ConnectWise CEO Discloses 2009 Revenue Estimate
During a wide ranging conversation at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC09), ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini revealed to me a simple but dramatic mission for his company. Plus, Bellini pulled back the curtain a bit more on ConnectWise’s anticipated revenues and profits for 2009. Here are the details.
So, what’s Bellini’s ultimate mission? “We want to empower the independent solution provider to dominate the entire market,” said Bellini. “I’m not talking about the SMB space. I’m talking about the entire market. That’s the vision.”
Naturally, Bellini sees ConnectWise’s software as a key requirement for MSP and solution provider success. “One thing that has always held them [VARs and solutions providers] back is the lack of a common business operating system.” ConnectWise, he asserts, is that common glue.
Many MSPs seem to be embracing Bellini’s message. For 2009, ConnectWise expects to generate roughly $24 million in annual revenue, up from roughly $16 million in 2008. Also, Bellini expects $11 million to flow to ConnectWise’s bottom line in 2009, up from $6 million in 2008.
Ironically, Bellini noted that ConnectWise is working overtime to drive down its profits by plowing money back into research and development as well as education. When Bellini looked at ConnectWise’s 2008 profit of $6 million, he says he saw an opportunity to plow at least $3 million of it back into education in 2009 — through efforts like ConnectWise University.
“Our objective was to invest in the company so much this year and take the bottom line to zero,” said Bellini.
Zero? I must admit: I didn’t have the energy or time to debate Bellini on that assertion. Surely, he must want “some” profits at ConnectWise. But recent actions — including a price cut on Hosted ConnectWise — suggest that Bellini is serious about growing market share while giving back to the company’s existing customer base.
Friends, Foes and Finances
Why did Bellini disclose the financial tidbits to me? All of the well-known professional services automation (PSA) companies — ConnectWise, Autotask and TigerPaw — are privately held. None of them are required to publicly disclose their financials.
Perhaps that’s the point. By sharing a few financial tidbits, I believe Bellini is taking a calculated risk. Privately, he must believe ConnectWise’s financials stack up well against the competition. One of the fastest ways to differentiate yourself in a market is to talk about your financial performance. He’s almost daring the competition to jump into the conversation.
Also, I consider Bellini’s financial talk an open letter to would-be partners and customers, stating that ConnectWise is growing, profitable and building business relationships in a difficult economy.