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Zuora raises $115M as it prepares for eventual IPO

The subscription billing platform has now raised $250M in funding

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
March 11, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3c7d

Subscription billing platform Zuora has raised a $115 million funding round, the company announced on Wednesday,

The funding came from new investors Wellington Management Company LLP and Blackrock Inc., as well as Premji Invest and Passport Capital. They joined existing investors BenchmarkCapital, Greylock Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Index Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Vulcan Capital, Next World Capital,Dave Duffield, co-founder and chairman of the board of Workday; and Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com.

With this latest funding round, Zuora has now raised a total of $250 million.

The company was founded on the premise that everything is moving to subscription, and that would be the dominant business model for bringing a product to market in a SaaS environment , Zuora CFO Tyler Sloat told me in an interview.

What that means, he said, is that businesses have to cater to the "whim of customer," who will have more options and flexibility than ever before.

"Customers demand a personal experience. They want to pay the way they want to and if a vendor doesn’t provide that, they'll switch," he said. "Companies across industries are being forced to change how they think about business models and what they sell. They are shifting from thinking about products to thinking about the customer."

It has become more of a "perpetual relationship" between the customer and the business.

That is where Zuora comes in, Founded in 2007, the company offers a cloud-based subscription billing service for businesses, providing pricing flexibility for different customer groups, scalability, and key metrics.  All of these features are designed to help any company develop a subscription business, a la Netflix or Pandora. 

Zuora is offering a new type of customer management solution, called RBM, or the "Relationship Business Management." That means offering elastic pricing and packaging, improved subscription metrics and consolidated billing, finance and commerce processes focusing completely on consumer relationships.

It also helps its business customers on the back end, Sloat explained, helping them recognize revenue opportunities, helping them track transactions over time and which way to post invoices.

The new funding will help Zuora "focus on scale and growing," so that it does "not have to go public right away," said Sloat. "This latest round bought us time to do that. It allows us to go public when we are ready, rather than just as a financing event."

The company, which currently has 500 employees, will also grow its team by upwards of 50% over the next year, as it continues to grow rapidly internationally. It already has offices in London, Atlanta, Paris, Munich, Beijing, Amsterdam, Vienna, Sydney, Copenhagen and Stockholm, and recently opened one in Japan, which allows it to grow 150% in the Asia-Pacific-Japan region over the previous year.

Zuora currently serves close to 700 customers around the world, across a range of industries, including media, technology, consumer packaged goods, cloud services and telecommunications. Customers include Intuit, Financial Times UK, Box, Vivint, The Guardian, Schneider Electric, Honeywell, NCR, RTL, YP.com, BlueJeans, TripAdvisor, lynda.com and Trulia.

At the end of 2014, Zuora had  $42 billion in total invoice volume contracted to run through its systems, a 109% increase year-over year.

"Funding in and of itself is not necessarily an announcement. But firms like Wellington and Black Rock, why would they put money into Zuora? It makes no business sense unless they see something. Five years from  now we will be leading in a significant market shift," Sloat told me.

"On the back of our business cards it says, 'the world subscribed.' We were founded on that premise, now its happening. That vision is that everything could be seen through a subscription framework."

(Image source: zuora.com)


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