Today, TOA announced that it raised $17.2M in a Series D lead by Sutter Hill Ventures with the participation of Tim Draper, Fort Washington and existing shareholders Intel Capital, Draper Triangle Ventures and private investors.
It’s an exciting moment for us - as we look at the rapidly evolving technology market and see only opportunity at every level and I want to talk a little bit about that.
First and foremost this is about extending TOA’s leadership in cloud-based on-demand enterprise Software-as-a-Service – or what we call “eSaaS“.
Secondly – it’s about maximizing the potential of mobile internet and mobility applications.
And third – it’s about taking advantage of the opportunity of the awakening global market for mobility applications for mobile employees – a previously sleepy market that has been undervalued and underinvested in to date.
1) eSaaS – TOA has near perfected the art of enterprise SaaS. Enterprise SaaS is NOT just about a web-based solution or producing software that’s accessible via a browser – Enterprise SaaS or eSaaS (as I like to call it) – is about something completely different. It’s about:
- integration – and the availability of the sophisticated tools to allow for the complex interweaving of SaaS with legacy software systems with ease. Emphasis on sophisticated and ease! Without these – there is no chance for a SaaS solution to be viable for the large enterprise.
- flexibility – the ability to provide a solution that has the kind of malleability to literally morph with the clients’ business and respond to the ever changing business and technological environments that is the reality for most enterprises – definitely OUR clients and their businesses.
- reliability – as we witnessed a few weeks ago with amazon web service big event – providing a system that is 100% there for the enterprise is NOT easy and doing so is a huge responsibility and needs a high degree of expertise. This is not easy to come by or easy to deliver. Don’t let anyone fool you. TOA does it with expertise.
- scalability – the ability to support huge distributed businesses with high volumes, and to continue to support their growth into the long term
In 2004 – when we launched TOA and the first version of ETAdirect, we took enormous inspiration and even guidance from Marc Benioff – we bet our future on many of the ideas he espoused and beyond. We knew that it would be risky to go after the big enterprises with SaaS and that many IT departments would look at us and think that we were out of our minds to try and provide a system for them from outside their firewall. But the tide of technology is relentless and things have definitely moved in our direction. SaaS is here to stay and more – 10 years from now – it’s going to power the majority of businesses – not only small but medium, large and extra large. We made the right decision at the absolute right time back then to bet on SaaS. Betting on eSaaS as the next frontier was betting beyond SaaS for the SMBs – and it has given us the experience, the expertise and the track record a software company MUST have in order to successfully sell to large enterprise IT. We are excited about the many amazing new things that we are doing and will be unvaling in the coming months and years.
eSaaS is different from regular SaaS in very many ways and as software is delivered more and more via the SaaS model – the needs for eSaaS solution to replace the old legacy enterprise software solutions that run businesses today and in the past – will only grow and become dominant and only way – and TOA is well positioned to expand to meet the challenge and the opportunity.
2) This is about mobility and the Mobile Internet – maybe if you were living in a cave in Tora Bora (which obviously you weren’t) you might not be aware of the real revolution that is happening in people’s lives. Everyone is connected in multiple ways via multiple devices and many channels. The smart-phone and the tablet is in its infancy as a business device and TOA is well positioned via its early adoption of the smart-phone / iPad as THE platform of choice and a completely browser-based application to take advantage of many new developments that are here and coming soon. Mobility is king and device and platform agnostic apps will lead the way to the many platforms we intend to make the most of our early leadership providing eSaaS via the mobile Internet to millions of users worldwide who do work in the field. Those users are the same users who have iPhones and Androids and use them addictively in their personal lives. They expect nothing less from software when they go to work – and yet in many (or most) cases they are still using antiquated systems on antiquated platforms on antiquated devices. Opportunity abounds.
3) Lastly, this is about the needs of the global market of mobile employees – the mobile workforce management software market has been around for a long time but has been, to date, underserved and undervalued – the convergence of many of the trends that I described above provides a real inflection point for a market that has seen little change in the past decade. TOA’s solution has a patented predictive technology and an approach and completeness that provides relevant and transformative value to the many satisfied customers and users it serves. We want to bring that to every enterprise that has people working in the field. They all deserve the best. The market of mobile employees is huge and they deserve TOA and we intend to bring it to every corner of the globe.
Thanks to Andy Sheehan from Sutter Hill Ventures who showed immediate and unflagging enthusiasm for us and our vision- I know he sees what we see. Thanks also to Tim Draper for his great intuition and continued inspiration. A big and special thanks to our long term supporters at Draper Triangle Ventures, Early Stage Partners and Intel Capital, as well as the private investors and friends who saw the vision from day one and have stuck with us from the start. Lastly – I want to thank our immensely dedicated employees and our great customers – this just validates what they already know.
As Jeff Bezos says: It’s Always Day One!