After nearly two years of focusing solely on Google Apps, we’ve decided to expand our vision beyond Apps and to the cloud at large. While organizations initially migrate to the cloud to gain collaboration, cost savings and scalability, once there they often find a lack of management and security capabilities. Cloud enabled companies are therefore forced to cobble together multiple management and security tools from various vendors or even build their own custom solutions to simply oversee the applications they rely on every day.
Today, we’re aiming to solve this dilemma by providing a single pane through which IT administrators can manage and secure their entire cloud application stack. To help us do so, we’ve closed a $6 million Series B round of funding from existing investors including Flybridge Capital Partners, Greycroft Partners, TriBeCa Venture Partners and BLH Venture Partners, bringing our total investment to $13.25 million.
This latest investment will go towards growing our existing engineering team to accelerate Google Apps development while also adding a new team dedicated to extending FlashPanel’s functionality to other leading cloud applications.
Remaining Focused on Google Apps
When we founded the company nearly two years ago, we made a decision to focus exclusively on Google. Since then, we’ve stayed true to that decision, providing more than 22,000 organizations around the world with leading management and security tools for Google Apps. Throughout this time, we’ve had literally hundreds of conversations with IT administrators who have come to rely on our tools. Admins use FlashPanel multiple times a day everyday to provision and deprovision users, apply email settings, monitor usage, create reports, secure Google Drive assets and much, much more.
So, while we do plan to expand our vision and FlashPanel’s functionality outside the realm of Google Apps, we also plan to remain true to our roots. In the coming months, you can expect to see big things from FlashPanel like third-party apps auditing, Google+ security features and regular expression searches for Drive.
Expanding FlashPanel to Reach Across Clouds
While Google has been and remains core to our overall mission, we’ve realized that FlashPanel users have management and security needs outside of the Apps platform. By extending FlashPanel beyond Google, we can significantly increase the product’s value and utility to current and future users. Companies large and small are relying more on cloud applications to form the brunt of their IT infrastructure. Through customer surveys and interviews, talks with our partners (who have themselves begun reselling and supporting products outside of Google Apps) and our own use of cloud applications, it’s clear that managing and securing this ever-expanding cloud stack in a coherent, manageable way is nearly impossible.
Moving forward, we’re going to focus on providing the tools IT administrators need to provision and deprovision users, audit activity, set alerts and automate tasks for multiple cloud applications through one single interface. While our approach to this problem is unique, the model is not. Historically (and even today) enterprise software companies like BMC, Symantec, HP and others have provided consolidated management, security and monitoring solutions for an organization’s software, devices and infrastructure. We intend to to do the same, but for the leading public cloud SaaS applications.
To begin our expansion across the cloud, we’re focusing on Salesforce.com and Zendesk first. We’ve found that within the Google Apps customer base these are the two leading products in their respective categories: CRM and Ticketing. We’ve already identified thousands of FlashPanel customers using both of these applications (and we happen to use them both internally). Our expansion to Salesforce.com and Zendesk will be gradual and deliberate in order to ensure that we provide the right functionality in the right way.
What To Expect
Our company and aspirations have grown. We’ve identified a clear problem that will only grow more critical as more organizations migrate to the cloud. And through our experience, we’ve come to understand some of the key challenges faced by IT departments around the world. We’re expanding our vision, team and resources to address this larger need.
While we are expanding to new platforms, some things around here won’t change. As always, we intend to remain extremely open about our product roadmap. And the relationships we have with our customers and feedback gained from these relationships is and will continue to be the primary driving factor behind any features we add or platforms we expand to in the future.
If you’d like to hear more about our expansion across the cloud or have feedback on the upcoming integrations, please send me an email at email@example.com.