Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.
Technology Sector: Software
Key Product: Zimbra Collaboration Suite
Year Founded: 2003
Number of Channel Partners: 700 worldwide
Ideal Channel Partner: Midmarket-focused solution providers
Why You Should Care: This six-year-old company has several products that offer next-generation e-mail, calendaring and collaboration software for mailboxes. But so do a lot of other companies. Technology aside, one of the biggest differences is that Zimbra targets organizations that normally can't afford these collaboration services because of the prohibitively high entry costs.
The Lowdown: Zimbra, a subsidiary of Yahoo, has a slew of products in the market to help customers manage their e-mail systems more productively, including Zimbra Collaboration Suite, Zimbra Desktop and Zimbra Server.
The company's bestselling product, Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS), provides messaging and collaboration offerings, including e-mail, address book, calendaring and Web documents, that can be deployed onsite, through outsourced partners or hosted via service providers. The company's offerings are not only sold to businesses but to government, education and non-profit entities as well.
"It's a great time to get in at the base level. The market is growing so there are huge opportunities for more partners to grow the network," said Greg Armanini, director of marketing. "It's a 'high hockey stick' growth trajectory -- slow and low, and then it there's a sharp turn upwards as it takes off."
Zimbra is also seeing brisk business in spite of, or maybe because of, the gloomy economy. Next-generation e-mail and collaboration software can be a boon to the budgets of IT departments since it decreases spending on hardware, licenses and time doing maintenance, he said.
"If you're a VAR today, your prospects are asking you to recommend products to cut IT costs, so you need to have this in your arsenal," Armanini said. "It's easier to use our products, customize them and maintain them."
The landscape is fairly limited competitively in terms of solutions, Armanini said. He said that Zimbra is a less costly alternative to Microsoft Exchange, which can be prohibitively expensive, especially to smaller businesses. Zimbra features are also as good if not better than Exchange, he said, which has made potential customers sit up and take notice.
"We're not part of the old boys club," he said. "We got this way because of our open-source background, offering very populist software."
Zimbra partners range from hosted solution providers, ISPs and VARs. Zimbra resellers qualify for gold, silver or standard levels. Zimbra supports partners by providing readily available access to Zimbra sales and engineering teams, and through Zimbra's Partner Portal, which offers product, sales and marketing support materials.