Toronto-based cloud accounting and invoicing company Freshbooks is looking to expand its presence in the channel, and it’s looking to its new partner Ingram Micro to be a key enabler.
Freshbooks Tuesday announced a partnership with Ingram that will see the company offers its accounting cloud services on Ingram’s Cloud Marketplace, in the U.S. at first and in Canada and in other markets later this year.
Best known as a platform for freelancers and solopreneurs to get paid more easily and automatically, Freshbooks scales up to customers, particularly those that sell based on time, for companies up to the $20 million to $30 million in revenues, said George Kyriakis, head of partnerships at Freshbooks.
“As we’ve added more and more accounting features, we’ve added customers like agencies, law firms and professional services firms,” Kyriakis said.
The deal with Ingram is the first toe in the water of building a channel for Freshbooks, for whom resale partnerships have been minimal in the past — Kyriakis points to one big deal with U.S.-based bank Chase. But while some solution providers might run their businesses on Freshbooks, the company is mostly new to selling through solutions providers, Kyriakis said.
But there’s an opportunity for the company in working with those that are providing technology advice to small business customers, the very types of customers most likely to lean on their local VAR or MSP for recommendations for technology in general and cloud services in particular.
“We want to be available where [small businesses] go,” Kyriakis said.
Kyriakis said Ingram provides global reach, although the deal will at first be U.S.-only, with the ability to reach north of 50,000 VARs through the distributor. Just as importantly, with its CloudBlue platform, Ingram has the technology to be “the key enabler” in connecting Freshbooks with partners.
While the company will look to develop some direct reselling relationships, Kyriakis said it will “depend on distributors like Ingram for building scale, breadth, and depth” in its channel efforts.
The company is based in Canada, but has customers in more than 100-plus customers, Kyriakis said, and 70 percent of the company’s business is in the U.S. That’s part of the reason the partnership with Ingram will begin Stateside. But perhaps more importantly, it’s where Kyriakis said the company has seen the most interest from the channel. He reported he has “ongoing conversations with several telcos and resellers” in the U.S., but to make the partnerships work, integrations and middleware need to be in place. And that’s where Ingram’s CloudBlue platform comes into the picture, a way for Freshbooks to connect to a number of partners without having to integrate on a partner-by-partner basis.
Kyriakis said the plan is to expand its distribution deal with Ingram to include Canada, the UK and Australia “later this year,” once its built processes and experience with the distributor in the States.
“We want to test the support model with Ingram and with our first few resellers, then scale from there,” Kyriakis said.
The company is positioning itself with resellers as a great add-on for solution providers working with small businesses to have in their lineup of tools.
“SaaS is great for recurring revenues and stickiness, and there’s very low turnover for apps like this,” Kyriakis said. “Even in these COVID times, companies still need to invoice and get paid.”
Partner service opportunities include integration with a variety of other applications, migration and business process development. Kyriakis said that one-quarter of the company’s customers come from other platforms like QuickBooks, representing a migration opportunity. Another quarter comes from “pen and paper or Excel and Word,” customers who will need more partner support in updating their business processes for a more automated world.
Although it’s new to the channel, Kyriakis said he believes the company’s support model is one that sets it apart from many of its SaaS peers with customers, and that it can extend that advantage to its channel as well.
“We have free, unlimited support with extended business hours, and we are extending that to resellers as well,” Kyriakis said.