To explain the origins of Zoey, we must start with Pixafy, a web development agency I founded in October 2010. Pixafy focused on building eCommerce sites using the Magento Enterprise platform and had a portfolio of clients that processed over $300M per year in revenue. I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished as a company, and in October 2015, I sold Pixafy to focus full-time on Zoey.
In the course of my work at Pixafy, I quickly realized that Magento development was far more expensive and complicated than it needed to be. As an engineer, I believe that if you have to do something twice, it should be automated. In 2013, I began the journey of trying to automate Magento development based on several different hypotheses about what made it so complicated.
OUR FIRST ATTEMPTS TO MAKE MAGENTO DEVELOPMENT ACCESSIBLE
Our first version of the product was called “Herculo”. This version focused on the problems related to scaling Magento web hosting, and the output was a Magento optimized hosting platform. We invested a lot of time, resources and money into building a set of configurations and automations to scale Magento sites. We paired this approach with a user-friendly admin panel that allowed customers to manage their hosting on their own. We quickly learned that while we solved a part of the problem, Herculo didn’t solve all the problems.
Our second attempt was called “Rapid Development”. With Rapid Development, we were able to make a significant dent in the time to deploy these stores, as well as reduce the cost of building them. However, while we were able to make these strides, it became clear that a merchant still needed a developer to configure and maintain everything. Magento and its apps were designed to be supported by developers, and modifications had to be made in the code itself. This was the “ah-ha” moment. We needed to transform Magento from a developer-centric platform to a merchant-centric platform.
ZOEY: THE FIRST TRUE MAGENTO SAAS
Zoey was born July 2, 2014 and based on Magento Community Edition 1.9. We began reshaping its architecture and features to focus on merchant use cases, as well as the technical requirements of a Software-as-a-Service platform. In doing so, we became our own platform, separate from Magento Community Edition, but compatible with its ecosystem. This means that while Zoey still works with many Magento extensions, its intended use is far different from Community Edition.
We believe that custom development shouldn’t be the only path to a rich, powerful eCommerce site. Magento was built at a time when the tools available were far less powerful and sophisticated than they are today. Ecommerce platforms used to be evaluated on the number of features that they offered out of the box, because it saved developers countless hours of work. Today, eCommerce platforms are evaluated on how seamlessly they fit into existing business operations.
The fact that Magento still relies on custom development instead of seamless deployment shows that it is a relic from a previous time. Zoey’s approach largely removes the need for custom code development. We focus on providing merchants with an enterprise level eCommerce platform that doesn’t ask them to understand and manage all of its underlying code and components.
We understand that SaaS isn’t for everyone and that it doesn’t solve every use case. However, the overwhelming majority of sites do largely benefit from this model. With Zoey, merchants are able to leverage incredible functionality that was previously only available with a six figure price tag and months of work performed by a team of a dozen people.
We, along with our customers, believe that any tradeoffs that come from being a SaaS platform are worth it. Things that used to be a massive headache like managing app compatibility with software updates, maintaining security, and ensuring server uptime all go away with Zoey. This frees up a business to reallocate an already limited supply of time, money and energy towards high ROI activities like growing sales, enhancing logistics and R&D.
The future of Zoey
Zoey’s future is brimming with potential. We are attempting to transform the direction of an entire industry. Join the thousands of merchants who have already seen the amazing benefits of transitioning from older platforms, or more limiting SaaS solutions, to Zoey. Our roadmap reflects the voice of our community, larger market trends and some very unique ideas that we believe will shape eCommerce for years to come.
I look forward to powering your store and helping you grow your revenue!
Founder and President, Zoey Inc.