• How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up? Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
We are regular visitors and exhibitors in Information Technology conferences and forums around the world. There are no dedicated communities in our city.

• Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
Don’t talk about it, just do it.

• Any external funding – from VC, Govt, Self funded
Morfik is self-funded

• Which City you are based in?
Hobart, Tasmania

Thanks Aram for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for future.

For coverage on other Australian startups, innovation, tech trends check this out and our coverage on interviews can be found here

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