Zuora: Subscription billing in the cloud

Benchmark Capital backs Ex-Salesforce and Webex execs to create Zuora

This is one of those companies that as soon as you hear about it you think "man, I shoulda thought of that." Zuora is a new company founded by top execs from Salesforce.com and WebEx, two companies that have been pioneers in the SaaS (software as a service) market. Recognizing that there will be many more SaaS companies selling subscriptions, they've launched with an online billing system for any kind of subscription offering. The argument is simple: Why write your own subscription system when there are so many more important things to do in building a company?

It's a compelling argument. The cost of launching companies has gone down dramatically in the last 10 years due to open source software and pay-by-the-drink services like WebEx and Salesforce.com. You don't have to budget a few million dollars just to get started with expensive servers and closed source software. And you probably don't need Siebel, PeopleSoft, or any of the old-school enterprise software as you're starting. Heck, you may not even need a room full of servers if you use Amazon's EC2, Bungee Labs, or other cloud providers. But you do want to make sure you bill your customers! Zuora has also added the ability to integrate with PayPal, giving end-users more flexibility in how they pay.

So maybe Zuora is on to something. They've raised $6.5 million from Benchmark Capital and have about 40 customers to date. What do you think about what Zuora's doing? Anyone out there written your own billing system? Would you do it again? Add your comments below.

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