By Abby Sorensen, Chief Editor
How a solo entrepreneur grew his software startup more than 4,000 percent in less than 10 years, thanks to a globally distributed workforce.
When Giacomo “Peldi” Guilizzoni founded Balsamiq in March 2008, he technically was working out of an office (his bedroom) in Italy. The former senior engineer at Adobe amassed more than 1,300 paying customers and $150,000 in revenue within six months and was operating at a healthy 80 plus percent margin as a solo entrepreneur. He turned heads in the software world when he opened Balsamiq’s books on his blog, including listing actual revenue and expenses. When employee number two came on board in March 2009, they were both still working out of Guilizzoni’s bedroom. That was really the only time the company had 100 percent of its employees working from an “office.” Employee number three was hired in May 2009, and she was based in San Francisco, a 9-hour time difference. Just like that, Balsamiq had support covered across the globe, a necessity since it already had customers in 56 countries. By the start of 2010, Balsamiq’s revenue had grown to more than $1.6 million, and employee number four — who was based in France — meant half of the company’s workforce was remote.