Bruno Leveque began working on PrestaShop as a personal challenge while completing his University degree. Collaborating with close friends who consisted of business owners and developers, Bruno realized the need for a free online shopping solution with strong community involvement. Bruno launched the first version of PrestaShop in May 2007. Today PrestaShop is the leading Open-source e-commerce solution used by more than 100,000 online stores. The company has 80 passionate employees and 300,000 Community members who actively offer suggestions, contributions, and encouragement. Bruno strives to keep PrestaShop available to everyone at no cost and is dedicated to remaining Open-source.
PrestaShop is the lightest, fastest, and easiest to manage e-commerce solution. PrestaShop offers thousands of extremely satisfied merchants, developers, designers, and partners higher speed and more functions than competitive e-commerce solutions. Alongside the biggest players in the industry, PrestaShop stays on top of the leading edge of technology with a software translated in 41 languages and online stores in 150 countries.
MO: Impressively, you started PrestaShop in your basement while attending school and it’s now the number one e-commerce software in Europe. Did you ever dream that PrestaShop could grow past a school project and become an extremely successful international company?
Bruno: When I began to work on the software I was focused on creating something unique so I started to build a powerful team that values the Community and users. With a strong team and growing Community I was determined to make PrestaShop a success. I am truly grateful and pleased with its growth so far. I am honored to have a software that merchants enjoy and love.
MO: Have you always had an interest in becoming an entrepreneur?
Bruno: Yes. I have always admired the great entrepreneurs of our time. Steve Jobs revolutionized technology and brought change among our society which I value and appreciate. I have always had a passion to develop something unique which enables merchants to grow their business and create more jobs.
MO: Why is it so important to you that the company remain free and Open-source?
Bruno: I have always supported the Open-source community because it is important that everyone can benefit from great software no matter how large or small their business is. Open-source allows everyone to use innovative technology and have an opportunity to become successful. PrestaShop will remain free and this is a strong value of the company. We are dedicated to ensuring all merchants have access to reliable e-commerce software. Like all companies, we need to generate income so we strategically partner with experts to provide even more value to our software while supporting our growing team.
MO: PrestaShop has received the 2011 Open-source Award for Business Applications for two years in a row. How does it feel to be recognized two years running and do you think that you’ll be able to win it next year as well?
Bruno: It is truly an honor and privilege for us to win this award. This award is a great achievement for the nearly 300,000 PrestaFans who have helped us reach this point with their code contributions, suggestions and encouragement. Thanks to our community, we are a stronger project with an ever-growing merchant base. Continued recognition will inspire our current users and developers who are at the heart of our software. We strive for many more achievements in 2012 and with our dedicated and passionate team, I know we can do it!
MO: How does the US market differ from the European market? Have you had to make any significant changes for the American version of the site?
Bruno: Yes. Since PrestaShop was created and launched we develop very flexible APIs to adapt our software to all countries such as, payments, shipping, taxes, translations, etc. In the United States we have more than 7,000 online stores and are providing all the necessary material to handle sales tax, shipping (FedEx, UPS, etc.) and payments (Authorize.net, PayPal, etc.) We are listening very closely to our Community to develop fresh and new features every month.
MO: What’s been the most rewarding aspect of entrepreneurship so far?
Bruno: The most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur is listening to merchants’ success stories. We have numerous merchants and Community members call us and tell us how they were able to increase their sales and improve their overall business thanks to PrestaShop. Knowing that I have made a difference for so many families is a great feeling and keeps me focused on improving PrestaShop every day.
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