Cloudmark: Vapor CustomersBy Baselinemag | Posted 2005-03-07 Print
Cloudmark may exaggerate its customer wins, but those who actually use the startup's products say they do the trick.
Cloudmark claims its software is used at more than 2,000 companies. But the startup may be embroidering the truth: Several of the "corporate customers" touted by Cloudmark do not have its products widely deployed.
Nine organizations listed as customers on Cloudmark's Web siteFidelity Information Services, Hilton Hotels' Doubletree Hotels, Michigan State University, the New York City Department of Education, Nolte Associates, Rainmaker Systems, Restoration Hardware, Southern Methodist University and the University of Nebraska at Lincolntold Baseline they were not using its products in any significant way. For example, New York's Department of Education runs Cloudmark's software on just one computer. "Cloudmark is not a major vendor for us," says spokeswoman Toni Bunn.
Cloudmark's explanation? "You're just not talking to the right people," says a spokeswoman. Cloudmark said it would provide contacts for the nine organizations. It sent three: One at Rainmaker, who is no longer with the company; one at Nolte, who said it dropped Cloudmark a year ago; and one at New York's Department of Education, who confirmed the agency runs Cloudmark on only one PC but that it plans to add the software to 20 more.
Meanwhile, those who actually use Cloudmark's software say it does the trick. The company's Authority server software is "meeting our requirements and keeping our users happy," says Paul Butler, who manages the e-mail systems of the U.S. General Services Administration.
But Cloudmark's software for the Microsoft Exchange mail server lacks features useful in corporate environments, says Keith Schulenburg, systems administrator for Assisted Living Concepts, which operates elder-care residences. For example, the software does not provide an option to completely delete spam (which still appears in someone's "deleted items" folder). "Cloudmark is not thinking in terms of enterprisewide installations," says Schulenburg.
For small groups, SafetyBarCloudmark's consumer-oriented software for individual computersis a manageable and effective tool, according to Lisa Minor, head of information systems at the 50-employee GHS Federal Credit Union in Binghamton, N.Y. "I felt we needed something simple at the source of the problem," she says. However, Minor adds, "If we had more users, I'd probably have gone with a different solution."
Revenue, 2004 (est.): Less than $10M
Funding to date: $16.5M in three rounds
FTVentures, Ignition Partners, Presidio Venture Partners
Enterprise customers claimed: 2,000
Individual users claimed: 1.2 million
Other Enterprise Customers
Financial: American Century Investments, Credit Suisse Group
Manufacturing: Dolby Laboratories, Kelly Paper
Secure Computing (network-based security hardware and software), Openwave Systems (wireless data and messaging software), PayPal (online financial transaction software), Sendmail (e-mail server software)
Founded by Jordan Ritter and Vipul Ved Prakash
June: Launches beta version of SpamNet (now called SafetyBar)
April: Releases final version of SpamNet 1.0
July: Lands $4.5M in funding
June: Announces Immunity server software
Sept.: Receives $11M in funding
Sources: company reports, Baseline research
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