Meet Michael Dudli, Founder and CEO at XELON, and Ueli Schwegler, Director Cloud Infrastructure Unit

Congratulations on the two new business units at XELON! Can you elaborate on the decision to split XELON into two business units, Cloud Infrastructure and Cloud Platform? What were the motivations behind this strategic change?

Michael: Thank you! As a company, focus is key. We have identified a new potential direction and customer profile, which is different to what we did in the past. The split into two units allows us to tailor the mission, teams, go-to-market strategy, and even branding.

What challenges and opportunities does a change like this bring for a company? And how did you overcome these challenges, and utilise the opportunities?

Ueli: The new structure enables us to strengthen our core business and respond more flexibly to the changing needs of our customers.

Michael: While splitting up the profit, loss, and teams was quite straight forward, internal communication and process changes were often challenging. How does the monthly all-hands look, all together, or two separate all-hands? What information should be shared across the units?

It took more time than expected and we had to implement changes on the go. But as I said before, the new organizational structure allows us now to tailor the two units exactly to their core mission.

Ueli, as the director of the Cloud Infrastructure Unit, what sets your product apart from other providers in the Swiss IT market? Can you discuss some of the key features of the platform?

Ueli: Besides the reliability, scalability, security, and cost-efficiency our Cloud Infrastructure offers,we often hear from our customers that they highly value our support. They appreciate the opportunity to discuss their projects, challenges, and issues with real people who understand their needs, can add value, and communicate openly.

Michael, could you share some insights into the specific goals of the Cloud Platform unit that you’ll be leading? What unique value does it aim to offer customers?

Michael: The platform was initially developed to solve problems Xelon was not able to solve by using existing solutions in the market, such as missing multi-tenancy capability, billing issues, and lack of Cloud-native functionalities. After we developed the platform, we were contacted by many companies and even competitors that have the same issues with their own Cloud Infrastructures. We will help these companies to run and operate proper hybrid Clouds.

The XELON team has over 30 employees. What learning could you share from the hiring process of these talents? How do you approach building and maintaining a good culture within the team? Has this process changed over time?

Michael: Cultural fit is a crucial criterion in our hiring process. While skills can often be learned on the job, some shared values like openness, efficiency, and solution-oriented thinking are nonnegotiable to me. As Xelon grows, we as leaders have to make more conscious efforts to live and reinforce our values.

Michi, as the founder of XELON, reflecting on the growth of XELON over the past few years, can you share some key insights into how the company have changed during this time?

Michael: A 3-people company is totally different than a 10-people company, a 10-people company totally different than a 25-people company, etc. As a founder, you have to change and grow into the next level, depending on your growth rate sometimes within just a few months. This is very challenging, time consuming, and intense, but crucial. You will run into new issues at every level.

Make sure you surround yourself with a peer network of founders that are ahead of you, to discuss these topics, and get advice. Become an SSA member, this helps a lot!

How do you both see the landscape of Cloud Infrastructure management evolving in the next few years, and where does XELON see itself positioned?

Ueli: Like many studies show, the demand for Cloud solutions has not yet stagnated and we see more and more IT companies migrating their IT infrastructures to the Cloud. We want to be the leading Cloud Infrastructure provider for IT teams. One of the main hurdles when planning Cloud migrations is the fear of losing control over the data and systems in the Cloud. However, with the right security measures, this risk can be minimized. We pride ourselves in accompanying our customers on their whole Cloud journey to tackle any potential risks together.

Do you have any advice or learnings to share for someone who is aiming to scale their startup and business?

Michael: Sustainable growth is only possible when you have the right people on board.

Ueli: I agree, the team and culture are key to success. I am sure that every team member has contributed to the development of Xelon.

Michael: And never stop learning from others, even if it means giving up previously held concepts.

XELON has decided to join the Swiss Startup Association, what was the reason behind this decision? How can the Swiss Startup Association support startups better?

Michael: Already in the early days of Xelon, we recognized that a strong startup ecosystem, like the one created by the SSA, benefits everyone. I strongly believe that interacting with like-minded people facing similar challenges is an important step in the learning process.

Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you would like to share with us?

Michael: We often get asked how we manage to attract highly sought-after IT talents. I think, even as a small company or a startup, you can hire and retain IT professionals by offering a work environment that allows them to grow with the company.

Connect with Michael and Ueli on LinkedIn, and find XELON here.


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