Monday, October 22, 2007

Aria Systems Raises Series A - Leave the Billing to Us!

The below is a guest post written by Lars Leckie of Hummer Winblad.

Last week, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners announced the Series A funding for Aria Systems, the leading on-demand billing and customer management provider.

HWVP’s investment in Aria is the firm’s fourteenth SaaS investment (others include Omniture, Adforce, Employease – some of which date back to 1998).

The investment in Aria is a double down on the SaaS market – Aria is not only itself a SaaS ISV, but also the company is a core component of any SaaS company trying to efficiently scale. RBC Capital Markets predicts that the SaaS market will grow at 43% CAGR to be $28bn by 2010. That’s a lot of billing.

As the SaaS market grows, the need for ISV’s to make bespoke investments in data center operations, billing infrastructure, and other core, but non-differentiated, functions is lessening by the day. Providers like Aria allow ISV’s to focus 100% of their human and financial capital on differentiated application logic, while using best-of-breed platform vendors for infrastructure services. The company puts it best when it tells customers it will help them, "get customers, get paid, get control."

Why invest in Aria? Simply put, traditional billing solutions, independent of expensive on-premise software, are not well suited to subscription and usage based billing models. New revenue models bring about the need for new billing architectures. Emerging SaaS companies who don’t use Aria can either choose to build a billing system themselves, thereby diverting engineering resources to a non-core engineering function, or they can use existing on-premise solutions with a myriad of spreadsheets and manual accounting. Aria is a solution that can scale and provide the best infrastructure through a strong focus on the billing market.

The Aria solution is a complete turnkey SaaS (single instance, multi-tenant) solution to manage recurring revenue billing. They manage the quote-to-cash system for a company including hosted customer sign-up, customer service, provisioning of service, dunning and all the other components needed for a full billing solution.

Aria is already in the market with strong customer traction and key partnerships in place. The vertical markets that Aria addresses today are SaaS, On-line Gaming and Telco. A few of their partners in these markets are Opsource and GNi but you can see the full list of over 25 partners here.

Congratulations to Ed Sullivan and the rest of the Aria team - Welcome to the Hummer Winblad family.

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