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AvePoint Thinks Big On Microsoft Data Management, Data Protection Play With New $200M Funding

‘We sought the funding because the total addressable market is huge. We are targeting enterprises with $1-billion-plus in revenue because they care about governance. And as smaller companies adopt SaaS, we're seeing growth there as well,’ AvePoint CEO Tianyi Jiang says.

AvePoint -- an 18-year-old provider of data governance, protection, and migration technology for Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint environments -- has received about $200 million in private equity funding commitments, a figure that could rise to $250 million.

AvePoint, which has a profitable and growing operation, decided to get the new round of funding as a way to help pave the way to meet the growth stemming from Microsoft's cloud business, said Tianyi Jiang, co-founder and co-CEO of the Jersey City, N.J.-based company.

AvePoint is a Microsoft ISV (independent software vendor) that started 18 years ago with a focus on SharePoint, Jiang told CRN. Seven years, the company used its SharePoint skills to move into Office 365 and the Microsoft cloud environment which had at its base SharePoint, he said. AvePoint has since become one of the largest, if not the largest, software providers for Microsoft Azure environments, he said.

[Related: 6 Reasons Why The Public Cloud Is An Opportunity For Channel Partners]

The company is also strong with data protection and governance capabilities in Microsoft Teams and Slack environments, and is the largest Microsoft Teams partner, Jiang said.

The new funding will help AvePoint move quickly to push migration, governance, and backup in Teams environments as enterprises move quickly to adopt Teams, Jiang said.

At the same time, many smaller companies with as few as five employees are also looking at how to add governance to SaaS environments, he said.

"For Microsoft, 50 percent of its business is in the SMB segment," he said. "For us, that's a new market."

The $200-million funding round is key to helping AvePoint grow in these environments, Jiang said.

"For a software company, 18 years is a long time to be in business," he said. "But this is the most exciting time for us. Our market is growing from our SharePoint business to Office 365. We sought the funding because the total addressable market is huge. We are targeting enterprises with $1-billion-plus in revenue because they care about governance. And as smaller companies adopt SaaS, we're seeing growth there as well."

All of AvePoint's SMB business, which Jiang defined as customers with annual revenue of under $250 million, is done via managed service providers. The company sells exclusively through distributors including Ingram Micro, Synnex, and Tech Data. Carbonite licenses AvePoint's backup technology, he said.

In the midmarket, defined as businesses in the $250 million to $1 billion range, AvePoint uses an inside sales force to sell the software, with services for such deals managed by systems integrators. For clients with over $1 billion in annual revenue, where deals typically exceed $1 million, AvePoint works direct, he said.

For AvePoint, this is the company's third funding round. The company in 2006 received funding of $6 million, followed by a $100 million funding round in 2014. Jiang said that the new $200 million funding round, which the company unveiled last week, will likely reach about $250 million when it's finished, Jiang said.

"We're growing 40-percent year-over-year," he said. "We're profitable. We have zero debt. And the investment is in total only a minority investment."

For many of its investors, AvePoint has become a way to take advantage of Microsoft's growing cloud business, Jiang said.

"Microsoft's cloud business is red-hot," he said. "But Microsoft stock is too expensive. We are a good proxy for investors looking at Microsoft."

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