The way Francois Daumard sees it, the remote monitoring and management (RMM) market is like the airline industry – full of established players that offer similar products and customer experiences.
That's why Daumard, a longtime channel executive with previous stops at Microsoft, Apple, IBM and AVG, joined emerging vendor NinjaRMM as chief revenue officer in June. He said the San Francisco-based provider stands ready to meet the "unspoken" demands of the channel.
"Partners are often disappointed with what they've been experiencing with their RMM tool and RMM vendor," he told CRN. "They are anxious to receive a different type of experience."
In the 18 months since its formal launch, NinjaRMM has added 1,140 managed service providers to its partner ecosystem and more than tripled the size of its now 50-person staff. Accelerating month-over-month growth has followed for the vendor as word of its simple, intuitive RMM user experience spreads within the MSP community.
To this point, Ninja has met success without heavyweight outbound sales and marketing muscle.
Roughly 65 percent of the company's business is inbound. More than 40 percent of partners who demo the product ultimately become customers, and "effectively zero dollars" have been spent on advertising, Sferlazza said. NinjaRMM has primarily relied upon word-of-mouth, social media streams and limited appearances at trade shows.
Matt Donnelly, managing member of Colorado-based Mitchell & Company, stumbled upon NinjaRMM while browsing the MSP subreddit and quickly bought into the company for its reputation as an easy-to-deal-with vendor, both from the partnership and user experience perspectives. Mitchell's engineers, he said, haven't had to spend time troubleshooting or manually updating the platform.
"We were sold on their size and the tool set and the community around it," Donnelly said.
Retention of existing partners has also been "incredibly high," NinjaRMM CEO Sal Sferlazza said, and most major vendor have already reached out to the company about integrating their products.
With eyes on keeping the momentum going, NinjaRMM plans further expansion both among larger North American MSPs and internationally, where the company has no physical presence.
Daumard said Ninja will be making several additional sales and marketing hires to "be able to speak the language of larger MSPs." That will involve better tailoring the solution to industry-focused MSPs – the platform is now HIPAA-compliant, Daumard noted, making the health care space one such area – and engaging more with the larger North American MSPs communities.
"We have worked with some large MSPs, so it's not a matter of scaling up technically," Daumard said. "Our product is fully capable of addressing complex and sophisticated needs of complex and large MSPs. It's more how we approach them."
On the international front, NinjaRMM is relying on cloud-focused distributors such as Zedsphere and EMT for its expansion push in the U.K., Europe, APAC and South Africa. Daumard said the company has already enjoyed pleasantly surprising success abroad, calling it a "big win" for NinjaRMM.
As its inbound team becomes increasingly busy, Ninja has reoriented its strategy to incorporate more of an outbound sales and marketing presence, as well. The provider is hiring account managers and intends to reach out to channel partners more proactively.
The company has already undergone a rebrand, changing its official name from NinjaMSP to NinjaRMM, in conjunction with a website redesign. More trade shows are on the docket, as well.
"We're going to be more visible in 2018 than we have been," Daumaurd said. "This is going to make channel partners feel good about choosing us as a vendor. We are entering the Ivy League of the RMM vendors."
Ninja has gained this rapid traction, according to partners, because of the software's modern web-based interface, cloud-based design, low dashboard latency and minimal onboarding time as being some of its key strengths.
Lucas Wellman, founder and CEO of San Ramon, Calif.-based Status Pros, made his company the very first Ninja partner not only because of the RMM platform's overall "cleanliness," particularly its intuitive interface, but also because of an energetic corporate culture that got him genuinely excited to try the product.
Bitstream Consulting managing member Ollie Strickland, another Ninja partner, agreed.
"The legacy products, they have a look, feel, and architecture of a previous era," Strickland said. "Ninja reminded me of the way I felt about Gmail when it came out, compared to [Microsoft] Outlook. Built from the ground up with modern technologies, made for the web and not shoehorned in somewhere it didn't fully fit."
Wellman, who said he's dealt with most of the other major RMM vendors, knew he wanted to develop his business around cloud-based, SMB-focused solutions. Status Pros maintains a zero infrastructure philosophy and is in the process of building its own set of MSP solutions. NinjaRMM's platform allows Status Pros to deliver on that business model, Wellman said, because it integrates so well with Zen Desk, Salesforce, Webroot and other vendors.
The latest platform update added third-party patch management to the platform, which Ninja said demonstrates the strength of its responsiveness to partners. By not treating product support as a cost, and by not requiring "long-term contracts," Sferlazza believes that incentivizes his company to keep its standards of execution high. "If we don't execute, people will leave," he said.
"It's been a really fun ride so far," said Sferlazza, previous founder of PacketTrap (purchased by Quest Software), Lasso Logic (purchased by SonicWALL) and Realm Interactive (purchased by NcSoft). "I think Ninja will be the biggest company I ever grow. We're very quickly becoming relevant in the RMM space even though there's a lot of other players."