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Interview with Sebastiano Bertani (Tanaza)

Today, we had the chance to interview Sebastiano Bertani, the Co-Founder and CEO of Tanaza.

Tanaza is a Milan based startup that provides a centralized (cloud-based) service to manage Wi-Fi Access Points, without any expensive dedicated hardware controller. The young company, which was founded in 2011, aims to provide its customers (IT managers / Small Businesses) with enterprise level performance, at a fraction of the cost.

Enjoy the interview and also make sure to watch the informative video about Tanaza below this article.

EU-Startups.com: When have you or your co-founders had the idea for Tanaza and what made you sure it was the right one?

Sebastiano Bertani: The idea started to come out in 2008-2009. At that time me and the other co-founders were installing various access points in our houses and all had the same problem: managing them in an effective way. We started thinking that a centralized dashboard would be very useful for us: it would have solved a real pain that we had. In the meantime, while working for Accenture, I discovered that the problem managing Wi-Fi was very common in all kind of companies, from Small Businesses to Large Enterprises. We started to develop a prototype just for fun, but in 2009 we started to believe in the possibility to create a real startup, as the answer from some System Integrators was amazing.

EU-Startups.com: How did you finance the startup-phase of Tanaza and who invested?

Sebastiano Bertani: Tanaza was financed by OrmaPrima, an investing private Italian firm focused on high-tech ICT startups. It’s made by a group of professionals with strong background in the telecommunication and wireless industry: they understood quickly the concept of Tanaza and the market potential of cloud-based compatible Wi-Fi controller.

EU-Startups.com: What makes Tanaza’s solution to manage Wi-Fi Access Points unique or better than other solutions out there?

Sebastiano Bertani: We are the only company offering a solution that is 100% compatible with third party products. We can literally add centralized enterprise-level
features to consumer-level access points, without changing any device or firmware. Thanks to our innovation, which is IP protected, we can deliver the lowest-cost solution to the market.

EU-Startups.com: The basic version of Tanaza is completely free and enables users to
manage two Access Points. Aside of the free plan, users can buy credits ($1.99 per month) in order to handle additional AP’s. How many AP’s does the typical Tanaza user manage and when are you going to launch a premium plan for unlimited Access Points?

Sebastiano Bertani: We have two kinds of customers: end users and system integrators. End users are Small Businesses, Hotels, Schools and usually have a network made by 3 to 20 access points. End users with IT skills can directly manage their
networks through Tanaza. Non skilled end users can do it through a System Integrator. System Integrators usually have 5 to 10 customers and manage multiple networks through their Tanaza centralized dashboard, getting volume discount. We are also going to launch a Lead User Program, in order to allow unlimited access to our “special” customers.

EU-Startups.com: Right now Tanaza.com is available in English, Italian, French, German and Chinese (through google translator). Are there any plans to add even more languages soon (with or without the help of google translator) and which ones are these most likely to be?

Sebastiano Bertani: As we provide the lowest-cost Wi-Fi management solution, we think that BRIC countries are going to be an interesting market, as noone there can afford an enterprise-level solution. For this reason, our website will be soon translated into new languages, starting from Chinese. Google translation is just a temporary solution as we are aware that genuine translation are more effective.

EU-Startups.com: What is your impression about Tanaza’s market acceptance so far and what kind of marketing strategies do you use in order to promote your product and Tanaza as a brand?

Sebastiano Bertani: Tanaza is considered by many IT experts as a very ambitious project: in fact, managing Access Points by Netgear, Ubiquiti, TP-Link, D-Link and other is a difficult challenge. People that see that we can do it are usually amazed, as we solve a very specific problem right from the cloud, which is cost-effective. Our marketing strategy is based on the freemium concept + an aggressive value pricing: users can try Tanaza for free with a limited number of access points and see how it works; then they can convert to premium customers, at a price that is perceived as very low, in comparison to the value received. Regarding communication, we rely mainly on engaging Lead Users and PR in generating content about Tanaza. It’s usually a good story to tell.

EU-Startups.com: Could you give us a brief overview of your roadmap for the next 12 months and maybe a sense of where you’d like to see Tanaza in about 3 years from now?

Sebastiano Bertani: In the next 12 months we are going to support more than 50 models of Access Points, including the main models from top-leading brands such as TP-Link, D-Link, Netgear, Ubiquiti, Xirrus and some low cost solutions.

Our long term mission is to become the global price leader in the Wi-Fi Management solutions market.

EU-Startups.com: Is Tanaza hiring right now? And if so, what kind of talent are you looking for?

Sebastiano Bertani: Yes, we are hiring talented R&D web and java developers, Quality Assurance managers, Tech Support reps., Marketing & Sales managers. We are growing
and structuring our processes and functions.

EU-Startups.com: How is your experience with Milan as a location to start a company?

Sebastiano Bertani: Italian startup environment is getting better and better every year, and Milan is a good place to start a company. We know that places like Silicon Valley would offer some advantage, but we believe it’s also possible here, if you work with a flexible lean structure. We have a wide network of relationships with US, Taiwan, China and India, where we outsource non-core activities to the best professionals: user experience designers, web developers, marketing partners and communication partners.

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Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr is the "Editor in Chief" of EU-Startups.com and started the blog in October 2010. He is excited about Europe's future, passionate about new business ideas and lives in Barcelona (Spain).

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