[rerun of 12/2015] Basis for comparison: (Web)RTC PaaS

Every month I received a certain number of newsletters from different companies. Some are really …, hum, …. entertaining with their claims. Today’s batch reminded me that one year ago almost, I published on linked in (only) some numbers for those who wanted to evaluate webRTC PaaS. It looks like it is still needed today. So here you go. [Updates and comments of the original text will be placed in italic and between braces.]

One of the most difficult thing nowadays is to read through some (web)RTC announcements. Just like everyone is claiming to be a visionary leader in LinkedIn, every companies in the space (and their moms) are “leader in the market”, “Best in their space”, “Last independent webRTC platform”, “with better technology and scalability than Twilio/Tokbox/AWS/God”. Right.

As the CTO of Nexmo [ a CPaaS bought for almost 300 M by Vonage since] had put it to me one day, and he was right, “the best technology rarely wins”. All that count is dollars. Now, for young startups, which need to impress investors, we’re not speaking about revenue so much as growth or traction. But even when you are communicated with numbers, one question remains: is it good? To be able to evaluate if 1,000 users is good or not, if 1M revenue is good or not (arbitrary numbers), you need a basis for comparison, both in term of value, but also in term of speed. At the same time, “We tripled the number of customers”, could mean: “we went from 1 to 3 customers” :-).

In the global RTC space, Zoom is quite successful and results are available from a credible source. In the webRTC space, this article on Sinch is also quite interesting. What do they tell us?

With Yammer and Evernote and HootSuite, it took them seven months to get from a million to two million users, and it took Zoom five months to achieve that milestone.

Comparative speed is of the essence, and VCs are going to look at that.

The company [Zoom] shipped its first product in the summer of 2013 and since then has grown rapidly, with 65,000 businesses using the software to rack up more than a billion minutes of meetings.

In 18 months, ZOOM delivered 1B+ minutes to 65,000 enterprise customers.

Sinch blasts to $60M run rate in 10 months.

The title says it all. How much revenue did your preferred PaaS generated the last 10 months? If it’s less than 10M, you might not matter. If it’s less than 1M, you’d better not mention it at all. [As one (small) VC put it to me in Santa Clara one day “Come back when you will have achieved $2M recurring of contracts”.]

in 10 months, SINCH achieve $60M run rate.

For context, […] It was recently reported that Twilio was generating revenue on a $100 million run rate. Another firm in the space, Nexmo, hit a $72 million run rate in September of last year. 

More data points. Those three companies have all in common to have telephony APIs (SMS, Voice and not audio, …) but they also offer Audio, video, and other API, so they are comparable.

[Some could think that only happens in the silicon valley, or in USA. Nothing could be less true. One of the pioneer of the start up ecosystem in Singapore, the founder of JFDI Hugh Mason puts it this way in one very recent blog post:
“Now, there is about $2bn of early stage capital available within a few hundred meters of my desk in One North”. And that’s only Singapore ….]

“$2bn of early stage capital available within a few hundred meters of my desk in One North”

[For those that would want a comparison point based in Singapore / South East Asia], Wavecell is a young start-up, with a few years under its belt, and is generating close to 6M in revenue in the same space [it had a successful Series A late 2015, announced early 2016].

Wavecell, based in Singapore, generate $6M revenue with 500 customers.

Here you go, now you can make an informed evaluation of numbers provided by any RTC PaaS vendors.

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