After cementing its leading position on the Georgian market, Proservice, the country’s first hosting company, is set to conquer foreign markets under a new brand and increase its customer base.
CEO Revaz Natroshvili told Golden Brand that the domain and brand name had already been selected, while technical work is underway to launch the website and integrate online payments.
“We plan to launch operations on the international market under the new brand. The number of internet users who want to start websites and put various software on the net is literally unlimited, and if Georgia also appears in this market and takes a worthy place worldwide, we will have even more motivation,” Natroshvili said.
Currently Proservice provides services to customers in Latin America, North America, Europe, and Asia.
“Mostly these are transnational companies which need to host servers, including in Georgia and the Caucasus region. As for the new target countries for our company, it’s hard to sort them out because there are no borders on the internet, it’s limitless. But our advertising campaign is now focused mainly on European countries.”
Operations on international markets are not the company’s only focus. Natroshvili says that in order not to hamper the company’s growth on the local market, they have purchased new equipment.
“80% of the capacity we have now is exhausted, and in order not to delay the growth, we have ordered new equipment in advance. Just like in manufacturing — more equipment means more resources. Everything changes and in order to remain competitive you need to invest and foster development. In a world of constant change, the winner is the one who plans ahead,” Natroshvili believes.
Established in 1999, the core activities of Proservice are creation of web sites, high quality and inexpensive web hosting (web, mail, ftp), registration of domain names, creation of electronic business cards, programming of service design, consulting and web promotion planning.
The company has over 15,000 corporate and individual customers, and more than 17,000 registered domain names.
“We have created more than 600 websites for private as well as state institutions,” Natroshvili told us.
In 2022 Proservice was the winner of the most influential local business award, the Golden Brand, for utmost success in its enterprise.
Q. Proservice has been operating on the Georgian market since 1999. It is interesting to compare the company’s activity to the market back then, when the information and technology sector was not yet developed.
A. Back then there were only two or three companies who were making websites. My brother, Goga Natroshvili was well aware of this issue, because he was interested in this field since childhood. At the beginning of the 90s we already had a computer at home — then it was called an IBM compatible computer, because visually it looked like an IBM, but was Soviet-made part. Goga and his friend used to write small programmes together, mainly just for fun.
When the company was founded, we had no staff because everyone was self-taught. But we managed to find several physics and mathematics graduates who were interested in programming. We did our first project for a construction company. We found that no internet provider offered web hosting to customers back then.
Don’t forget that this is still the time of modems and dial up. No one dreamed of the optical internet in the office or at home because it was very expensive. Besides, there was no culture of using e-mail.
I remember big companies didn’t take us seriously when we offered them domain registration and e-mail service. But the situation changed in about four years and these companies changed their minds when a foreign partner asked them for their website and e-mail addresses. Around 2003 the situation changed. We brought optical channels to the office and installed the first servers.
Q. And Proservice has established itself as the leader of the market …
A. It almost came naturally because we were simply the most experienced in this field. About 80% of the companies that created web projects and started similar activities with us no longer exist today. Unfortunately, even today companies cannot stay on the market more than two or three years, because it is necessary to follow new technologies, innovations, and new requirements constantly. You can’t lag behind the technology, competition is too fierce. And we have to compete not only with Georgian, but with foreign companies. There are only a few companies left from that time that are also successfully operating in web development.
If we talk about hosting alone, we are really the leaders here, because according to the latest data of the Communications Regulatory Commission, we hold slightly more than 30% of the Georgian market. Our customers are both private individuals and companies, ministries, municipalities, non-governmental and international organizations.
Q. What innovations have been introduced by Proservice onto the Georgian market?
A. We were one of the first in the field of e-commerce and one of the first to offer users online store software. This was back in 2007. But it was too early to talk about e-commerce in Georgia. Slowly the number of users has increased in Georgia as well, and probably by 2010-2011 the demand had also appeared. Also, we were the first and probably the only company to offer a hotel management and online reservation system based on Georgian software to the hospitality sector.
Q. Please introduce us to the data center that was created in 2019. What is its importance for the company and for businesses in Georgia?
A. Our data center meets all modern standards and technical specifications based on Schneider Electric continuous power supplies, cooling, monitoring, air humidity monitoring and safety systems. The data center has automatic air-conditioning equipment. Electric power is supplied from two independent supply points and is duplicated by two diesel generators provided with 24-hour reserve diesel fuel.
A private commercial data center of this standard and equipment was built for the first time in Georgia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development offered financial support in the projecting stage of the center, while later the EBRD financed us with 10% of the cost of the equipment we purchased. I would like to thank the Bank once again for its support.
After opening the data center we certainly had more opportunities and added many new services to our portfolio. I won’t go into technical details, but Proservice is not inferior to any European or American hosting provider in terms of service delivery.
The new multi-functional modern building accommodates the data center and offices. Along with increased capacity and pleasant working conditions for some 25 employees of the company, the new set up ensures the company’s competitiveness in Georgia and abroad. With the new data exchange center, Proservice is now exporting its services worldwide to potential customers using Google ads and other channels.