Bitium nets $2.4 million, rolls out an elegant solution to provisioning SaaS apps in the enterprise

By Michael Carney , written on April 17, 2013

From The News Desk

As companies have moved more and more areas of their business to cloud-based software, a number of things have gotten easier and more efficient. One thing that has gotten more complicated, however, is provisioning access to all these tools. For example, when hiring a new employee, a typical company may have to give them access to upwards of 40 software platforms. Worse, when firing an employee, all this access must be revoked – often rapidly. Now multiply this across tens, hundreds, or thousands of employees. Royal. Pain. In. The. Ass.

Los Angeles-based startup Bitium calls itself a SaaS operating system, but it could probably call itself a software butler given that it solves this massive problem. The company graduated from the Amplify accelerator in Spring 2012 and has been refining its product with 30 beta customers for the last year. Today, it’s pulling back the curtain on its commercial product and announcing $2.4 million in Seed funding.

The company’s financing round was led by Resolute VC, with participation from Double M Partners, Social Leverage, and Karlin Ventures, as well as prominent entrepreneurs and angels including founder Alex Bard, Buddy Media co-founder Michael Lazerow, Real Networks founder Rob Glaser, former Microsoft SVP Hank Vigil, KISSmetrics co-founder Hiten Shan, and Qualaroo founder and former Dropbox growth hacker Sean Ellis, among others.

Bitium offers both end user employees and company administrators a single platform to interact with and manage all the SaaS software used by their organization. The platform currently integrates with over 300 popular Web apps like Box, Dropbox, Gmail, Salesforce, Yammer, and Zendesk. For the user, rather than visiting the website and logging in for each individual product, they simply begin their day at where every tool can be opened with a single click and no further authentication.

For the Administrator, the product organizes every piece of software used across the organization, as well as every employee, and allows access to be turned on and off a simply as clicking a checkbox. Further, access can be managed at the group level, meaning that whole teams or departments can be quickly given access to a suite of tools. Driven by the trend toward the consumerization of IT, in many cases employees will be given access to a variety of tools and allowed to choose among them.

“Our vision is to change how people and companies work by fundamentally changing the way they interact with software,” Bitium co-founder and CEO Scott Kriz says. “We’ve created an open system that’s self-organizing. It’s like letting people pick what they want off the menu rather than telling them what’s for lunch.”

In addition to managing access, Bitium gives enterprises analytics on software usage and offers a consolidated messaging platform so employees can bookmark and share deep links into apps. In other words, a user can share a URL linking to a particular file, record, or piece of data within a software platform to other employees with access, making collaboration more efficient than would otherwise be the case.

Bitium has a unique pricing structure. Companies can manage unlimited users and unlimited apps for free, with a single administrator. Advanced tools such as reporting, IP whitelisting, two-factor authentication, and integration with Google, Salesforce, LDAP, and Active Directory are available in two tiers priced at $399 and $699 per month that offer two administrators, with each additional admins costing $50.

Bitium will be compared to single sign-on solutions like Okta and OneLogin, but differs in key areas according to Kriz. While the three products offer feature parity, Bitium is focused more on the end user, while competitors focus more on admins. Kriz believes that latter strategy has hampered adoption of these product because it doesn’t give employees an incentive to use and advocate for these platforms. Bitium, on the other hand, is extremely popular with both employees and admins, according to its CEO, because it makes their lives appreciably easier.

The startup has signed six contracts since finalizing its pricing earlier this month and is in the process of converting the remainder of its beta users to paying customers. According to Kriz, the magic number for making Bitium a must have is 50 – employees. At that point, provisioning and authorization management becomes a significant pain point. The faster these companies are hiring (or firing), the greater the need.

The other factor that his customers seem to share is that their companies are all less than 10 years old, meaning they are more likely to use a high number of SaaS tools and are likely more receptive to modern solutions. According to Kriz, it’s more often the case that Bitium’s potential customers have no solution – other than a crude excel spreadsheet managing passwords – than they are using a single sign-on alternative. In either case, it’s highly probable that they are miserable and desperate for a better option.

The Bitium team has grown to 12 people, with nine engineers, one product manager, and one person each in business development and sales. With the new funding and the product now available widely, the plan is to grow the sales and marketing team in both inside and outside sales capabilities.

SaaS software is growing more and more prevalent in the average workplace, meaning that managing access is growing more difficult and time consuming for employers and employees alike. With no sign of this trend slowing, Bitium’s solution is entering a wide open market at the right time.