Noname has a fairly large channel – over 70 partners – for a very young startup, but has a 100% channel model and sees committed and enthusiastic partners as necessary for them to scale.
Today, Palo Alto-based startup Noname Security, which makes a platform to provide API security, is announcing the Noname Unnamed Partner Program, the company’s first global partner program.
Noname is a newish 2020 startup, which began selling that same year, and whose unusual name is the consequence of early interaction with customers.
“In an early briefing with a large global company, at that time we didn’t have a name, and the lead investor put in ‘no name’ as name of the company,” said Michael Baker, VP Global Sales & Channel Chief at Noname Security. “It was a hit with the customer, and we liked the idea of having a company in security with no name, so we used that as the name.”
Large companies are Noname’s sweet spot, but not their only one, and longer term, they see the solution as having broader potential.
“I joined early on because of our ability to go up and downmarket,” Baker noted. “Large organizations have large problems. The Global 2000 is what we are mainly targeting today in our first few years of selling. However, in the last quarter we added half a dozen smaller customers, who also have API security problems. Managed service providers typically serve smaller customers with these issues.”
Baker emphasized that while there are other companies in the API security space, Noname provides differentiated value.
“The chasm is quite wide,” he said. “Our Noname platform has multiple differentiations. One of the most difficult things for enterprises to do is deploy agents. Noname has no agents in deployment, which tends to make it extraordinarily attractive for larger enterprises. We have customers in defense, in financial services, in every vertical imaginable which is vulnerable to API security challenges. We build and deploy in hybrid environments very proficiently. Nearly 100% of our customers have both data centres and a cloud environment. We are also able to offer an ‘in-house’ SaaS offering. The challenge with SaaS normally is that the data leaves the architecture. Ours has the look and feel of SaaS, but the data never leaves the environment.”
Baker stressed that their partner community is a major differentiator for Noname as well.
“We are 100% channel, and only work through partners,” he said. “The focus in our Go-to-Market is to increase both total bookings and gross profit for each partner. The channel is critical for us to scale. Our stated goal is to go public in a couple of years and we need an extraordinary channel program for that.”
Baker indicated that Noname already has over 70 channel partners already signed up.
“I would never have guessed that we would have 70 enthusiastic partners in our first year,” he said. “Selling us doesn’t require travel. It’s native cloud. There’s no hardware. It opens us up to more partners.”
Baker said that each partner is treated with unbelievable focus.
“Our inside sales team is maniacally focused on the channel,” he stated. “Our focus is how much profit are we adding to each partner, and how many services are we able to offer them. We will double our channel team over the next two quarters. We are launching into Asia Pacific as we speak. We launched in EMEA five months ago.”
The channel program starts out with a single tier, despite a relatively large number of partners for a young startup.
“We have the opportunity to build the tiers in, and they will be rolled out over time,” he said.
Certifications are also not there today, but will be coming.
“Certifications are very important for us,” Baker said. “We do it internally. That program will be transferred to our partners to make them more effective. We don’t look at certifications like a stick.
The program contains the expected table stakes, like deal registration through a partner portal, as well as co-branded demand generation assets including marketing collateral and email templates to provide sales support.
“We are also adding in different things every day like spiffs and activities,” he noted. “This is a highly competitive market, and we need to have the attention of our partners. It’s unusual for startups to be this supportive of the channel, but without them, we won’t scale and we won’t be as successful.”