As Caesar once said, “Experience is the teacher of all things”. For Varfaj(var-eh-phi) Partners, this compass points true north. After one of their core founding members, Steve Schwartz, spent time working for Accenture, he realized that there was an underserved niche in the startup and mid-market web-development space. This market had the same needs as the clients he was working with at Accenture, but without the bankroll to finance contracts with bigger firms. He quickly collaborated with a few close peers, Jared Wolff and David Conforti, who both joined him to become founding partners. As a team, they decided pursuing this niche could be a great opportunity, as long as they kept the company lean.
Proving what they lacked in experience, they more than made up for with their desire to grow and learn - they had created a contagious rapport with their clients that was generating referrals and growing business. After a quick 2 years, the thing that differentiates Varfaj is no longer their youth, but instead the extensive list of blue-chip clients including: Mark Cuban Companies, The Guardian, and Colliers International. All the while, they have managed to grow the team while maintaining the same lean, hungry mentality.
Notable Milestones From Year One:
- $850k in revenue
- 100+ projects
- Features on Shark Tank and Masterclass
Their success uncovered new challenges. The Varfaj team didn’t want to lose sight of what drove them to the top and their ability to stay lean was a cornerstone of their strategy.
But how can a company growing so quickly find a way to become more efficient and capable at the same time?
As they searched for a way to solve this piece of the puzzle, the team consulted with and eventually hired web consultant Kyle Wilson as their CTO. Kyle had been using Cycle to solve this problem for other projects he was working on and was having a great result. Through Kyle, the team met with Jake Warner (Cycle’s CEO), and during that meeting Cycle’s story resonated with what they were trying to solve.
Jake explained in the meeting that when he was running his own dev shop, before starting Cycle, the number one problem he was running into was setting up, managing, and updating environments and servers for new projects. It was a nightmare because every project felt like it carried a one to two-week ramp-up time. So from that experience he decided to build Cycle - a platform where you can now get an environment set up in about 5 minutes with full load balancing, discovery, networking, DNS, and VPN.
“The amount of incoming work there was to manage - new projects and just the whole thing was really getting serious”, Kyle told us, “with Cycle the whole team agreed that we’d be able to quickly set up our environments and onboard new clients — all the while migrating existing projects so that we had one place to manage everything. Now things are just way simpler.”
At the moment, Cycle saves us nearly 100 hours a month with managed projects, which is something we’re really focused on growing. Every time we add a project to Cycle, we see that number go up, it translates to thousands of dollars in savings per month.- Kyle Wilson | CTO
Embracing this approach was more than just a way to get more done with their existing team, it meant that they could automate a huge majority of their DevOps and infrastructure management tasks, with software that all of their engineers and team members could use. That meant fewer bottlenecks, better efficiency, and automatic platform updates across all their infrastructure.
“This is a step towards being able to offer not just more complex applications, but also a way to package the entire modern stack together, which includes managing deployments, infrastructure, and updating the software,” Jared says, “previously we had to walk away from projects like those, simply because we didn’t want to bring on 3-5 additional engineers to manage the operations and administration tasks.”
Hiring that many additional engineers would have bloated our bottom line by a half-million dollars per year. Now with Cycle, that’s all solved upfront.- Jared Wolff | COO
Saving that much on specialized engineering will definitely move the needle, David moved on to explain - “we don’t need to worry about hiring specifically for DevOps or cloud skills really at all, we can teach new developers containers pretty quickly and Cycle takes maybe a few days to understand - at least when you’re using the portal”. So for Varfaj, their lean methodology can stay intact while they grow the team, knowing that even with their fully remote workforce, they won’t be worried about creating major bottlenecks in their work. “There’s a lot of value in how we solve problems”.
At the end of the day, scaling a dev shop really comes down to how much value you can deliver on each project. With Cycle that’s been a lot easier for us.- David Conforti | Managing Partner
As Varfaj continues to scale up we’re excited to see just how far they will go. To check out their website, including some of their featured works, head over to varfaj.com.