I spent some time the other day talking with Ed Sullivan, CEO and co-founder of Aria Systems. Aria is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) billing and customer management company with an interesting raison d'etre: Ed nearly lost all his gear in an online game when the system couldn't process his payment. He figured there must be a better way to do billing. He was right.
The company, which has raised $4 million from Hummer Winblad, perhaps points to ways in which SaaS companies - which often skim the cream from open source without giving commensurate value back - can serve as good open-source citizens.
First, though, I found it interesting to hear how Aria does particularly well serving its own breed of user:We specialize in recurring business models. Compared to NetSuite, we don't do inventory management all that well. So, Aria is very strong in gaming (video games, not gambling) and in servicing other SaaS companies (i.e., if you can meter it, we can help to monetize it). We can get customers up and running in a matter of hours, in many cases. More complex integrations take more than a couple of hours, obviously.
It immediately struck me that the stars are aligned for a company like Aria, given the shift toward services-based business and accompanying subscription models. Ed concurred:… Read more