Spiceworks, an Austin startup that last week raised $16 million, has taken a Google-like approach with its business model: It built systems management software and gave it away for free, supporting the company with revenue derived from ads. The goal was to create a community of IT staff that use the software daily, as their company’s IT dashboard, and turn to one another to help solve problems.
Some 870,000 people have installed the 4-year-old company’s software, allowing it to triple its sales in the last year. But while President and CEO Scott Abel did not disclose the actual revenue figure, he did offer detail on each of its three ad-based revenue streams. They consist of display ads, sponsorships that allows a vendor to reach an audience by hosting forums, and the ability for a vendor to build an app that helps the Spiceworks audience use the vendor’s equipment better.
With the funding, which Abel says the firm wasn’t seeking, Spiceworks can accelerate its product by adding more staff to the 45-member team. Abel plans to concentrate on making the Spiceworks platform more mobile so that IT workers can provide help while on the go, as well as help them manage more mobile devices. The other focus will be on prepping the software to manage applications, platforms and infrastructure hosted in the cloud. Check out the video below for more on Spiceworks, as well as Abel’s views on the future for IT workers.
Image courtesy of Flickr user TheNixer