Category Archives: Technology

INTERVIEW: Stefano Buliani (founder of Cloudbase.io)


by Jake McMillan

Stefano Buliani Cloudbase

February 2013

On a stereotypical grey and wet London Sunday afternoon, I persuaded the founder of Cloudbase.io  (a technology service provider to mobile application developers), Stefano Buliani, to take a short break and talk to me about himself and his new venture. Surrounded by laptops, PCs and monitors, I joined him for a cup of tea in his Islington flat.

So would you describe yourself as part techie, part entrepeneur?
In a way yes, but, I am only entrepreneurial out of necessity. As a techie in a big company it is rare you get to do cool stuff, but by setting up my own business, I can do the cool techie things I am interested in.

You’ve been involved in quite a few successful  technology start ups, but this is your first very own venture?
More or less, I get wacky ideas every month about doing some project or business idea, but this is the first that has been developed into a real business. The start ups I have been involved in previously have been successful and they are all still going: Yoda, an Italy-based IT services company (now called Y-Tech); Meganexus, an online secure data sharing and monitoring service and most recently Covestor, an investment management service for people to follow experts in investment management.

Cloudbase.io is a very techie service, is it possible to explain what it is to a lay person?
Haha, yes, it is very techie, the market for Cloudbase.io is developers and entrepreneurs in the mobile phone sector. In simple terms Cloudbase.io is a smart cloud hosting service aimed specifically at mobile application developers. Rather than the developer having to spend a lot of time and money creating and supporting their own infrastructure cloudbase.io offers all of that right out of the box. Sign up and within minutes you are developing your app rather than spending your time configuring servers and writing your own backend code. We’ll take care of everything else.

How long has Cloubase.io been going?
It started last year (2012) and we already have a growing a customer base and support every single mobile platform available. The vision is for it to be the pipes of the mobile application industry.

Cloudbase uses the .io domain, which is set for the British Indian Ocean Territory, why is this?
The .io is actually a very geeky reference to input and output as this is exactly the service that cloudbase.io provides, data goes in and out.

And the name Cloudbase?
This is simply a combination of cloud and database. It has nothing to do with the headquarters in the sky of Spectrum from Captain Scarlet. I’m not THAT geeky.

What are the main benefits of Cloudbase.io?
I have already mentioned the speed to market. So the first point is saving time. No need for them to configure, develop and maintain a backend infrastructure. This means saving both time and money. Developers only have to pay when the app is actually up and running in an application store.

Cloudbase’s scalable infrastructure and will manage the growth and sale for you without requiring you to do any maintenance. If a company wanted to do this on their own it would take a lot of time and would be very expensive. So whether you are a kid developing an app in your garage or a large app development house, we make it easier for you.

Stefano Buliani Cloudbase Interview

Here you are working hard on a Sunday, does this mean you are a workaholic?
[laughs] No, I’m not a workaholic, but I do have a slight problem or case of OCD when I have an idea. I cannot sit still or relax until I have thought it all through or resolved it.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I like to travel, ride motorbikes and go to the pub! I am also involved in a charity (Adventure Ashram) that provides education in rural india and help to organise fundraising events every year.

How is it being an Italian in London?
I love being in London! I’ve been here since 2005 but maybe moving to Vancouver in the future as my partner is from there.

Cloudbase.io is made up of quite an international team isn’t it?
That’s correct, the team come from all over the world. This partly reflects the international nature of London and it is good to be able to draw on global pool of talent. This is important as Cloudbase is a service that is not restricted to a certain country or territory.

I understand that all your IT knowledge is self-taught?
Yes, that’s right. This comes from being an IT geek at high school and I’ve haven’t stopped since!

Do you have any advice or tips for someone starting up their own business?
If you are going to start a business, do it and dedicate yourself to it. However, avoid working from home as it can become an obsession. It can be difficult to get a good work/life balance as you can easily let it take over and you need to find a way to disconnect and switch off. For me, it means not working from home, but going to an office but when I come home, I am going home to relax, not to work.

Who do you look up to?
Steve Jobs, John D Carmack (CTO at ID Software) and a Doctor friend of mine in India.

What kind of boss are you?
I like to think I’m a good boss as people seem to be happy to work for me. I think the team realise I understand techie’s, as I am one, and so gain respect this way. I also give people the freedom to work they want to. I tell them two things, what needs to be done and the delivery date. The rest is up to them, I’m not going to micro manage them.

What 5 things would you take with you to a desert island?
[after quick discussion of which ocean it is in – Pacific is agreed upon] I would take my swimming trunks, my girlfriend and my offroad bike.

But that’s only 3 things and one of those, the swimming trunks, is not entirely necessary?
Those three things will do me nicely [smiles].

Stefani Buliani Cloudbase 1 Stefani Buliani Cloudbase 2 Stefani Buliani Cloudbase 3


Space Bacon


by Jake McMillan

How much do you think it would cost to carry out your very own space mission? Millions of pounds? Nope, you can do it for £200 and even buy the equipment off the internet!

To test out the new GoPro cameras Flyonthewall.uk.com are selling, they are daring to send a Bacon Explosion into space! The Flyonthewall Bacon into Space Team will achieve this using a helium weather balloon they bought from Amazon and attaching it to a ‘baconcraft’ they have designed along with around 300g of bacon.

The balloon will carry the baconcraft known as Pigasus I, 30 miles straight up into the sky and into space. At 30 miles in height the balloon will disintegrate and Pigasus I will begin to plummet and a parachute will open with a terminal velocity expected of 15.7mph.

Pigasus I

As the Bacon into Space Team are complete amateurs with no history of space engineering whatsoever, this mission proves that great technology is actually extremely affordable and conducting your own space mission is very doable. However, it still requires a lot of preparation, head-scratching, planning and good luck with the weather.

The U.K.-based team feel confident they may be able to launch in January if the weather and wind direction are correct. Not only did the Bacon into Space Team have to be sure of their science and mathematics, they also needed permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. To gain approval, this mission had to be carefully thought out and planned, with a clear focus on safety.

Flyonthewall Bacon into Space Team

The team plan to launch Pigasus I from John Coles Park in Chippenham and although the weather forecast looks good for this weekend, they need the wind to be travelling in an Easterly direction otherwise it will not be safe to launch. Dave Langdale, one of the Flyonthewall Bacon into Space Team, told me that if the wind is travelling any other way then Pigasus I could end up flying to RAF Brize Norton or towards Bristol Airport, which would not be safe. Pilots and airplane passengers might get nervous if they saw a flying pig … but who would believe them?!

Although Dave and his Bacon into Space colleagues are confident, he explained there are still a number of things that can go wrong:

  • there could be a small hole in the balloon which would mean it would take longer to go up (they are expecting the whole space mission to last 3.5hrs from take off to landing) and will be more affected by the wind;
  • they need to be able to follow and find Pigasus I when it lands (they are using a Windows phone to track it via GPS);
  • If the wind calculations aren’r right Pigasus I could blow right off the edge of the country or worse, into London city centre

Richard Linford, Managing Director of Flyonthewall.uk.com, told me, ‘This is a very exciting project and I shall be having my fingers crossed for the weather this weekend.  I will be eagerly awaiting the video footage captured from the space mission. It really does prove that state of the art technology can actually be affordable and this is a philosophy we have used across the Flyonthewall product range’.

I wish the team the very best of luck!

Related content:
Space Bacon Blog
Flyonthewall