Millstream Web Software - Easy Content Management

Today we explore an exciting venture in web-based content management software - Millstream. It was founded in 2006 by Adrian Lynch from Perth, Australia.

In a recent email-based interview with Adrian, 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 studied Graphic Design, graduating in 1990, and have run my own businesses since then. I have always been extremely interested in the technical side of 'design' especially developing automated systems to remove the incredible amount of wasted effort that goes into publishing.

I still do a bit of design work, but I now spend most time coding or on system design.

• What is the name of your venture/company?
Millstream Web Software, our product is Spring CMS.

• Please tell us about your venture/company?
Since 2006 we have focused on turning Millstream from a 'web design company' into a product-based 'SaaS provider offering Spring CMS, a simple-to-use, standards-based content management system.

• Who are the people behind this and how it started?
I started a graphic design partnership called 'The House' in 1990 focusing on corporate identity and magazine publishing.

In 1996 we started to offer web design services to our existing clients, and within the next year, I started experimenting with database-driven sites and the rudimentary development of our first content management system.

In 1997 I moved into a new partnership with Haymarket, a printing and publishing company to focus on managing their existing print clients and introducing full web development services. This new partnership called Millstream, developed several custom-built CMSs over the years which we could deploy for all our clients, but we also offered general development services, static sites and design.

In March 2006, my wife Rosemary Lynch and I bought out Millstream, and 'Spring CMS' the content management system that we had been developing for the last year. The focus for Millstream from then on has been to offer a single subscription-based solution to our clients.

The business now consists of myself, Rosemary and our developer Christian Inkster.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
When we took over Millstream in 2006, we started with the existing Spring CMS and a long list of clients. Over the next 6 months, we completely refocused the business, no longer offering 'general web services' or custom development. We shed quite a few of the initial clients that did not suit the new business and concentrated on building our subscription base.

• What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
We are entirely focused on development and adding new features to Spring CMS allowing us to expand the number of monthly subscriptions to increase revenue.

• What services does it provide for consumers or customers?
Spring CMS was initially designed to allow us, as designers, to deploy sites for our clients that provided an extremely simple management interface for clients to use, while at the same time being adaptable to any site design.

This allows us to use the identical centrally installed system for small business clients through to large national clients.

• What type of customers/people you are targeting?
Primarily small to medium businesses - though we do have several national and international clients. We also have a large number of private schools using our system.

• What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
We have established strategic alliances with several design and marketing firms in Australia - and the majority of work is now through them. We also have a significant number of clients that have been through word of mouth.

We have also released several scripts developed and used in Spring as Open Source which generate a lot of traffic and interest.

• How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
We measure success purely by the number of monthly subscriptions.

• What's your thought on being an aspiring entrepreneur?
The benefits far outweigh the risks, that is for sure. Personally, the ability to completely focus the direction of the business, and to maintain and develop that focus over several years is something I have never felt I could achieve unless I ran my own business.

• What do you think the government (federal and state) should do to improve the culture of innovation?
I think the 'innovators' are out there doing it already - with or without government support. I am not convinced the government need to do anything or if it's even the government's problem.

• If you are allowed to change the nation, what 3 things you will do?
Only one thing, I'd make sure that the National Broadband Network was nothing less than FTTH (Fibre to the Home) - we are rapidly falling behind, and anything less than full FTTH will be a pitiful waste of effort by the time it rolls out.

• 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?
I catch up regularly (though not enough) with the web community in Perth and Australia through AWIA and Port80. Twitter of course keeps me up-to-date with the minute-by-minute tweets of most of the Perth crowd. Luckily the Perth web community is extremely vocal and extremely well-connected - it's a great place to be a developer.

• Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
Only what has worked for me, Focus on what you know, and what solves your problems - because it more than likely solves problems for a lot of other people as well.

Adrian for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for the future.

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