Meet Incomedia’s CEO, Federico Ranfagni
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Italy – a country synonymous with the mighty Roman Empire, acclaimed wine, and some of the worlds best food. To be honest, not the first place, where you would expect a successful software company to be located. However, founded in 1998, Italian software developer Incomedia has a global reputation for its web design tools and is well respected within the industry. With WebSite X5, the company offers a tool for building homepages in a modular system –equally suitable for companies and start-ups as for individual home users. Federico Ranfagni, Incomedia founder and CEO tells us about the “early days”, the changing needs of users, and future plans for the software.
Federico, what was your first contact with software, and what led to the founding of Incomedia? Where you just inspired by the possibilities of web software, or was there something which you didn’t like in other tools – so you decided to make it better yourself?
In 1998 my brother Stefano and I decided to found Incomedia. We were 24 and 26 years old with very different interests and work experiences.
Right from when I was young I’ve always been interested in meeting new people, networking and sales techniques. It was natural for me to be the one involved in sales and business matters. Stefano started using the ZX Spectrum when he was child and was always passionate about computers and videogames and so he was involved in the technical development side. Together we had a dream: to create innovative, easy to use software for the digital life to allow people to be creative, to achieve professional results.
How has the general market and the needs of your users changed since then and what is the challenge for Software in the next years?
I’m very happy to say that most of our users are very loyal because they bought their first Website X5 6-8 years ago and year after year they have upgraded their version. Obviously they always want more features in the software and that’s why we’re still here. We really invest on R&D for the development of Website X5 and every time we launch a new version ii really is a new product with many new features to satisfy our customer base.
The challenge for software? The software companies that create really productive, powerful software and devices to improve work productivity and improve leisure time activities will be the winners. That could be companies with free and practical tools like Pocket, but also business-helpers for everyone like CleverBridge.
Honestly what’s your favorite non-Incomedia software and why??
I started to use Excel many years ago. Excel is much easier to use than some of its competitors, it integrates well with other applications, and it has become a kind of universal tool in the business world.
Looking back at the early stage and your first idea of WebSite X5. How much of it is still included in the current version?
The “soul and the heart” of the software is still the same and it’s the secret of our success.
You don’t need any programming skills to create a website with WebSite X5, all you need is a mouse! You work with a fully-visual intuitive interface, with plenty of previews of your work that are constantly updated in real time.
If you were planning a visit to Italy for the first time where would you go and why?
I would suggest you visit Milan.
Milan is the centre of fashion and design. It’s an industrial city but always enjoyable and always elegant. Some of the must see places to visit – the classic Gothic cathedral, the impressive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Teatro alla Scala.
The new WebSite X5 12 was released last autumn in three different versions. Can you tell us the main differences in brief and for what kind of user they are designed respectively?
The three versions are for our different types of users and are geared to their needs for making websites. WebSite X5 12 Home is the basic packet with a lot of templates for building simple sites, e.g. for your local basketball team. It’s mainly for representing someone or something, like a digital business card. The Evolution version is for the average consumer and is the most popular one. With this version, you have SEO-Features and it is possible to include blogs and online-shops. The Professional version is for the pros. With this model you can also create an app connected to the website, or you can swap content dynamically in the background. This version is perfect for regularly changing graphics like a menu of the day in a restaurant.
How easy would it be for a novice in web design to build a website with your program and why? How long would this take?
It’s difficult to say exactly, how long this would take, but even a beginner in web design is able to build a simple homepage in about one hour with WebSite X5. There are mainly five steps, you have to consider during the implementation: Select the graphics, choose the structure, pick out the design, build in individual options and publish the page. That’s it! WebSite X5 is designed, to make these steps as fast and as easy as possible.
Is Incomedia exhibiting at any events in the next months, where interested users could meet you?
We are going to be at Gamescom in Germany in Summer 2016 and also at CeBIT in Germany in March 14 -18 2016.
WebSite X5 is represented mainly in Italy and Germany. What’s the reason for that in your opinion?
We are an Italian company and we started our business in Italy. Between 1998 and 2005 our main sales focus was Italy. In 2006 we decided to grow our business internationally and we decided to start from Germany, the first European market for software sales. This decision was absolutely correct. The German people love Website X5 and its Italian design. We had invested a lot of time and effort to get into the German market. Our software is still on the shelves in many retail stores and we promote it through all the most important ICT magazines.
Are there any plans and changes for the future which you share with us so that our readers get an idea of where Incomedia will be in a few years’ time? Are you going to develop website-building-solutions for mobile devices f.e. or are there any new features yet, you can tell us about?
Actually we are currently discussing new business ideas internally related to the software Website X5 but it’s too early to tell you anything. Let’s just say … stay tuned and you’ll find out the new changes.
Last question: How would you convince an undecided user to buy WebSite X5? What would you tell him?
I usually say: “Time is money”, so why would you want to waste your time and money using very complicated tools for the creation of websites? Website X5 is the easiest tool to use. It saves you valuable time and therefore allows you to earn more money.