Aurelio Volle of WP Umbrella

Aurelio Volle – Founder of WP Umbrella

December 15, 2023 / Plugins / 0 comments

I am Aurelio Volle, currently living between the vibrant city of Lyon and Briançon in the French Alps, where I do a lot of climbing and ski-touring.

My academic journey led me through a rich tapestry of experiences, including a Master in European Studies from the Institute for European Studies, ULB, and a Master of Business from Aix-Marseille University.

I worked for 7 years in jobs related to the European Union before creating WP Umbrella, where I am the non-technical founder and CEO.

The Journey Began

Before diving into the world of WordPress, my digital life was already taking shape. In 2006, I was 14 years old and founded Kits-Gratuits.net, managing a team of volunteers to create W3C-compatible templates.

It was so much fun to create and work on an open-source project.

Then, I went to university and took a distance from the computer. Law school was time-consuming, and I was also playing football in a team, which led me to take a break from informatics.

A few years later, I discovered WordPress and used it to create a website about vegetarian recipes. I made my first custom theme and was very proud about this – and that was it..! I cut from WordPress and the web for many years.

Fast forward almost 10 years later, I pitched a startup idea over a beer to a friend from primary school. It was something in the retail business.

After a few drinks, he said, “Your idea is good, but it’s too hard to implement! Work with me. I’m developing something to use AI and images and we need a guy like you in the team.

That is how we created our first product, ImageSEO.io. One thing led to another: we created WP Umbrella.

This friend from primary school is Thomas Deneulin, our brilliant CTO and co-founder. Before creating WP Umbrella, he worked for Weglot and SEOPress.

The Need for “WP Umbrella”

WP Umbrella logo

When we first envisioned WP Umbrella, the market was already populated with established competitors such as ManageWP, MainWP, and WP Remote.

However, we identified a unique opportunity. Our dissatisfaction with the user experience provided by these existing software solutions fueled our ambition.

Our goal was to create a tool that simplifies WordPress site management for agencies and freelancers and empowers them to showcase the value of their work to clients.

WP Umbrella distinguishes itself through its holistic approach to site management, emphasizing reliability, user-friendliness, and key features like automated backups and client reporting.

I believe WP Umbrella’s defining characteristic is its exclusive focus on agencies. We don’t offer free tiers, and our services are not aimed at bloggers. Our approach steers clear of cross-marketing or selling hosting plans.

Our mission is to enhance agencies’ productivity and help them demonstrate their work’s value to clients. Our philosophy is simple: one clear persona, one clear purpose.

We also built WP Umbrella in public with the help of our users, and I think they like that because it’s reflected a lot in our G2 reviews.

Myself with my Brilliant Team

WP Umbrella owes its inception to the invaluable support of Jonathan Buttigieg and Jean-Baptiste of WPRocket, who have been our business angels, advisors, and friends.

Their encouragement was pivotal in prompting Thomas and me to embark on this entrepreneurial journey, even leading us to leave our jobs to dedicate ourselves full-time to WP Umbrella. I am eternally grateful for their guidance and support.

This year marked a significant expansion for us, growing from a duo of founders to a dynamic team of five.

Our team now includes Florian, a remarkably talented French full-stack developer who doubles as our UX designer; Boris, our Customer Support Specialist with prior experience in the hosting industry; and Adel, a seasoned back-end developer who is our latest addition.

At WP Umbrella, our growth strategy is unique. We focus primarily on product development and improvement rather than traditional marketing efforts.

Most of our growth is organic and driven by word-of-mouth, and this approach has proven effective.

We pride ourselves on a business model that is both healthy and sustainable. Our policy is to work exclusively with senior-level professionals. As a remote company, we offer flexible working hours and numerous other perks and benefits.

It’s crucial for us to have a team that is not only autonomous but also capable of delivering work with a sense of ownership. And as a CEO, I must say our team members are incredible, and I feel super lucky to have them on board.

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Advice for Business Owners

For those looking to start their own business, especially in the WordPress ecosystem, my advice is to focus on solving real problems.

Whether in niches like hosting, plugin development, or agency services, the key is identifying gaps and addressing them innovatively.

And always prioritize product stability and customer satisfaction.

WordPress & Beyond

We have many features in our public roadmap and will not rest. We can do many things to help agencies with multiple WordPress website management..!

I don’t want to make any forecasts about the future of WordPress. With ChatGPT and the rapid development of AI tools, things are evolving too quickly, and I don’t know what the future holds.

This being said I see WordPress continuing to dominate as a web platform, evolving with technology trends. While competition exists, WordPress’s open-source nature and community give it a unique advantage.

My Love for the WordPress Community

aurelio volle with agathe & esther
Aurelio Volle with Agathe & Esther from WP Rocket at the WCEU Party

I actively sponsor or participate in WordCamps and meetups worldwide, like WordCamp Europe and Asia.

These events are networking opportunities and learning experiences that shape our strategies and products at WP Umbrella.

The community is a source of inspiration and collaboration, essential for anyone in the WordPress ecosystem.

The WordPress community is brimming with inspirational figures, and while I’m hesitant to create an extensive list of individuals I admire, I must acknowledge a few. Agathe, the CEO of WP Media, Oliver from Patchstack, and Saad from Cloudways stand out for their exceptional contributions.

The work they’re doing is truly remarkable. I can’t forget to mention Liz from one.com, my favorite WordCamp companion, Akshat from WP Remote, Delvin from SolidWP (both competitors), and Jason from the Sponsor team.

Alas, I must stop here as the list could go on endlessly!

How I Keep Myself Updated

I’m an avid follower of ProductHunt, one of the premier platforms for staying updated on the latest in the tech world.

Additionally, I’m part of a private Slack group with other French plugin editors’ CEOs, where we regularly share our latest astonishing discoveries.

This practice of sharing knowledge isn’t just limited to external networks; we maintain the same culture of discovery and sharing within our team at WP Umbrella.

And, of course, I need to pay attention to X (Twitter), arguably the most efficient tool for keeping a pulse on current happenings in the tech scene!

I’m also getting a few newsletters about what’s new in the AI world, and of course, The WP Weekly one!

I Have a Life Other Than the Work

I’m an avid sports enthusiast, deeply passionate about various physical activities.

Rock climbing is a frequent pursuit of mine, and I spend considerable time surfing in Portugal and skiing in the Alps. A little-known fact about me, even within the community, is that I’m a certified Yoga teacher.

Therefore, much of my free time is dedicated to physical exercise, embracing the balance and discipline it brings to my life.

As for travel, while I don’t have a singular favorite destination, my most memorable journey was undoubtedly a solo trek in Nepal’s Annapurna region.

aurelio volle at mountains
Aurelio Volle at Mountains

I Reward Myself by

Honestly, I often find myself grateful for the circumstances of my birth – being born in a country at peace, having access to a solid educational system, and being part of a loving family.

This sense of gratitude means I rarely feel the need for personal rewards. Most of the time, I feel fortunate and appreciative to be where I am, doing what I love and working with the people I collaborate with.

That said when we hit a significant milestone at WP Umbrella, Thomas and I make it a point to celebrate it with the team.

Whether going out for dinner or grabbing a drink together, we always commemorate these achievements.

This is important because we are a remote company and operate from different countries, so when we see each other, we enjoy these moments.

Aurelio Volle with Boris, the Support Specialist

I make sure to document these moments, taking pictures each time.

I’ve been considering compiling these memories and lessons into a book someday, hoping it might serve as a guide or source of inspiration for other entrepreneurs on their journeys.

Connect With Me

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