The big cash-in (or out) for the founders of a company that started on a credit card must be a moment of rare elation. To go from the germ of an idea to the big money table, an incredible voyage for the company and its now, 200+ employees.
Atlassian has got Accel Partners -- who also invested in Squarespace this week -- involved, as investors look to good growth Atlassian's model of no salesforce. Instead, it builds growth by getting its software in the hands of users who can see the value and then watch product use grow across a client company.
Atlassian has developed its own development tools, tools for managing software development and now for collaboration (we took a look at Atlassian Confluence not long ago), creating an organic system built around user requests and its growing community that now stands at over 20,000 enterprises. Atlassian Product Manager Bill Arconati took time out to answer some questions about how the investment will change the company.
Will there be any change of focus, perhaps to appeal to smaller businesses?
Arconati: We're putting more behind our SaaS initiatives. For example, we offer JIRA Studio which is a fully hosted suite of developer tools, including hosted source control, which is ideal for small development teams. We were honoured to have JIRA Studio included in the the Google Apps Marketplace launch at the special Google Campfire One event this past March. We're also seeing our Confluence Hosted and JIRA Hosted offerings becoming increasingly popular deployment options for new customers. We'll be doing more with SaaS, a popular option for small businesses, over the coming year.
Will you focus more on Confluence, as social is the "in" thing at the moment?
Arconati: Confluence is certainly a big part of Atlassian's plans for attracting new customers and growing revenue. We're growing the dev team in Sydney and adding bench strength to the product management team. Our only challenge is hiring people fast enough. If you know any good developers in Sydney, we're certainly hiring.
Are there new product plans and what is the timescale to IPO, if any?
Arconati: We're always thinking about new features and products that can help our customers improve the way they collaborate and develop software. This won't change with the investment from Accel. It does give us a slightly bigger purse for making future acquisitions but doesn't necessarily accelerate any acquisition plans or change the kind of products/acquisitions we pursue.
The investment from Accel is a long-term play for them. The investment comes out of their growth-fund (as opposed to their early stage venture fund) so they're looking at this as a long term investment in helping us continue build a sustainable business that can grow past the $100 million revenue mark. Maybe an IPO many years down the road but the main focus now is sustainably growing the business.