17 February 2010

SMX launches into Australia

New Zealand anti-spam and anti-virus company SMX has launched into Australia with the opening of a data-centre in Melbourne.

SMX managing director Jesse Ball says the Australian launch is part of an international growth strategy for which development capital was raised earlier this year. The fundraising round saw SMX raise $1.67 million from Sam Morgan’s investment company Jasmine Investment Holdings, Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 investment vehicle and Endeavour Capital (a New Zealand Venture Investment Company).

“Australia is an important step. We already have customers such as Harcourt’s who operate on both sides of the Tasman, and we have had sufficient early customer interest in Australia to move faster than anticipated in setting up our Australian operation.”

He says SMX is offering the a ‘carrier grade’ anti-spam and anti-virus service which cleans mail ‘in country’ and which can offer customer support in the same time zone.

“Australian companies and organisations are now accepting that Cloud based email services such as ours are more cost-effective than in-house anti-spam and virus products. The penny is dropping that a cloud based service means spam and viruses are removed before they enter the customer’s network.

“I think our timing is right in that organisations are now ready to embrace the Cloud. We’re early to market with a proven, high-quality Cloud solution.

“We’ve learned from the New Zealand market. “Our major differentiation worldwide is about keeping it local and concentrating on the quality of our service rather than competing purely on price. We’ve done well in New Zealand, now we’re applying that same formula in Australia.”

Ball says the model for sales in Australia is different than exports to countries more distant and in different time zones. Further afield the strategy is to sell licence agreements with a local licencee rebranding the SMX service and providing its own local customer support. SMX still charges a fee per customer ‘seat’, but the fee is lower to reflect local support being provided by the licencee.

“With Australia we’re focusing on selling through resellers but supporting the service ourselves, with mail cleaned at the Melbourne data-centre and customer support handled from our Auckland Helpdesk. The time zones are sufficiently aligned for this to be a viable strategy.”

He says SMX is in the process of signing a head distributor agreement. Four resellers have already been signed.