Joey & IPVM - thank you for taking time to speak with me and publishing this article.
I wanted to provide a bit of context. Following the raise, we made a decision to announce the funding in a very intentional order, based on our priorities to build a long-term, high-growth, sustainable business. Getting the spot-light in an evolving news cycle is fun but it's short-lived - we want to build meaningful relationships with partners and clients that last, so we wanted to prioritize in the following order :
team --> customers/partners --> market --> press
We feel IPVM is a good proxy for the market. Many of our partners & customers use IPVM as a source for product reviews, market assessments and conducting research. On a personal note, Solink's benefitted first-hand from the content and people on IPVM to help us understand the industry and learn empathy for the partner/user who will be interacting with our team and product. Our goal is to be part of this community in an honest and transparent way - by being a trusted partner that's "in it for the long haul". The commitment I shared is that we will do a better job of being engaged in this community going forward - and it starts with prioritizing an announcement on IPVM over the general press.
A couple of points of clarity or further context from the article:
“Now, however, they believe they can apply that same model to integrate customers' cameras with any data – alarms, temperature, financial, etc.”
We have been integrating customer data since inception. Solink started with customers in the financial services space. Many end-users of Solink are banks and credit unions and have been with us for years. Much of our appreciation and sensitivity for PII data came from those early interactions. In the last 18 months, we've added integration to access control, alarm/intrusion systems, camera analytics, inventory, back-office systems, authentication, sensors, etc. Much of our IP is in the flexible ingestion of data from a variety of protocols, data-systems and existing pipelines.
“ ...based on the number of cameras claimed connected and a reasonable to modest $10 per month estimated average sales price.”
While we have a pure-play VSaaS offering we try to keep pricing simple for partners and end-users alike. We don't charge retention per camera by bitrate because we don't stream all the video to the cloud though in some cases this is an option (regulated industries). Our pricing is on a per-month per-location basis and varies by the number of camera and retention period required. On average this starts at about $150/mth/location MSRP with hardware included.
“Expansion Mass Market”
When we launched in 2015 our product didn’t offer a ton of functionality so we decided to always win on Service. We found that being customer centric is good for business as much as it is rewarding. Some examples that we've kept since the early days:- We answer ANY end-user request in-app within 5 mins guaranteed 24-hours a day 365-days a year. Support is foundational to the experience.- We offer free audits, training and best practices webinars and 1:1- We don’t force partners or customers into large contracts - the minimum purchase is 1. We've witnessed that the way Enterprise organization buy has changed - rarely does anyone write a first cheque of $1M+. They want to ensure consistency and dependability. We measure re-purchase rates and it’s a big invest on customer success even after first purchase. - We don’t lock customers into contracts - while we try to avoid it, we recognize that we sometimes mess-up or slip-up on expectations. We allow anyone to leave as easily as they signed-up without predatory contract repayments.
We are 25% penetrated into our existing buyer-base. We want to continue to meet & exceed expectations of existing customers and see them fully adopt Solink. That has the potential to 4x our business (without marketing or adding new customers). In SaaS profitability is measured on payback and gross margins - so keeping a customer for life and reducing the Cost of Acquisition is the way to building a sustainable business - not simply chasing "higher profits"
“Matta admits they are understaffed, and under marketed”
I think there’s 2 sides of the coin here - the first is that we want to prioritize where we have a unique advantage and seize that opportunity without focusing on being “everything for everyone”. The second is that as we scale, we can afford to increase the size of our team we can cover more territory, verticals and markets. We’ve been intentional on focusing on organic & sustainable growth - we have been good stewards of capital, not mass hiring (or firing) but ensuring we have the best talent to tackle the goals ahead of us. As we grow, we can afford to have a broader view of the market and opportunity. I think it’s served us well but there is definitely a lot of work to do to and we are all excited to learn and adapt.
The video security market is very horizontal. We choose to go deep in certain markets where we saw the opportunity to win - namely restaurant, retail, & FIs. In building our core platform our vision was broader - we saw the benefit of business analytics and video together in one platform. We think we CAN grow in current verticals and take market share but we also believe the total addressable market for video will continue to grow beyond security applications. Think of workflows to solve specific problems and use-cases. The voice market is a great example that has evolved significantly from the days of “Dragon Naturally Speaking”. I feel we are at the cusp of another large transformation where video from security cameras can be the input of workflows that act as “side-kicks” to businesses. Solink sees this expansion as an opportunity to add applications into the platform.
You feel IPVM is a proxy, then you include all of us. Hi there. Here we go.
I need to rant below, simple words from a simple person unchanged in the covid crapmosphere with a pear/apple lindy effect comparison we can expand on, together.
Looks you in the eye. How many sides of a coin do you expect?(your words indulge) You expect capitol to afford a broader view of the market as you grow? The competition market is tangent not horizontal, risk will concentrate bias towards x,y coordinates that you mention on how verticals unfold to the naturally speaking workflows of your logical scape. Expansion mass market metrics are feasible but not a true grit factor at this phase, pass on those merit calculations to avoid cannonball logistics of assumptions of markets and competitors. Compete without niche and find yourself looking in the mirror in a line full of others. Now, strangely passes the tea cup to your MBA.
Upside: Solink needs to have an outward engineered rhino plastic nose for innovation. If you want F*ck you money you need a F*ck you attitude.