Webroot – Problem and solution attract further inquiry
GENERAL REACTION TO PITCHES
I watched two dozen pitches on silicon.com and noted my reactions. I need a clear description of the problem. I don’t care about lists of features, jargon or broad, vague claims without specific use cases. I don’t trust pitches that claim to be the solution for everyone. I want to understand how the venture is focusing on a strategic niche to fill a gap in the existing market.
Webroot provides security through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model:
Ian Moyse, Director of Channel Sales, doesn’t project enthusiasm but his calm, matter-of-fact style feels sincere.
He describes the pain point: companies must reduce IT costs while maintaining services such as email and web access that make them susceptible to security threats. Security threats have increased by 500% and maintaining security protections in-house is complex and expensive.
He describes his solution at a high level: an outsourced Software as a Service (SaaS) that secures email and web services while reducing IT operating costs by 60%.
This pitch is meant for CIOs, so Moyse does not address marketing, team, or financing.
During the Q&A, he describes his service as an integration of third party services and software. His “competitive advantage” against other SaaS suppliers is the cheaper costs and higher security he achieves by negotiating with his suppliers. His market is companies who handle complex security internally and he lists recognized customers.
Webroot represents an investment target for growth as security is increasing in complexity and costs. If they are reliable and keep up with security threats, they represent an easy way for any company to offload email and web security.
The short-term risk is low due to established customers and revenues. The long-term risk is high because Webroot sources products and services from third parties and has little intellectual property or strategic value. What happens if someone buys one of its suppliers? Webroot is probably a poor investment for a venture capitalist who wants a big exit. It may be better for a subordinated debt lender who agrees to fund growth based on the company’s ability to pay back through revenues.Posted in: Week 03: Analyst Bootcamp