Ask Me Anything – James Ciesielski, Co-Founder and CTO of Rewind

Megan Smith | Last updated on November 24, 2021 | 8 minute read

Rewind is the leading backup app for platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, QuickBooks Online, Trello, GitHub, and more! But how did we get here?

Co-founder and CTO, James Ciesielski, sits down to discuss this journey- along with a wide variety of questions we receive about the Rewind app, the industry, and the need of backups on business-critical platforms.

These questions were originally published as a segment on the AMA feed.

Let’s dive into the questions!

Why have Shopify not developed a solution of their own? How come they don’t see you as a competitor?

We are fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with Shopify. They truly are an amazing story and we love working with them to help their customers be successful.

While there is nothing stopping Shopify from building their own backup solution, we don’t think they’re going to – at least not any time soon.

Shopify is laser focused on building a premiere platform that will foster new entrepreneurship and, while we believe backups play a crucial part in this, there are a lot of other areas that they are investing in.

We aren’t competing with Shopify in the e-commerce space one bit; our mission is to be the premiere resource for disaster recovery.

How much easier would it be for SaaS companies to develop their own backup solutions rather than use yours? What are the benefits?

Very good question, we get this one a lot!

First, I want to be clear that we are not backing up the SaaS companies themselves; Rewind does not provide an appliance that sits on prem to backup and restore SaaS data centres (though it would be awesome if we could do that!) 😄

Rewind is a service that lives outside of the platform; it backs-up customer data that the platform exposes via public APIs.

There are many benefits of Rewind; the main one being that it helps with the 3-2-1 backup rule: meaning, we help you ensure you have at least 3 copies of your data, 2 of which are on different storage devices, and 1 that is offsite.

What makes Rewind different from other storage clouds in the market?

The key difference between Rewind and other storage solutions available in the cloud is that conventional cloud storage is used for files and folders and it requires manual effort to move files to and from this storage. Rewind doesn’t deal with files, it deals with the raw data that is stored within each SaaS platform and it does so automatically.

What are the security measures you have in place to protect your clients’ data?

Security is HUGELY important to us!

First, all of our backup data is encrypted at rest and in transit.

Second, we have strict policies around separation of duties and principle of least privilege w.r.t. our production environments.

Third, we undergo an annual security audit, conducted by a third party, that assesses our infrastructure for vulnerabilities.

Fourth, we have proprietary safeguards in place to keep the backups safe and secure.

Lastly, we are constantly evaluating our security practices and looking for better ways to keep data safe and secure.

What upper hand do you have over rival tech companies who have been in the business longer than you have and has a similar product?

We were the first backup app for Shopify and BigCommerce and the third backup app for QuickBooks Online.

Since we launched, there have been others that have entered the space. Some have gone but there are still a handful that remain. There are many things that differentiates us from the other backup apps for Shopify, BigCommerce, and QuickBooks Online but the main one is that we are an actual business and we only do backups. Everyone else in the space does backups and something else.

Right now, we are a team of 25 and growing. Every day, our team works together to help our customers ensure a sale by restoring a missing product, by restoring a theme bug that has caused a store to be inaccessible, or by recovering a blog that was deleted by accident…

Our team truly cares and is focused on supporting customers through whatever data disaster may strike them – I’m not sure our competitors can say the same.

How did you determine the price model for the service? What were the deciding factors?

Pricing is an area that we are always working on.

In the early days, we offered Rewind for Free and we used that time to talk to as many customers as we could to find out what our service was worth to them – every customer gave us a different answer.

I remember debating our first pricing matrix for almost a week until eventually we decided to pick 3 plans and see what happens.

I think this was the right decision at the time – the longer we debated, the longer we went without revenue 😉

We have since iterated on our pricing a number of times – when we get it wrong, we are quick to change it.

Do you have different storage capacities that you offer your clients? What is the process you go through with them to decide which is the right choice for them?

Great questions!

We don’t have different storage capacities in the same sense as other, traditional desktop backup companies; meaning, we don’t sell our service by the Gigabyte.

Our pricing varies by vertical; in general, we have identified one or two key metrics that we use to figure out which plan works best for each customer and we do our best to leverage those metrics to guide customers to the appropriate plan. We sometimes get it wrong and in those cases, a quick conversation is enough to get things right.

How difficult was it to get companies to trust in your cloud over already existing and functional ones? How did you convince them?

It can be quite hard to convince someone of the value you bring; especially as it relates to the recoverability of their data.

In general, we are very open to allowing customers to try the service, talk to our support people, and execute their disaster recovery plan with Rewind before they make any commitments.

We have worked very hard to accumulate hundreds of perfect reviews across the Shopify, BigCommerce, QuickBooks Online app stores. If you take the time to read through some of them, you’ll get a good idea of the value we bring.

How many people do you have working for you and maintaining Rewind?

The Rewind team is up to 25 people – and we’re still hiring for developer positions!

Where did you get the funding to start up Rewind?

I’m quite proud to say that Rewind did not take any significant money in the early days to get started; we didn’t really need any.

As co-founders, we each put a little bit of money into a joint account to cover some basic hosting and marketing costs.

We worked evenings and weekends on personal hardware and leveraged the free tiers of many services as we worked to validate our idea.

What were the major technical problems that was faced when developing Rewind?

Love this question!

There were a lot of them 😊

Two big ones that come to mind immediately are:

  1. Figuring out how to operate responsibly within a platforms API rate limit (the artificial restriction on calls per second that is put in place so that servers don’t spontaneously combust) across multiple processes and servers.
  2. Restoring – it turns out that restoring data is really hard. We spent a lot of time understanding how to reconstruct items and their dependencies so that we can return them exactly to the way they were at a specific date and time. This is a lot harder to do than it sounds…Can Rewind work with WordPress too?

While Rewind does not currently backup WordPress, it’s certainly on our radar. Head over to and drop us a note about why WordPress should be the next platform we backup.

What strategy did you use to market Rewind?

We’ve tried a number of different approaches for marketing; from content marketing, social media, Google Adwords, and buying booths at conferences.

Rewind is unique; it’s a service that most people don’t know they need until it’s too late.

One of the smartest things we did as co-founders is realize that marketing is not our strong suit; we now have a four person marketing team to excel these efforts – they do an amazing job!

What improvements have you made to Rewind from when you launched it till now?

LOVE this question!

Rewind has changed A LOT since we got started. In the first months, we ran the entire system on a single server! Today, we have well over 100 servers, across 4 data centres, powering Rewind.

Much of our evolution came from the realization that we needed the service to work equally well regardless of whether you had 10 items in your Rewind Vault or 1,000,000 items.

We have invested a lot of time ensuring we can scale with the volume of data that comes with backing up some of the biggest stores on Shopify and BigCommerce.

Rewind’s mission is to ensure that all businesses are protected against any data disasters – saving you time, money and providing you with peace of mind that your data is safe and secure.

No matter the size of your business, having a secure backup set in place is essential for any successful company.

If you want to learn more about the technology we build – check out our engineering posts.

Learn more about what Rewind can back up for you, or reach out today to request a demo. 

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Megan Smith
Megan Smith is a digital marketer with a passion for working with businesses to define their brand and create marketing strategies to achieve their goals.