According to market reports, companies with businesses focused on recurring revenue models, such as those of cloud technologies, telecom, digital entertainment, and even retail contribute nearly $300 billion to the global economy. There is a growing demand of cloud-based billing services especially tailored for these companies. Recent market reports suggest that the cloud-based billing market will be a $9.5 billion market by the year 2018.
San Francisco-based Aria is a leading player in the cloud-based billing industry. Aria was founded in 2002 by co-founders Brendan O’Brien and Edward Sullivan who wanted to provide better ways for online companies to bill for their products and services. The two had worked earlier at LaserLink.net, an Internet service provider, from where they gained insights about how online companies work. They believed that for online companies to thrive, they had to be able to successfully bill their clients for their services. They realized that the market was in need of an effective billing software that could meet some of the evolving billing models such as usage and subscription-based billing.
To meet this demand, the founders designed a SaaS-based billing solution that is able to offer one of the most comprehensive, flexible, and efficient cloud-based monetization platform available in the market. Their platform helps their customers charge the end consumer in any way – be it a classic subscription, usage, high watermark threshholding, a series of one-time charges that may be very irregular in nature, or a combination of all of the above. Aria also helps their customers by gathering behavioral intelligence on the end consumers’ service usage so that the service providers are able to identify trends and work on new opportunities for pricing, packaging, and bundling of services.
Aria offers two editions of their tool – enterprise and a standard edition. The standard edition includes a basic feature menu of per-seat-based billing, API, tax capabilities, standard reports, web service access while the enterprise edition includes additional features such as unlimited payment processors, usage-based billing, CRM/financial system integration, phone support, and PCI compliant hosted pages. They charge their customers either on a revenue share or on a per customer basis along with an initial implementation fee.
They do not disclose their detailed financials, but recent reports suggest that they have seen strong growth for a few years. They have an impressive product and claim to be the only “monetization platform” that covers the entire value chain of Billing and Subscription Management services. They have also successfully integrated their services with major ERP platforms.
When I spoke with their CEO Tom Dibble, he had talked about how bigger players like Oracle and SAP have not been able to fully support a subscription-based offering. On the other hand, Aria has been able to offer a flexible solution that is able to successfully compete with these giants. Little wonder then that they have impressive statistics. They are managing over 1 million accounts and have processed more than 1 billion transactions since they began their operations. Their customer list is impressive and includes the likes of AAA NCNU, Constant Contact, Falck, Hootsuite, Pitney Bowes, Telekom Denmark, and VMware to name a few.
They have been venture funded so far with $83 million in funding from investors including Bain Capital Ventures, HWVP, InterWest Partners, Tugboat Ventures, Venrock, and VMware. Their last round of funding was held back in November 2013 when they raised $40 million from their existing investors at an undisclosed valuation.
This segment is a part in the series : Carnival in the Cloud