• September, 1 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

The 2008 CRM Market Awards: Rising Stars -- Zuora

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With all the subscription-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) on the market today, you’d think that subscriptions were an easy business model. You’d be wrong, though; in fact, according to a number of SaaS watchers, getting the billing right is one of the hardest parts of building an on-demand business, and the ones who have done so—see our other billing-as-a-service Rising Star, Aria Systems—guard their efforts as part of the “secret sauce” that sets them apart.

Well, a new company named Zuora has bottled that sauce and is selling it. The company, founded by former executives from Salesforce.com and WebEx, provides an on-demand system for all subscriptions, billing, and account management, supporting one-time, recurring, usage, metering, and volume tier pricing increments.

And analysts—typically a reserved and skeptical bunch—are in love with this company; Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of CRM consultancy Beagle Research Group, likes Zuora so much he’s quoted on its home page. “Keep an eye on Zuora, it has a great idea and is an emerging company on the move,” Pombriant says. Bruce Richardson, chief research officer of AMR Research, is another fan. “If you get a chance to spend 15 minutes or an hour with someone from Zuora to learn about this solution, it will be the most profitable investment of your life,” Richardson says. “[Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer] Tien Tzuo is one of the smartest guys in this industry. Now is the perfect time to launch a solution like this for the SaaS and subscription-based industry. This is the kind of technology on-demand companies have needed.”

Officially launched in May, the company has landed $6.5 million in venture funding from Benchmark Capital and Marc Benioff (Tzuo’s old boss at Salesforce.com), and already claims 17 customers, including yet another of our Rising Stars, Marketo.

To read about the rest of the 2008 Rising Stars, click here.

To read about the full 2008 CRM Market Awards, click here.

Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationcrm.com/subscribe/.

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