Cirius is gearing up for a push on multiple fronts, including a new emphasis on their own branded products, entering a new global broadline distribution deal, increasing their Canadian business, and becoming the first secure messaging solution to receive Parallels APS 2 certification for the Parallels Automation environment.
Vancouver’s Cirius, which makes a secure messaging platform that goes to market almost entirely through OEM and channel partners, has being doing very well over the last couple of years. Still, the company is gearing up for an even bigger push, on multiple fronts.
First, while most of Cirius’ business to date has been white labelled, they are now giving much greater emphasis to their own branded Cirius Secure Messaging solution. The branding is related to another major initiative, a new global broadline distribution deal which will broaden their reach. Cirius is also planning to increase their Canadian business significantly. Finally, they have also just become the first secure messaging solution to receive Parallels APS 2 certification for the Parallels Automation environment, so that Cirius Secure Messaging can now be added to any Parallels service provider’s product portfolio.
Cirius was founded in 2006 by Thierry LeVasseur, a serial entrepreneur whose previous company had built a content management platform. He sold that company, but the creative team that moved to Cirius was essentially the same team from the prior company. With Cirius, developing the IP and the patents for collaborating on information securely was a four and a half year process, and the real go-to-market push began in 2011.
“Secure messaging had always been complicated solutions driven in a complicated manner for very specific use cases,” said Cameron Burke, SVP of Business Development for Cirius. “Our idea was to provide secure messaging broadly and simply.”
Burke said Cirus built a cloud-based secure messaging platform that provides email encryption, real-time message tracking, data leak prevention, large file transfer, mobile messaging and API integration.
“We have a differentiated platform that gives us uniquely differentiated features, products and margins,” he said. “Often companies didn’t know who we were, but when you compared products side to side, it was clear we offered more. This gave us an opportunity to unseat solutions that didn’t perform as well as customers would have liked. Right away, there was an advantage there.”
A major go-to-market route has been OEM partners, of whom they have twelve, and who typically white label the Cirius product.
“Our Secure Messaging Platform goes to market with Open Text, who integrate it into their document management solution,” Burke said. “AppRiver is another OEM partner, and working with them has been a great learning experience for us. They truly understand how to enable a small business.”
With the exception of a couple customers like the government of Ontario, all of Cirius’ product goes to market through channels. Burke said that their non-OEM partners are a broad collection of hosters, telcos, MSPs and VARs.
“Our goal isn’t to have the most partnerships, but to have strong collaboration with partners,” he said. “We create marketing materials and do lead generation for them, because the channel is our only go-to-market route. We don’t compete with partners. We don’t commoditize pricing. We have grown from less than 200 customers to more than 4800 in two years, and that growth is not possible without motivating a channel. I’m a passionate channel advocate. It’s how small companies can best build a brand and go.”
Burke said that the Secure Messaging Platform’s simplicity makes it idea for the channel.
“There is a massive channel opportunity here,” he said. “The channel needs things automated to deploy easily. The architecture of this solution means there is no integration needed into Exchange or the mail solution, which eliminates a lot of time and integration. It is literally four to five clicks to get a customer up and running. We have also built out a powerful back-end API-driven platform to enable their customers.”
Cirius is embarking on a series of aggressive plans to expand its business through partners. These include a significant expansion in the Canadian market. It is not uncommon for Canadian technology companies to do the vast majority of their business outside Canada as they build up their business, and Cirius has been no exception to that rule. Their Canadian profile, was, however, raised two weeks ago by being named to the Canadian Innovation Exchange Top 20.
“Our U.S. business is about 78 per cent of our revenues, and 12 per cent is U.K.,” Burke said. “Canada is lagging behind, but we are hoping this recognition will help us here. There’s a massive opportunity in Canada for homegrown solutions which are best of breed globally, and we will make a strong push in Canada over the next 12 months to make people aware of that.”
Burke said customer concerns about data jurisdiction should help them in Canada, as well as in any non-U.S. markets where the storage place of cloud data can be an issue.
“We can make sure content in securely kept in Canada,” he said. “That’s a huge driver for us. We can also set that up for our partners to do things in any geographic way they need.”
Cirius is also planning to make greater use of its own brand than in the past, in large part because they are about to make a foray into distribution.
“We will be launching over the next month and a half with a very large global broadline distributor who wants to put our product into many verticals,” Burke said. “They want to leverage our brand, so we have started promoting our brand.” The deal is a global one, and they are presently finalizing go to market details.
“As we go to market more under our own brand, we will leverage that brand,” Burke said. “This will be good for many channel partners. We are often the brand behind the brand, but when introducing new concepts for partners, some of them like to leverage your brand.”
Cirius has also become the first secure messaging solution to be certified with the APS 2 standard for the Parallels Automation environment, the world’s largest ecosystem of applications for service providers and their SMB customers. This allows Cirius Secure Messaging to be added easily to any Parallels solution provider’s product portfolio.
“This is a significant integration, because many service providers use the Parallels platform for provisioning,” Burke said. “It is greatly improved in version 2. Version 1 was very integration heavy, and didn’t take into account that most channels have a multi-tier distribution model. This version deals with those issues.”