EMC isn’t in the business of buying startups, adding value and then selling them off. But that’s precisely what it seems to have done with Syncplicity, the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) service it bought in May 2012.
Skyview Capital, Syncplicity’s new owner, has a very different business model. It identifies rapidly growing, market leading companies, invests heavily in them and then prepares them for an exit. That’s what it plans to do with Syncplicity, but it doesn't plan to sell it or set it free anytime soon.
“We’re going to pour lots of money into it first,” said Jonathan Huberman, Syncplicity’s new CEO, noting that he plans to double down on Syncplicity’s market leading technology and sales strategy. This is something that Jeetu Patel, Syncplicity’s former General Manager, might not have had free rein to do because he didn’t control of the purse strings: EMC did.
“I hold and control a large envelope,” said Huberman. And he intends to spend it. “Syncplicity did well as part of EMC,” he added, “but I think we can do better.”
And “better” won’t be achieved solely by cash and hubris. Huberman and Syncplicity’s Customer Success Officer, Gaurav Verma, have big plans that would have been near impossible for Syncplicity to exercise while it was under EMC’s giant thumb.
As an independent entity, Syncplicity will be able to leverage additional sales channels instead of relying solely on EMC’s sales force, Huberman said. Now hundreds of hardware, software and service providers will be able to hawk its products.
And given that Syncplicity is rated as a leader by both Gartner and Forrester, there doesn’t seem to be much question as to whether it’s something such vendors will want to do.
Not only that, but Verma and his team are already looking at potential technology partners and planning to build new APIs.
The Analysts’ Take
ESG Group analyst Terri McClure said Syncplicity now has a gamut of new possibilities and should gain more visibility outside of EMC’s shadow. It’s something she sees as important.
“EFSS will be ubiquitous,” she said. “Syncplicity needs lots of partners.”
And as part of EMC, Syncplicity was constrained by the deals its parent company already had or was willing to make.
But EMC might have misunderstood Syncplicity, too. “EFSS is more of a mobility solution than a storage play,” said McClure.
If she’s right, then EMC sales reps might have been selling to the wrong guy. After all, the business buys mobility. IT buys storage.
This is not to say that EMC won’t continue to sell Syncplicity. In fact, it remains an investor in the company. It's just that many, many other companies outside of EMC will be pitching the EFSS service to decision makers who wear very different hats.
What does this mean to the greater EFSS market? 451 Group Analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe pointed out that Syncplicity already owns a sizeable chunk of the market and is a top rated leader. He noted that Patel and his team have to be applauded for building out a product that has won such high industry accolades. “Spinning off they (Syncplicity) should continue to do well,” he added.
McClure thinks it might do even better.
“Syncplicity was limited by EMC,” she said. “Now it’s not.”
In other words, Syncplicity is now free to craft its own strategy instead of orienting around EMC products.
Not only that, but Huberman and Skyview Capital couldn’t seem happier to foot the bill.