The app store that powers the app stores of some of the largest business-to-business cloud software portals in the world is opening up its product to give other vendors the ability to sell their services and even grow a partner network.
AppDirect, a Silicon Valley-based firm that is helmed by a Canadian co-CEO in Daniel Saks, offers a cloud marketplace that connects businesses that need software with the independent software vendors (ISVs) that make it. Earlier this month, AppDirect launched its new Monetization Suite product, which promises to take care of all the heavy lifting when it comes to actually selling cloud software to an end-user – sales and management, billing and distribution, and recruiting resellers.
That distribution includes direct access to more than 1 million customers, mostly through white-labelled versions of the app store offered by Fortune 500 brands like ADP, Samsung, Comcast, Staples, and Redhat.
“Cloud developers of all sizes are going to have access to make money in a more efficient way,” says Saks.
For the cost of a monthly fee, depending on service level, and a revenue splitting deal that Saks describes as “the general range” (most app store operators take a 30 per cent cut), software developers get access to a marketplace that offers a deployment experience that’s as easy as installing an app on your iPhone. Their apps will be discoverable by end-users searching AppDirect’s store.
Montreal-based CakeMail is one of the pilot customers of AppDirect’s Monetization Suite. The e-mail marketing service launched as a white-label solution only, offering other service providers the capability to adopt their software, but in the past two years its started selling directly to end-users exclusively on the AppDirect platform. AppDirect’s distribution system also allows CakeMail to sell its software directly from its website, thanks to the inclusion of a payments processing service, says Julien Seguin, vice-president of operations at CakeMail.
Seguin says he is happy with the platform right now and he wants to continue to grow his customers.
“We like the onboarding process in terms of what we have to pay,” he says. “We were able to be on the pay-as-you-go plan so we didn’t have to pay a fee initially.”
AppDirect gives CakeMail the ability to sell its software worldwide, using different payments processors based on the locality, he explains. That helps smooth over the intricacies of different markets where the preferred payment method could be a credit card, debit card, or a wire transfer. The platform also handles international currencies.
Software vendors can also virtually expand their sales team by tapping into the a partner program management service in AppDirect. Saks says this is just part of the natural progression of software vendors.
“They start by having a freemium service where people can go to their website and sign up for a free trial,” he says. “As they grow they’ll want to build a reseller network or resell through larger brands.”
Other vendors using AppDirect’s new Monetization Suite so far include Zendesk, SugarCRM, and UnifiedInbox.