Two years after Express Data sold up to Dicker, one of its alumni has launched a high-volume, cloud-based business model that really breaks the mould.
Danny Moore, previously managing director of Simms International and chief executive of ED subsidiary Express Online, has pulled together $2 million and former directors from Simms to run his startup, Zrilo.
Zrilo is equal parts retailer, reseller, integrator and distributor. It is an online platform designed to help SMEs find the cloud apps they need to run their business, a dashboard to view data and monitor financial and non-financial KPIs, a single sign-on portal for staff and a library of training materials for cloud apps that also tracks staff certification.
The genesis was a four-city roadshow, conducted in the final month of ED’s existence, that focused exclusively on SaaS vendors.
In February 2014, Express Online took point-of-sale app Vend, field services management app GeoOp and cloud accounting app Xero to mostly Apple resellers and showed them bundled solutions on Apple tablets with Cisco and Mobile Iron.
Since then, Xero’s ecosystem has ballooned. Now boasting some 500 apps, Moore asks: who has time to do due diligence and testing?
The success of vertical resellers such as TradiePad shows the value of a trusted adviser in cloud.
“I thought, ‘There’s a way to do this as a SaaS model’,” says Moore.
At first glance Zrilo looks similar to Maestrano or 9 Spokes – API platforms where business owners can review and select apps, unify billing and monitor usage. However, this doesn’t go far enough, says Moore.
“The biggest thing people are missing is the customer experience. Our industry has taken the technology and then built the customer experience around it rather than the other way around.”
So this is the Zrilo experience: a business owner searches the site for apps to meet its business needs. Zrilo provides set up and any integration through its help desk and the business owner can view the apps through the dashboard.
The dashboard contains several tabs. The first is Health, a status dashboard that shows any mix of data that’s important to the business. Non-financial data pulled from other cloud apps can also be displayed here.
A second tab controls alerts which can be for jobs, invoices, quotes or other data.
A staff tab shows the apps for which each employee has registered and the number of accounts for which the company is paying.
A training tab shows the number of courses completed by each staff member. The business owner or HR manager can track certification or compliance here. And finally there’s a tab for customer support. This links into Zrilo’s channel play.
“The accounting and bookkeeping channel is a major focus for us,” says Moore. MYOB may have been the first in Australia to sell software through accountants, but these days it is Xero that is selling hundreds of licences a week.
While each business that buys Xero (or another cloud accounting app) can easily plug in other cloud business apps, most accountants are totally averse to making recommendations outside of accounting apps.
Zrilo will give accountants and bookkeepers a dashboard that will show all their customers and the apps they use.
Channel partners can choose to use Zrilo as a white-label platform for app management and training and do the on-boarding and implementation themselves, or they can outsource it all to Zrilo.
The program costs between $99 to $249 a month per business, and Zrilo will need thousands of businesses on board to make it work, says Moore.
“We’re going to make a lot of mistakes but we’re learning very quickly on the way and not burning a stupid amount of cash,” he says. “I think there is a way to do it.”
Pictured: Danny Moore (Zrilo)
Head office Surry Hills, Sydney
Established May 2015
Top executives Danny Moore