Lightning strikes twice for Cloud Plus

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This article appeared in the July 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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Lightning strikes twice for Cloud Plus
Jules Rumsey

Cloud Plus founder Jules Rumsey is well aware of the challenges facing cloud providers in Australia. The outage that hit the Australian AWS availability zone Sydney last month served as a stark reminder that the cloud isn’t invincible.

“Cloud has made people nervous about continuity,” Rumsey says. “What happens if it has a bad day? Unfortunately, there’s no quality of service on the internet, it is what it is. You just have to make sure you have a good service provider.”

That’s the role Cloud Plus endeavours to play. The six-year old company has been making strides in the local cloud market by building its own channel from the ground up. Rumsey says the biggest challenge is educating partners and customer on how to get the most out of Cloud Plus’ platform. In an era where cloud is taken for granted, it might come as a surprise that the technology can still be a hard sell.

“It can take a while to onboard partners with the best way to leverage cloud,” Rumsey says. “They have a soft start when they start selling cloud as a suite of products, not selling the full proposition. When they do, they end up selling gangbusters.”

Cloud Plus just expanded into unified communications courtesy of hosted Mitel PBX and video conferencing from Vydeo. Cloud Plus is setting out to prove there’s no end in sight to what cloud can offer resellers. “It’s got to a point where there’s a lot of legacy PBX systems not getting the benefits of unified communications. Things like instant messaging and video conferencing, there’s a big appeal for clients. With video, clients have had a lot of frustration using a consumer video platform with a single point-to-point.

“One of the big changes is when you bought a phone, you might have a big telco come along and wrap it up in services. In the past, clients had to pay a reasonable amount for a bomb of a basic platform for five years.”

Making a repeat performance in the CRN Fast50 is no easy task. Exceptional growth in one year is an impressive achievement – getting lighting to strike again and again is even more of a challenge. Cloud Plus landed the No. 6 place last year with 114.41 percent growth and $4.4 million in revenue based purely on organic growth.  It was the company’s second CRN Fast50 appearance after a No. 4 finish in 2013.

Rumsey knows how hard it is to achieve meteoric growth and he has a plan in mind to maintain the trajectory. “We’ve had massive growth since the outset, but that’s tapering because it gets harder and harder to maintain. It gets harder and harder to hit those percentages organically, so we are considering some acquisitions at the moment. 

“Ideally, we’re looking for smaller, bite-sized chunks when it comes to acquisitions that allow us to scale without getting too distracted. Something highly complementary that adds footprint, service offerings or solid staff, it could be a variety of different things.”

Acquisition isn’t the only expansion strategy. The company grew into Asia last year by establishing an office in Manila to support its other locations in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. 

Cloud Plus also wants to expand its headcount from around 20 to 30 with a larger salesforce and extra Mitel engineers.  

Fact File

Head office Brisbane

Established 2010

Key executive Jules Rumsey (CEO)

2015 growth 114.41%

2015 revenue $4.4 million

Headcount 20

Top vendors Telstra, AAPT, NextDC

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