New Zealand sales are booming for SMX, the locally developed cloud email security company, but for CEO and co-founder Jesse Ball the big target is Japan.
Founded in 2005, SMX has evolved from cloud email to a higher value platform-as-a-service solution that drives email filtering sales as a good entry point into providing cloud solutions. The platform is designed to provision and manage other software applications down the track.
“Our cloud in a box is really gaining traction,” Ball says.
Sales are mainly into datacentres, with partners such as Revera.
“People want to build their own services without having to provide new hardware,” says Ball.
For its first seven years, SMX built its own channels. Last year, it signed a distribution deal with Exeed, which has brought on board more than 200 resellers. “Previously, we weren’t getting total coverage of the South Island,” Ball says.
Exeed remains the sole distributor in New Zealand.
In Japan, SMX has very specific partners, such as datacentre operator KvH, to which SMX brings resellers. There is also an SMX country manager in Japan.
To date, the majority of SMX revenue comes from New Zealand – revenues have grown by 25 percent in the past year and the company is profitable – but Ball expects the Japanese operation to soon match total revenue for the rest of the company.
“Our reseller model really suits Japan where we do everything locally.”
Pricing is different. Whereas in New Zealand there is a charge of $7 per user per month, there is a 20 percent premium in Japan, which Ball says reflects the higher cost of doing business. The company also operates in India but at the enterprise level, where charges are around $12 per end-user a year.
Singapore is different again. SMX entered that market three years ago with a reseller model but the infrastructure is run from New Zealand and Australia.
Fujitsu is a major partner in New Zealand. Through that arrangement, SMX has around a 50 percent share of the local government market. Other customers here include Airways Corporation, NIWA, Rakon, Paymark and the Port of Tauranga.
“In Australia, we recently closed our first local government deal, with Victoria Transport,” Ball says.
He estimates that SMX has a 60 percent penetration of the Technology Investment Network top 100 companies in New Zealand.
“Profitability is a key milestone for us,” he says. “Our revenues are derived from a monthly per-seat service fee, with a very low churn rate. This means we are moving very quickly into a position where we can open new markets and invest in on-the-ground sales and support resources without requiring investment capital.”